By Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo
This first encyclical of Pope Francis offers a profound and comprehensive meditation on the role of faith in the lives of individual Catholics and on its influence in the work of Catholic-inspired organizations such as Caritas Internationalis. Prior to the publication date, on 05 July 2013, the Holy Father himself publicly acknowledged this document as the “work of four hands” since it represents both the writing by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI before his retirement as well as further refinement and original additions by his successor.
Some highlights of the encyclical are presented in this brief summary. It must be acknowledged, however, that the encyclical is so rich with Scriptural and other doctrinal citations, as well as with the deep insights of the Holy Father himself, that one cannot even pretend to offer an all-inclusive summary. Thus the reader is strongly encouraged to go to the source itself by reading carefully and reflecting deeply on the document.