The women were reflecting during a special webinar held to commemorate International Women's Day on 3 March.
Phiri reflected first on the linguistic constraints associated with the word “fraternity” as patriarchal language, maintaining that the other phrase found in the subtitle of the encyclical, “social friendship,” helps bridge the linguistic gap.
“From a Christian theological standpoint, I find the use of the word ‘friendship’ significant, especially in an interreligious context,” she said.
Phiri’s second point was that Fratelli tutti seeks to bridge the gap between theological vision and political will. “One of the important thrusts of this document is to inspire a new vision of fraternity and social friendship that will not remain at the level of words,” she said. “This gap between our words and decisions must become a priority of religious institutions.”
The current COVID-19 context has exacerbated gender inequalities globally, continued Phiri. “In many ways the document offers the world a fresh opportunity for turning into reality our hopes of a world of justice and equality,” she said. “In so doing, we become what the Christians call a community of equals.”
The webinar was organized by the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations and the Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.