Vatican City

Pope Francis' first encyclical to be published Friday

Light of the Faith, may be co-written work with Benedict

Pope Francis' first encyclical to be published Friday

Vatican City, July 1 - Pope Francis' first encyclical will be published on Friday, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Monday. The title of the work will be Lumen Fidei, 'Light of the Faith' in Latin. A Vatican statement said the encyclical will be presented by three senior clergymen. Last month Francis said he was about to publish an encyclical, co-written by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, although the Vatican statement announcing the presentation did not mention Benedict. "Now an encyclical written by four hands is coming out," Francis told a bishops' follow-up meeting in June, talking about last October's synod about new evangelization. At the time Francis said the encyclical would likely take the place of a definitive post-synod statement, expanding on it. Benedict, who resigned at the end of February and is now pope emeritus, presided over that synod. Francis, the first Jesuit and Latin American pope, was elected March 13. "Pope Benedict started it and he delivered it to me. It's a powerful document," said Francis The Argentine pontiff thanked his German predecessor for his "great work", which he said he would "carry on". A post-synod "exhortation" would make no sense because it would be overshadowed and superseded by the encyclical, Francis said. The encyclical would sum up the findings of the synod and enlarge on it, talking about "evangelization in general". The synod on new evangelization ended on October 24 with a call to "the People of God," to more actively spread the Gospel message. The bishops agreed that this was "not a question of finding new strategies as if the Gospel was to be spread like a market product, but rediscovering the ways in which individuals come close to Jesus". Benedict was originally expected to complete the encyclical in the first half of 2013 but his shock resignation, announced to a stunned world on February 11 and carried out on February 28, made this impossible. It was to coincide with the Year of Faith currently underway. The encyclical was to have been Benedict's fourth, after Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), published in 2006, Spe Salvi (Saved in Hope), in 2007, and Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), in 2009. It will not be known until Friday whether the encyclical will carry the names of both Francis and Benedict, and how the current pope has used the material left to him by his predecessor.

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