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Pope confirms he will publish encyclical begun by Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI (PA)

Pope Francis has told the Synod of Bishops that he is preparing to publish the encyclical on faith that was started by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and finished by himself.

He told the ordinary council of the Synod of Bishops that he had received their suggested draft for a post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the new evangelisation, the theme of the Synod of Bishops in October 2012, but that he did not want its publication to overshadow the new encyclical.

“Issuing a post-synodal exhortation at this time, after the encyclical, would mean it would be hidden,” he said.

“The encyclical has to come out and it’s an encyclical written with four hands, so to speak, because Pope Benedict began writing it and he gave it to me. It’s a strong document. I will say in it that I received it and most of the work was done by him and I completed it.”

However, the Pope added that it wouldn’t be right to end the Year of Faith end in November without “a beautiful document to help us.”

“I thought of this: Write an exhortation on evangelisation in general and, within it, refer to the synod. That way we could take everything from the synod, but put it in a wider framework,” he said.

“I liked the idea and I will follow that path. I’ve written something, and in August, which will be quieter, I can move forward with it. This is the reason I didn’t respond to the draft you sent me. I thank you for your work, but we’ll move ahead this way.”