Rorate Caeli

Relevant: Benedict XVI finishing the encyclical on Faith to be signed by Pope Francis
New encyclical on the poor: "Beati Pauperes"?

Following his recent visit ad limina with the bishops of his region, the Bishop of Molfetta (Apulia, Italy), Luigi Martella, spoke of the conversation they had with the new Pope, including the following:

Then, he spoke to us about Benedict XVI with such tenderness: "When I met him for the first time in Castelgandolfo, I noticed that he had a very lucid memory - he said -, even though physically challenged. Now he is clearly better." In the end, he wished to exchange a confidence, almost a revelation: Benedict XVI is finishing writing the encyclical on faith that will be signed by Pope Francis. Then, he will himself prepare his first encyclical on the poor: Beati pauperes! [Rorate note: 'Blessed are the poor,' he seems to be implying that could be the name of this second encyclical letter.] Poverty - he made clear - understood not in an ideological and political sense, but in an evangelical sense.

Source: Official website of the Diocese of Molfetta; tip: Secretum meum mihi (in Spanish, cf. our sidebar).


  1. Surely a first for history... a former Pope writing an encyclical for his successor.

  2. I was saddened by the thought that after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVl, we would never see his Encyclical on Faith. An Encyclical that I had been anxiously waiting for. This is great news. I, like many others had my misgivings on Pope Francis. But now I believe God is going to purge his Church, and its gonna take two! Popes. I depend a great deal on Rorate Coeli, as they give us the News untarnished.

  3. Awesome news Rorate... Thanks for all the great work!


  4. The Holy Spirit together with Mary, our Mother, do wonders for the Church in magnificent ways.

  5. This is bizarre and dizzying. Who is the Pope? They are sending, probably intentionally, mixed messages about who the Pope is and what he does, in order to subtly downplay His authority.

  6. Benedicet Deus Pontifecem Emeritumque Papas !!!

  7. Meh, since almost all church documents are ghostwritten (Ghost-written?) by someone, at least this one's being ghostwritten by a pope for a pope!

  8. D. Harold, stop insisting, none of your comments will ever be posted. Thank you.


  9. Although Pope John Paul II was a pretty prolific writer himself, he often asked Cardinal Ratzinger to compose important documents that he would then send out under his signature. Popes that aren't super-great at writing have often asked someone in their household or one of their Curia to write something up; the pope would alter it as he felt good, and then send it out under his signature. So this is not particularly different.

    Nor does it transgress on the Pope's special teaching authority. The ex-pope (or the Curia official, or whoever) writes using his purely human knowledge (which in the ex-pope's case is not chopped liver). Then the Pope calls upon his teaching authority by looking it over, and the Holy Spirit helps out with grace applied to nature.

    The ex-pope is writing under the pope's commission and command, and subject to his supervision, and living in his garden under his eye! You don't get any more clear about the lines of authority than that.

    It's also a nice bella figura way for the Pope to tell people not to disregard the rulings of Benedict XVI; because Francis I agrees with him and is pointing out the continuity. Heh, heh.

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  11. @Kathryn Rose who said:

    "This is bizarre and dizzying. Who is the Pope?"

    This is not dizzying if a bit bizarre, if by bizarre you mean unprecedented. Francis is the pope. Hence Rorate noted that Francis' SECOND encyclical will concern itself with poverty. Francis is the pope and his FIRST encyclical will be on faith.

    It is not confusing just because you don't like the idea that a pope can abdicate. Them's the rules. Tough it out and stop propping up the idea that has been propagated by the "stupid" media, who can't seem to keep their arguments straight (or more likely don't want the masses to be able to keep theirs straight). Their is no confusion regarding the papacy. Move on. Nothing to see here. Really.


  12. The thought that this encyclical may not be completed was the one aspect of his abdication which caused me the greatest sense of loss, especially given some of the things he said in his last days and weeks as Pope.

    I consider the former Joseph Ratzinger to be worthy of the title Doctor of the Church, so am delighted that he is continuing to teach through his writings.

  13. We look forward to this encyclical, whose apostolic credentials are unquestionable. One recalls the apostle who always advocated the interests of the poor before our Lord and the Apostolic College, whenever their interests appeared to be overlooked. He came into some money as I recall. Unfortunately he was unable to put it to good use, his life being cut short.

  14. I just found out yesterday that The Pope Emeritus First Letter was actually John Paul II's original writing and it was finished and signed by Benedict after the latter Pope died. I did not even know this until yesterday. So the same thing is going to happen with this Faith Encyclical. It was written by Benedict but it will be signed and propagated by Francis. I though God is Love talked about the TOD in it.

  15. Here's Fr Lombardi's statement on that story. Sorry but it's only in italian

  16. The text in Il Sismografo is the following one, words by Fr. Lombardi: “Smentisco assolutamente che il Papa emerito Benedetto XVI stia lavorando al completamento del progetto di Enciclica sulla fede che aveva avviato. Confermo che il progetto è stato ripreso dal Santo Padre Francesco. Ma attualmente è difficile prevedere quando l’Enciclica possa essere pronta per la pubblicazione”.

    He denies "absolutely" that Benedict XVI is working on the text, and he confirms that the project has been taken up by Pope Francis. Well, since the project is in the Pope's hands (which nobody can deny and which was already known), then the Pope can ask anyone to contribute to its successful conclusion, including his emeritus, despite the denial.

  17. Back in February one of the few consoling thoughts was that at least we would be spared Benedict's New Theology encyclical on faith. If a "one world economic authority" was unsettling, just think what an encyclical on faith would contain!

    Oh well... What was I thinking? Nothing good can possibly come of all this, and the misery will be unrelenting.

  18. It is amazing to me that certain people are still complaining about what Pope quoted John XXIII about a Global World Authority that I believe no one ever figured out what it means. Some have said it means the UN which John thought would help bring world Peace and he quoted it in his last encyclical "Peace On Earth" I am sure Pope John or Benedict would favor a "New World Order" this comes from the Media.

  19. One last (maybe) gift to the universal Church. I have high expectations. I think this might be Benedict's best of all!

  20. Oh, I'm sorry, Katalina... Of course, it isn't a form of global socialism taken from a Hegalian Weltanschauung that is characteristic of every single one of the Nouveaux Théologiens, from Maurice Blondel to de Lubac, from von Balthazar to Ratzinger. Now that you have put us "certain people" (traditional Catholics, that is) in our place, we will certainly sit down and shut up.

  21. David,

    Perhaps I am misreading you here, but it seems to me like you are implying that some form of neoliberal global capitalism is the normative criteria by which Catholic social teaching ought to be judged. There is nothing in Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas et Veritate that is "socialist" in the sense condemned by earlier CST encyclicals. Moreover, a world economic governance authority is not, by definition, socialist, unless you can muster the argument that global finance and trade institutions like the IMF, World Bank, and World Trade Organization are, in themselves, "socialist" (they aren't). Also, I am unclear about your construing Hegel as a socialist. Not only is that charge anachronistic, but it seems to put on Hegel's shoulders the blame for the thought of others that were clearly influenced by him. There were many different branches of Hegelianism after all. (And no, I am not trying to defend Hegel's philosophy; I just think your remarks should be more clear on this point.)

    As for your remarks concerning the United Nations, I think a more realistic take on John XXIII's endorsement of that institution is that it was, sadly, naive. The problem with the UN is not that it is a global institution wielding shockingly invasive power; rather, it is an institution with very little direct power and, at best, ambiguous indirect (or "soft") power. It is strange to me that so many conservatives and globalist critics are willing to impute so much apparent authority to generally powerless institutions. There is a fairly thick body of literature out there which demonstrates time and again the ineffectiveness of institutions like the UN. Indeed, the entire body of public international law rarely (if ever) functions like law; more often than not is serves as a signaling mechanism for state-to-state policy, and not much more. Certainly neither the UN (nor any other global institution) has found a way to solve global collective action problems. So I am not sure either critics or the Catholic Church ought to put too much stock in them, particularly in a world fraught with division and disparate state interests.

    On that note, I would be the first to argue that B16's discussion of a global regulatory institution is, at best, highly aspirational and, at worst, hopelessly naive -- especially at this point in history. Global institutions will not work unless there is an overlapping moral consensus concerning their aims and intents. Sadly, we simply do not live in that world, and so to expect states to submit to an authority that places direct checks on the excesses of global capital without first weening states (and their elites) from capitalist ideology is putting the cart before the horse. The first step toward economic justice will always be conversion to Christ. While I think B16 could have done more to stress that point, it is not lost in his social encyclicals, nor is it lost in any of the documents that comprise the rich (but oft neglected) body of Catholic social teaching.

  22. In fact Mr. Werling a hush and a lull appears to have settled in the Tradtional Blog Sphere (except for one or two sites). Is it a "waiting and seeing? Or a compromise with the new springtime of the institution of Holy Roman Catholic Church or discouragement mixed with fear and human respect? There is also a spinning of the facts from some Catholic circles. I falter myself. But the truth is staring me in the face. Something very strange is going on in the Church.Please do not shut up Mr. Werling. Too many have already done so - including myself for fear of misunderstanding, human respect and being attacked.

    In all truth, with no resentment against anyone and sincere prayers for all concerned, God is my witness,I continue to be perplexed and not reassured at all. I must be one of those that Pope Francis called heard-headed and wanting to return to the past. At this precise moment I do not know how to modify my present interior condition except through the Sacraments and prayer - so far no change...

    And another thing I truly hope that Pope Francis will be the Pope to do the Fatima Consecration...yes it could well be him. But in my view not the way he presents himself now. But Our Lord can do anything.

    I miss you too dear New Catholic.


  23. If Cardinal Ratzinger (no longer Benedict XVI) is too old to be pope, he is too old to be working on the drafting of papal encyclicals. Even if he retains the capacity to do so, he should above all avoid it, because it involves the blurring of papal identity and thus authority that is the great danger of having a pope and an ex-pope alive at the same time.

  24. I'll know that Faith came from Benedict XVI and that his next book on the Poor (which thank the Lord is going to finally get to the true meaning - evangelical sense - as opposed to be hit over the head w/a baseball bat to give all your money away and become poor yourself) will be signed by Pope Francis.

    Pope Francis is too busy to write as he goes along doing his thing and being the POPE, while Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wants to write. I see no problem with this division of labor. Let their lives be entwined so that God's work can be done. Long life to both men.

  25. Morgan - A resounding "Amen" on all counts! After all, what's a Pope (or 2 or more) to do? Reflecting on it all - celebrating daily Mass, delivering homilies, presiding over ceremonies, conducting meetings & consistories, writing books & encyclicals, riding pope-mobiles, kissing babies, petting animals, receiving celebrities, cardinals & heads of state, pacifying malcontents, assuaging critics, appeasing offended religious leaders, making world tours, promoting universal peace, trying to stay well & even modeling papal fashions & occasionally escaping to the countryside for respite - with the PR component of this crushingly onerous JOB in church leadership, it's a wonder either Pope ever even eats or sleeps. So long live BOTH of these great men, may they do some great poping - and writing, and teaching - together & together may they continue making this world a better place!


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