Pope Francis’ third encyclical – reportedly on the need for “human and ecological conversion” and for “human fraternity” – is to drop in coming days or weeks, according to a media report.

– “A text of reason and heart” to be published around Pope’s address to UN September 15 or feast of St. Francis of Assisi October 4

According to journalist Maria Antonietta Calabrò, writing in the Italian edition of the Huffington Post, the Pope will publish a follow-up to the encyclicals Lumen Fidei (2013) and Laudato si’ (2015) if not immediately then in any case perhaps before he addresses the United Nations September 15 on the need for new socio-economic models post-coronavirus, or perhaps around or on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4.

A new encyclical on society and the economy would also make a fitting complement to the “Economy of Francesco” event in Assisi first planned for this March but now postponed to this November.

“It will be a social and economic encyclical for the post-COVID world, a text of reason and heart with which the pontiff will speak to the world about the necessary changes in social and productive organisation, the need to safeguard creation, the need to take responsibility for one another, and of the increasing need for human fraternity”, Calabrò wrote in her report.

– Holy See yet to comment, but Bishop of Rieti, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin give clues

Though the Holy See Press Office is yet to confirm the report of an third encyclical of Pope Francis’, Calabrò pointed out that the Bishop of Rieti, Domenico Pompili, let slip this Wednesday in a press conference to present the celebrations planned for the 800th anniversary of the Rule of St. Francis of Assisi from here until 2023 that “rumor has it that the pope himself will soon publish an encyclical on the theme of human fraternity”.

As for the substance of the apparently imminent encyclical, Calabrò pointed to an August 28 interview Cardinal Pietro Parolin to ex-deputy director of Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Carlo Di Cicco, writing on the website Riparte Italia (“Italy restarts”), in which the Vatican Secretary of State insisted that “no one can do it alone: it is time for a human and ecological conversion”.

In that interview, Parolin also explained that “The frame of reference designed by Pope Francis for the economy is found above all in Laudato si’, which in turn develops Benedict XVI’s Caritas in veritate. These are the two most recent major social encyclicals”.

“Benedict spoke of an economy in which room must be found for the logic of gift, the principle of gratuity, which expresses not only solidarity, but even more profoundly human fraternity”, Parolin continued.

“Francis relaunched the theme of integral human development in the context of an ‘integral ecology’: environmental, economic, social, cultural, spiritual.

“The social teaching of the Church, in which many recognise solidity of foundation and orientation, shows that it knows how to continuously update itself in order to respond to the questions of humanity with coherence and an overall vision.

“Today the pandemic is bringing a formidable shock to the entire economic and social system and its presumed certainties, at all levels.

“The problems of unemployment are and will be dramatic; the problems of public health require the revolution of entire health and educational systems, and the role of States, along with relations between nations, are changing.

“The Church feels called to accompany the complicated journey that lies before us all as a human family. She must do so with humility and wisdom, but also with creativity”.

– Francis’ warning on crisis: “We come out of it better, or we come out of it worse”

A hint at what may be contained in the rumoured new encyclical of Pope Francis’ could well be found in the new cycle of catecheses the pontiff has begun in Wednesday General Audiences, on the theme of healing the world post-coronavirus.

“We are experiencing a crisis. The pandemic has put all of us in crisis. But let us remember that after a crisis a person is not the same. We come out of it better, or we come out of it worse. This is our option”, the Pope recalled at his Audience just this past Wednesday, before asking:

“After the crisis, will we continue with this economic system of social injustice and depreciating care for the environment, for creation, for our common home?”

“Let’s think about this”, Francis urged.

On Novena, more hints as to the content of Pope Francis’ possible new encyclical:

Vatican, World Council of Churches urge humanity to “daring and caring” to heal post-COVID-19 world

26/8: In General Audience, Pope deplores “sick” economy, “the fruit of unequal growth that disregards fundamental human values”

23/8: At Angelus, Francis warns: “The Lord will hold us to account” for dead migrants, “victims of the throwaway culture”

Pope to address UN on need for new socio-economic models post-pandemic


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.