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Pope Francis publishes his first encyclical today

Pope Francis (Photo: AP)

Pope Francis will publish his first encyclical today.

Entitled Lumen Fidei (“The Light of Faith”), it will appear less than four months after the election of Pope Francis, a modern record. But Francis has already made clear that it was largely written by Benedict XVI before his abdication in February.

The encyclical on faith completes Benedict XVI’s trilogy on the three theological virtues, following his encyclicals Deus Caritas Est on charity in 2005 and Spe Salvi on hope in 2007. Its publication is one of the major events of the Year of Faith, which ends on November 24.

Pope Benedict’s last encyclical before his retirement, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), was issued in 2009. It focused on the social teachings of the Church and human development.

Last month Pope Francis told bishops in Rome: “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.”

The encyclical will be presented at a press conference featuring Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation.