An environment encyclical in March? Pope Francis hopes so

An environment encyclical in March? Pope Francis hopes so

Pope Francis. Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.
Pope Francis. Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.

.- During an in-flight press conference on his way to the Philippines, Pope Francis said he plans to have his much-anticipated encyclical on man's relationship with creation finished in March.

“At the end of March, I think it will be completed,” he told journalists aboard the papal plane Jan. 15. “I think that if the translations go well, in June or July, it could come out.”

A year ago this month, the Vatican had announced the Pope's plans to write on the theme of “human ecology” – a phrase that was originally coined by retired pontiff Benedict XVI.

This expression, spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said at the time, 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.

Pope Francis told journalists Thursday that the first draft of the encyclical was completed by Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

“Then I worked on it,” the Pope said. “Then some theologians worked on the third version.”
The document was then reviewed by the Vatican Secretary of State as well as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “Three weeks ago, I received the responses – some rather vague,” he added. “Now I’ll take a week out in March to look at it.”

Pope Francis' first encyclical, entitled “Lumen Fidei,” or “Light of Faith,” was released in 2013. 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.

The Pope touched down in the Philippines Thursday where he will visit through Jan. 19, following his three-day visit to Sri Lanka. In stark contrast to Sri Lanka's small Christian community, 86 percent of the Philippines' 93.4 million people identify as Catholic. While the country has not known as much political unrest as Sri Lanka recently, the Philippines has been ravaged by several typhoons, earthquakes and other natural disasters in recent years.

Tags: Pope Francis, Encyclical, Pope in Philippines, Pope in Sri Lanka

Subscribe to our daily CNA newsletter

At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.

As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.