The Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, confirmed today that Pope Benedict XVI is about to finish his Encyclical on social issues.
"Yes, the Pope is working on a social encyclical, which will have, I believe, a significant impact on the great social and economic problems in the contemporary world," said Cardinal Bertone during an interview published today by the Italian daily "La Repubblica."
Pope Benedict, according to Cardinal Bertone, "will address issues particularly related to the third and the fourth world."
The concept "fourth world" was coined by Pope John Paul II in his social encyclical “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis”, in reference to the poor and marginalized living in developed countries, especially in inner cities.
The Secretary of State gave no clue as to when the document will be released, but unnamed sources from the Vatican quoted previously by the daily "Il Messaggero," said the third encyclical of Pope Benedict would be signed on the feast of St. Joseph –March 19th - and released during Easter.
"The encyclical will focus on international social problems, with special attention to developing countries," Cardinal Bertone told "La Repubblica."