In Vatican and in Warsaw, on 5 July 2013 the first encyclical of the Holy Father Francis 'Lumen fidei' - the Light of faith was presented. The Vatican presentation of the encyclical in the press office of the Holy See was made by the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops cardinal Marc Quellet, the prefect for the Congregation of the Faith Teaching. Gerhard Ludwig Muller and the representative of the Papal Council for New Evangelization archbishop Rino Fischiella. Benedict XVI, after his encyclicals about love and about hope, did not manage to complete his encyclical about faith before his finishing the papal ministry. Pope Francis completed the text of the encyclical of his predecessor. On 3 June this year, during a meeting with members of the Council of Secretariat of Bishops' Synod, pope Francis defined 'Lumen fidei' as 'an encyclical for four hands'. - It was started by Benedict XVI and gave it to me. It is a strong document. I received this great work which he had done and I completed it - said the Holy Father Francis then.

In the similar way, the first encyclical of Benedict XVI 'Deus caritas est' appeared, which had been prepared by John Paul II and was completed by his successor.

Bishop Wojciech Polak, who participated in the Warsaw presentation of the encyclical 'Lumen fidei' emphasized that although the encyclical was prepared by Benedict XVI to much extent, it is the first encyclical of the Holy Father Francis and it should be treated as a lecture of faith by the successor of St. Peter, regardless of who wrote which part of the text.

- The encyclical 'Lumen fidei' of the Holy Father Francis is somehow closed with a triptych of encyclicals of three theological virtues: love, hope and faith - said bishop Polak. He also reminded that this triptych consists of two encyclicals of Benedict XVI 'Deus caritas est' - about love and 'Spesalvi' - about hope, which was signed by the Holy Father Francis on 29 June 2013.

In the introduction to the encyclical Pope Francis notes that 'pope Benedict was nearly finishing his work on a draft of the encyclical about faith, I am very grateful to him for it and in the spirit of Christ's brotherhood I accept his valuable work, adding some reflections to the text'. During the presentation of the encyclical, bishop Polak appealed not to think about which parts of the text belong to the draft of Benedict and which are the fruits of reflection of pope Francis. - Surely, 'Lumen fidei' is the first encyclical of Francis - he noted.

The basic motif of the encyclical 'Lumen fidei'- as the pope Francis states - is the fact that the 'successor of Peter (…) is always summoned to make his brothers convinced about this infinite treasure, which is faith given by God as a light on the road of every man'. Bishop Polak emphasized that the encyclical of Francis is inscribed in the Year of Faith which was announced by Benedict XVI and is being experienced in the Church at present. He also noted that in the document Pope clearly emphasizes the significance of the event correlating with the Year of Faith, which was the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vatican Council which called us to 'put the primacy of God in Christ in the centre of our life'. In the opinion of bishop Polak the encyclical 'Lumen fidei' shows what faith is, using images which are readable for the contemporary man, such as: 'light, voice, listening, so also an answer'. It also shows a report of faith to the truth and faith and love.

He emphasized that first chapters of the encyclical describe: the phenomenon of faith, the essence of faith and the next chapters describe - a duty of passing faith in the Church and through the Church. It is also essential to show how faith contributes to building social, family relationships, as well as what role it plays in these particular situations, which are illnesses or sufferings.


"Niedziela" 28/2013

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl