AS – Pope Francis here uses the expression “Fratelli tutti” (all Brothers) in a way that is clearly different from St. Francis. For St. Francis, “all brothers” are those who follow and imitate Christ, i.e. all Christians, and certainly not simply all men, and even less so the adherents of non-Christian religions. We can see this in looking at the fuller context from which these words are taken:
Let us all, brothers, consider the Good Shepherd who to save His sheep bore the suffering of the Cross. The sheep of the Lord followed Him in tribulation and persecution and shame, in hunger and thirst, in infirmity and temptations and in all other ways; 1 and for these things they have received everlasting life from the Lord. Wherefore it is a great shame for us, the servants of God, that, whereas the Saints have practiced works, we should expect to receive honor and glory for reading and preaching the same” ( Admonitions , 6).
Indeed, St. Francis did not “smooth over the faults of any, but smite them, nor flattered the life of sinners, but rather aimed at it with stern reproofs. Unto great and small alike he spoke with the same firm spirit” ( Legenda Maior , 12, 8) Pope Francis presents St. Francis as though he had been a supporter of the diversity of religions. The scope of St. Francis’s visit to Sultan Malik-el-Kamil in Egypt, however, was not to show “his openness of heart, which knew no bounds and transcended differences of religion” ( Fratelli Tutti , n. 3). Rather, its precise aim was to preach to the Sultan the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One must regret that Pope Francis reduces St. Francis in Fratelli Tutti to a man who “sought to embrace everyone” and as an example of “a humble and fraternal ‘subjection’ to those who did not share his faith” (n. 3).