Skip to main content

Pope Francis and Benedict have a hand in new encyclical, focused on faith

By Hada Messia and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 11:46 AM EDT, Fri July 5, 2013
An edition of Pope Francis' first encyclical, titled
An edition of Pope Francis' first encyclical, titled "Lumen Fidei."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The encyclical is the first to be released under Pope Francis
  • It was largely written by Pope Emeritus Benedict, before he resigned from the papacy
  • The 84-page text highlights the importance of faith
  • Faith helps man "distinguish from good and evil," Francis writes

Rome (CNN) -- A key religious text co-written by Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict, who stepped down earlier this year, was released by the Vatican on Friday.

The encyclical, the first to be published since Francis became pope, sets out the priorities for the Roman Catholic Church.

It's called "Lumen Fidei," which is Latin for "The Light of Faith."

The groundwork for the 84-page encyclical was laid by Benedict, the Vatican said in a media briefing, while Francis "added further contributions to the existing first draft."

The introduction to the text, which is divided into four chapters, reiterates the importance of having faith in a man's life, it said.

A visit with the pope
John Paul II on fast track to sainthood
Before becoming Pope Francis, he was Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires. The announcement for the selection of a new pope came on Wednesday, March 13, the first full day of the cardinals' conclave in the Sistine Chapel. Before becoming Pope Francis, he was Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires. The announcement for the selection of a new pope came on Wednesday, March 13, the first full day of the cardinals' conclave in the Sistine Chapel.
Pope Francis
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
>
>>
Photos: Pope Francis Photos: Pope Francis

Francis writes that it is faith that helps man "distinguish from good and evil" and that he "who believes, sees."

He stresses that in modern times, faith has become more important than in the past.

In the first chapter, he refers to the biblical figure Abraham and explains faith as "listening to the Word of God, the call to come from the isolated self in order to open up oneself to a new life and the promise of the future."

Subsequent chapters talk about the connection between "faith and truth," evangelization and how faith is connected to the common good.

Vatican Radio said the encyclical completes a trilogy of papal teachings on the three theological virtues -- faith, hope and charity -- that was begun by Benedict with his encyclicals "Deus Caritas Est" in 2005, and "Spe Salvi" in 2007.

The encyclicals are circulated to Catholic bishops around the world and help outline the pope's thinking on doctrinal matters.

The Vatican has declared 2013 to be the "Year of Faith."

The latest encyclical is perhaps unprecedented in featuring the contribution of two living popes.

Benedict XVI shocked the Roman Catholic world in February when he announced his resignation, making him the first pope to stand down in almost 600 years. Popes usually serve until their death.

He has retired to a life of prayer and seclusion.

CNN's Hada Messia reported from Rome, and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:39 PM EST, Sat December 13, 2014
According to widely cited Italian media reports, Pope Francis recently told a young boy grieving the loss of a pet dog that "paradise is open to all God's creatures."
updated 11:59 AM EST, Tue December 2, 2014
Pope Francis said that modern slavery is a "crime against humanity" and is "unfortunately becoming worse and worse every day."
updated 5:31 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
Pope Francis is to make his first trip to the United States as the head of the Catholic Church next September.
A Vatican report says the church should welcome and appreciate gays, and offers a solution for divorced and remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion.
updated 8:59 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Using his strongest language to date, Pope Francis told Italian Mafia members that they are excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
"Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise," Pope Francis said.
updated 12:45 PM EDT, Fri June 20, 2014
No topic has been off limits for Pope Francis so far.
updated 5:33 PM EDT, Sat June 14, 2014
Pope Francis prefers not to use a bulletproof Popemobile because it is a glass "sardine can" that walls him off from people.
updated 12:58 AM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres committed themselves to the quest for peace with Pope Francis.
updated 2:46 PM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
As the Holy Land prepares for a papal visit, Ivan Watson speaks to the man preparing to honor the pontiff with his food.
updated 12:31 PM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
Not a jot of doctrine has changed in the year since Francis became Pope. But there's more than one way to measure his impact.
updated 10:01 AM EST, Sat February 22, 2014
Pope Francis created 19 new cardinals in a ceremony in the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica -- the first such appointments since he was elected pontiff.
updated 9:36 AM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
"The spring evening in which Pope Francis was elected is an apt symbol of the beginning of his papacy and the years that will follow," writes a priest.
updated 11:05 AM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
In a gesture towards Valentine's Day, Pope Francis gave his advice on how to have a happy marriage before thousands of couples.
updated 4:10 PM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Take a look at Pope Francis' first year in photos with our gallery.
updated 6:43 PM EST, Thu November 7, 2013
It was the embrace that melted hearts worldwide.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed April 3, 2013
On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis kisses and hugs disabled boy lifted up in the crowd.
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Thu April 11, 2013
With the new pope himself a trained scientist, could the timing could be right for a new era of cooperation between the Vatican and science?
updated 2:56 PM EDT, Sat March 16, 2013
Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but his past is tinged with controversy.
ADVERTISEMENT