Friday, July 5, 2013

Papal encyclical by four hands

Faith: a pathway to God

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, holds a copy of Pope Francis's first encyclical, "Lumen Fidei" ("The Light of Faith"), during a news conference for its release at the Vatican July 5. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, shared his insight on Pope Francis's first encyclical, "Lumen Fidei," describing how the encyclical is a reflection on the gift and meaning of faith. "Lumen Fidei" is the last of three papal teachings on the three theological virtues. The first two, on hope and love, were written by Pope Benedict XVI. This last document was started by Pope Benedict XVI, but completed by Pope Francis. "Lumen Fidei" explains that faith is a light of guidance which paves a pathway to God.

The "Light of Faith" by Four Hands:
In order to begin to understand the magnitude of Pope Francis's first Encyclical, "Lumen Fidei," we must take into consideration a scene in the Vatican Gardens early this morning which preceded the unveiling of this great papal teaching prepared by "four hands." Pope Francis went to the Vatican Gardens to bless a new statue of St. Michael the Archangel and to consecrate the Vatican to the Archangel's protection. To the delight of hundreds of employees of the Vatican City State, he was accompanied by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who joined Pope Francis in the blessing. It was a fitting, simple gesture to begin an historic day at the Vatican and for the Church. St. Michael was blessed by four hands.

Later this morning in the Vatican Press Centre, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Archbishop Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization; presented Pope Francis’s first encyclical letter, “Lumen Fidei,” the final document of a trilogy of papal teachings long desired by Pope Benedict XVI.  Benedict had written the first two documents on hope (Spe Salvi, 2007) and love (Deus Caritas Est, 2005), but his resignation in February left the task unfinished.  Today the circle is complete.  While many are claiming today’s work a “first” in recent Church history, in fact Pope Benedict’s first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” was thought to have been based on a draft encyclical John Paul II had been planning to issue prior to his death in 2005.

Complete encyclical available here.

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