2013-07-05 12:08:00

Pope Francis: encyclical eltter Lumen fidei

(Vatican Radio) Those who believe are never alone, because faith is a common good which helps build our society by giving it hope. This is the heart of Lumen fidei, the Latin for “The Light of Faith”, the title of the first encyclical of Pope Francis. In an age like ours in which belief is opposed to seeking and faith is seen as a leap in the dark that prevents the freedom of man, it is important to humbly and courageously trust and rely on the merciful love of God, which sets aright the distortions of our history, the Pope said in his encyclical released on Friday in the Vatican. “Lumen Fidei” was begun by Pope Benedict XVI as the last of his three encyclicals on the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. His sudden resignation on Feb. 28, left it in a draft form, however, leaving it to his successor to complete it. Pope Francis, who was elected on March 13, said he has made “few contributions” of his own to the encyclical. 

Click here for the full text of the encyclical letter Lumen fidei

In the 82-page document, Pope Francis stressed the role of the Christian faith as a defence against, what he described as the "massive amnesia in our contemporary world" caused by excessive trust in technology and the "subjective truths of the individual". "When faith is weakened, the foundations of humanity also risk being weakened," he said. The encyclical stresses the Church's role in guiding and shaping belief and addressing the "crisis of truth in our age". "In contemporary culture, we often tend to consider the only real truth to be that of technology: truth is what we succeed in building and measuring," he said, adding that "at the other end of the scale we are willing to allow for subjective truths of the individual".

"In the end,” he said, “what we are left with is relativism." The Argentine Pope also restated the Church's position on marriage as "the stable union of man and woman". He said faith should encourage greater respect for nature, "a grammar written by the hand of God and a dwelling place entrusted to our protection and care", and said it should also not make people forget the sufferings of the world. Pope Francis who has repeatedly emphasized the importance of helping the poor and dispossessed, in his encyclical calls for a strong link between belief and the common good saying it strengthens the bond between peoples and places itself at the service of justice, law and peace.


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