Pope Francis’ summer break includes time for writing

VATICAN CITY — Rome and the Vatican are traditionally left to the tourists in August, and it is difficult to find key Vatican officials at their desks this week.

(CNS/Paul Haring)

(CNS/Paul Haring)

But Pope Francis continues to hold meetings and to work, although most of those meetings are considered private. Yesterday’s meeting with a group of Japanese junior high school students was an exception.

Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, the vice director of the Vatican press office, told the handful of journalists working in the press office today that Pope Francis was using these August days to work on two documents — an encyclical on poverty and an exhortation on evangelization.

Catholic News Service has previously written about plans for both documents:

– The encyclical, “Beati pauperes” (“Blessed are the Poor”), reportedly will deal with the topic of poverty, not as an economic or political topic, but from a Gospel point of view.

– The exhortation on evangelization should be published before the end of the year, perhaps in conjunction with the Nov. 24 end of the Year of Faith. Pope Francis had said in June that he’d already begun writing it and hoped to finish it in August. It would take the place of a traditional post-synodal apostolic exhortation by reflecting both on the theme of the 2012 world Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization and on sharing the Gospel in general.

Another event we’d reported on earlier is set to begin next week in Castel Gandolfo.

The “Ratzinger Schulerkreis” (Ratzinger Student Circle), a group of retired Pope Benedict’s former students, will meet Aug. 29-Sept. 2. For the first time, the retired pope is not scheduled to join his former students, although a visit by them to the Vatican monastery where Pope Benedict lives has not been ruled out.

Details on the group and the theme they’ll discuss this year are here.

2 Responses

  1. Being elderly myself it is my fervent prayer and desire that our beloved pope consider writing about a new and growing class of poor….the elderly with dementia and their care givers. All so often when someone comes down with dementia it could be a financial disaster for them and their families.

    Old age can be a time of extreme physical and emotional suffering. I ask our pope to encourage the church in this year of evangelization to encourage its elderly to offer their crosses of aging to Jesus thru Mary for atonement for the sins of the world and for special graces on His church in renewed life in carrying out its mission of adoration, service and love. Let’s not have the suffering of the elderly be wasted. The elderly catholic population is a great resource of spiritual benefits that needs to be tapped.

    We elderly are here to serve the needs of Jesus’ church. I have talked to many of my old contemporaries, and you would be amazed at how many whom would be all to willing to serve our church in this capacity. Many of us are already doing this without being asked. God bless!

  2. What a beautiful request and comment. I agree, but would add one more request. Perhaps in reaching out to the World’s Youth, Pope Francis could enlist their help in reaching out to and caring for the elderly and those particularly suffering from the throws of dementia. Reminding the youth to recipricate the love and care they received as children from these very ones who are older now. God Bless you Mr. Finfera and may God Bless our Holy Father – Pope Francis!

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