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Confirmed: Pope Francis to complete encyclical begun by Benedict XVI

May 28, 2013

Pope Francis plans to complete the encyclical on faith that was begun by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican has confirmed.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told Catholic News Service that the Pope has been working on the encyclical that his predecessor planned.

The Vatican spokesman contradicted a report by Bishop Luigi Martella of Molfetta, Italy, who has said that Benedict XVI himself was completing the encyclical that he had begun before resigning, which would appear under the signature of the new Pontiff. "I can absolutely deny that Benedict XVI is working on the planned encyclical,” Father Lombardi said.

Pope Benedict XVI had planned to issue an encyclical on faith sometime in the early part of this year. The encyclical of faith would have been the 3rd in a series he planned on the theological virtues, following Deus Caritas Est on charity, issued in 2005, and Spe Salvi on hope, issued in 2007. The aging Pontiff apparently found himself unable to complete the text, however, as he lost his strength and his capacity for sustained work.

Pope Francis will now write his own encyclical, working from the notes or draft that his predecessor left to him. The Vatican has not indicated when this text will be released.


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