Pope's first encyclical to appear early December

The first encyclical letter by Pope Benedict XVI will be promulgated on 8 December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, according to reports in the Italian press.

CLICK HERECatholic World News says the Vatican has not made any official announcement about a papal encyclical. In July, when Pope Benedict brought two cartons of books to the Alpine chalet in Valle d'Aosta where he spent his summer vacation, there was heavy speculation that he was working on an encyclical. But at the time, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls downplayed those rumors.

The topic of the Pope's first encyclical has also been a matter of speculation among Vatican-watchers. Some early reports suggested that he was writing about the Eucharist; these reports might have been based on the assumption that the papal letter would be made public before the end of the Year of the Eucharist, which closed on Sunday. The most recent reports say that the topic will be the central role of Jesus Christ in salvation.

The first encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis, appeared in March 1979, less than five months after his election. Pope Benedict has indicated that he does not plan to publish many official documents during his pontificate. Prior to his election in April 2005 he was a prolific writer, producing dozens of books and scores of articles for theological journals.

Pope's 1st encyclical to appear December 8? (Catholic World News 25/10/05)

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26 Oct 2005