Francis’ first encyclical might be out this year

May 6, 2013

Pope Francis may publish his first encyclical this year, the Vatican spokesman said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said he “would not exclude” the possibility of the publication of the pope’s first encyclical “within this year,” Vatican Radio reported.

The spokesman told reporters April 25 that retired Pope Benedict XVI had already “fleshed out material on the theme of faith” for an encyclical.

Vatican officials had said Pope Benedict completed work in late 2012 on what would have been his fourth encyclical – a letter on the theological virtue of faith.

Its release was expected in the first half of 2013, but the pope resigned Feb. 28 before its publication.

It is not unusual for a pope to pick up work begun by his predecessor, make changes and publish it in his own name.

Lombardi also said that Pope Benedict, who has been living at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo since his retirement, would soon be moving – as expected – to a renovated building in the Vatican Gardens.