A statement released by the Vatican last Friday revealed that Pope Francis has begun to work on a text surrounding the topic of ecology, which could eventually become an encyclical.
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed the news in his Jan. 24 statement, noting that in his text, the Pope intends to give a strong emphasis to the theme of “human ecology” – a phrase that was originally coined by retired pontiff Benedict XVI.
This expression, explained the spokesman, describes not only how the faithful must respect the environment, but also how the nature of the person – masculine and feminine as created by God – must also be defended.
Fr. Lombardi highlighted that although the Pope has already begun writing, the text is still in its early stages and it is too early to predict a possible time of publication.
Pope Francis’ first encyclical, entitled “Lumen Fidei,” or “Light of Faith,” was released last summer on July 5. It was written by the pontiff as a completion of the work initiated by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who resigned before the document was finished.
Benedict XVI had been writing the encyclical on faith as the third in a trilogy dedicated to the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love. The first to be published was his letter on Love “Deus Caritas Est,” meaning “God is Love,” and the next was “Spe Salvi,” or “Saved in Hope.”
According to what an Italian bishop stated on his website in May of last year, Pope Francis is also in the process of writing another encyclical on poverty, which is to be titled after the beatitude “Blessed Are the Poor,” however there is no projected date for its completion.