Pope Francis’ first encyclical, entitled Lumen Fidei, (The Light of Faith) will be released this Friday, 11 o’clock in the morning Rome time. There will be an English translation immediately available, so we excitedly anticipate its contents.
I don’t know much about what is predicted to be in the encyclical, but I have heard that Francis is completing what Benedict began writing on Faith, as Benedict had already issued encyclicals on Love and Hope.
I am so gratified in two ways about these encyclicals. First, this will be Francis’ first one, and he is still a fascinating pontiff in so many surprising ways that I expect to be fascinated and surprised by Lumen Fidei. Second, he will be completing what my favorite pope, Pope John Paul I (Papa Luciani) had begun in 1978. If you have read my posts on Luciani, or his speeches and talks as pope, you know that Luciani began his papacy with a catechesis on faith, hope and love, a catechesis that was abruptly ended by his untimely death. Pope John Paul II briefly took it up at first, but quickly dispatched it. When Benedict decided to return to these virtues as subject of encyclicals, I found myself thinking again, as I have many times before and since, that Luciani’s legacy continues although generally unacknowledged and unknown by almost everyone.
Stay tuned for more in the upcoming weeks.