National Catholic Reporter

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Pope Francis

Francis may write first encyclical on poverty, sign Benedict's on faith

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Pope Francis may write his first encyclical, a high and authoritative letter from the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, on poverty, several Italian media outlets are reporting.

Additionally, the new pontiff may give his signature to an encyclical being completed on faith by the retired Pope Benedict XVI.

While new popes have been known to complete encyclicals begun by their predecessors, Italian Bishop Luigi Martella has said the retired pope is still working on the document, which Francis has then agreed to sign and promulgate. 

When Jesuits and Franciscans come together

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Now let’s see if I have this straight.

The Jesuit, Jorge Bergoglio, gets elected pope.

He takes the name “Francis,” after the founder of the Franciscan order, St. Francis of Assisi.

The Jesuit pope, in his first major appointment, names a Franciscan, Father José Rodriguez Carballo, the head of the Franciscan order and president of the Union of Superiors General (USG), the umbrella group for representatives of men's religious orders, to be secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Religious.

Pope Francis officially de-emphasizes papal titles

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Pope Francis has possibly de-emphasized a number of the formal titles normally taken by the leader of the Roman Catholic church, choosing instead to list himself first by the basic title "Bishop of Rome" in the Vatican's annual directory.

The directory, known as the Annuario Pontificio​, lists the Vatican's official information regarding church leaders and dioceses throughout the world. Release of the 2013 edition was delayed following Pope Benedict XVI's resignation in February and Francis' election in March.

The Mind of Francis: International Diplomacy

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Like his two immediate predecessors, Pope Francis has no experience in international diplomacy. In the past, many popes like Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI came from the Vatican diplomatic corps. With many years of service as Vatican diplomats, these popes were comfortable as statesmen with a diplomatic roles. They already knew the Vatican line on international issues, and if they wanted to change it, they did it consciously.

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