Paper dedicates pages to pope's response to editorial

La Repubblica founder says pontiff's letter unexpected

Paper dedicates pages to pope's response to editorial

Rome, September 11 - Italy's daily paper La Repubblica dedicated a cover space and three inside pages on Wednesday to a letter by Pope Francis responding to an editorial on faith and secularism by the paper's founder Eugenio Scalfari. Scalfari's August 7 editorial asked "if the Christian God forgives those who do not believe and do not seek faith". The pope began his letter with "Esteemed Dr. Scalfari, it is with heartfelt appreciation that...I will try this to answer your letter that enriched the pages of this same newspaper with your personal reflection". "Thank you especially for the attention you dedicated to reading Lumen Fidei," Francis wrote. Pope Francis's first encyclical, which was co-written with his predecessor Benedict XVI, "Lumen Fidei", was published in July. Lumen Fidei is directed towards not only those who are believers in Jesus, but it also seeks to open a sincere dialogue with "those like yourself who define themselves as non-believers but for many years have been interested in and fascinated with Jesus of Nazareth's teachings," the pope wrote to Scalfari. "It was precisely....from my personal experience of faith lived through the Church that I am comfortable listening to your questions and ready to seek, together with you, the road along which we can perhaps begin to walk together," Francis said. Scalfari wrote in an accompanying editorial entitled 'Lost Sheep' that he had not expected the pope to respond "so extensively and so affectionately with such fraternal spirit". "Perhaps it is because the lost sheep merits more attention and assistance?," he wrote. The letter that the pope wrote is yet "further proof of his ability and desire to overcome barriers in dialogue with all and his search for peace, love and testimony," Scalfari wrote.

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