Although this encyclical letter bears the name and signature of Pope Francis there is much in it that bears the undeniable fingerprint of his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Such a statement should be no surprise since this encyclical “On Faith” follows on those of Benedict XVI “On Love” (Deus Caritas Est) and “On Hope” (Spe Salvi), and therefore brings to conclusion the series of encyclicals on the theological virtues.
There is much wisdom and insight to be found in the sixty paragraphs of Pope Francis’ first encyclical, and for anyone who might like to deepen their understanding of what we mean by ‘faith’. The Holy Father explores this theological virtue in some depth, and connects it intimately to the other virtues that have been explored by his predecessor.
Yet there is a clear distinction between this encyclical and its immediate precursors in the series. While some might say that this might be because of a different author, the nature of the construction of this encyclical – with its multiple authors – would seem to suggest otherwise. So what is it? From my perspective its because Lumen Fidei has the sense of being a ‘capstone’ to the series, a natural conclusion if you will to an examination of the theological virtues.
Reading Lumen Fidei is highly recommended for anyone who professes to have faith – so they can understand what it is that they have, and what it means for them.