VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis could issue his first encyclical this year, and, so far, he is only planning one international trip in 2013, according to Vatican Press Office director Father Federico Lombardi.
Father Lombardi said that he “would not exclude” the possibility of Pope Francis issuing his first encyclical “within this year,” Vatican Radio reported April 25.
The Vatican spokesman explained that Benedict XVI had already laid the groundwork for an encyclical on the virtue of faith in late 2012 and that Pope Francis could easily revise it and add his own insights to the text.
The encyclical was planned for release in early 2013, but the resignation of Benedict XVI caused the timeline to be adjusted.
Speaking to Catholic News Agency just days before the announcement, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, said Benedict XVI was “working on a new encyclical on the faith” and that “we expect it will be published during the Year of Faith.”
The idea of a pope picking up the work of his predecessor is not unprecedented. Pope Benedict reportedly crafted his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), using some of John Paul II’s notes.
Father Lombardi also revealed on April 25 in a meeting with the international press at Rome’s Foreign Press Association that Pope Francis might only make one trip overseas in 2013. He added that the Pope is likely to visit Assisi.
“The program will follow the desires of the Pope,” Alberto Gassbari, the Pope’s international trip coordinator, told Vatican Radio on April 25.
Finally, Father Lombardi confirmed that Benedict XVI is planning to move to Mater Ecclesiae Monastery on May 1 and that Pope Francis will remain in Domus Sanctae Marthae.
The Pope “is very well settled,” the Vatican spokesman said. “At the moment, he does not seem to want to change his dwelling, even if a final decision has not been made.”