Pope Benedict has completed the third volume of his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy and may follow it with a new encyclical for the Year of Faith.
Since the Pope has already written encyclicals on hope and charity, there has long been speculation that he would address the third theological virtue with an encyclical on faith. Such a document could coincide with the opening of the Year of Faith on October 11.
In March this year, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said an encyclical on faith “has only ever been a hypothesis — acceptable, but a hypothesis”. He added that it “was not a precise plan that the Pope has spoken about”.
Last summer, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano revealed the Pope was working on a “reflection on faith” that would form part of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone told reporters that Pope Benedict had completed his third Jesus of Nazareth book, which focuses on the Gospels relating to Jesus’ childhood.
The cardinal had just celebrated Mass in the parish of Introd, a village in the Valle d’Aosta region of the northern Italian Alps, where he is on holiday. He said the book would be “a great gift for the Year of Faith”.
“We will read the third book by Benedict XVI avidly and with great relish,” he predicted.
The Pope completed the text while on vacation at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo outside of Rome.
The Vatican confirmed the news, saying the volume is currently being translated from the original German into several languages.
The two previous Jesus of Nazareth books were published in seven languages as well as electronically, with more than one million copies sold.
Image: Lux Veritatis 7