Pope’s encyclical to have medieval Italian, not Latin, title

In this March 3, 2008 photo, environmental workers collect sea samples after an oil spill at Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. (CNS photo/Orlando Barria, EPA)
In this March 3, 2008 photo, environmental workers collect sea samples after an oil spill at Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. (CNS photo/Orlando Barria, EPA)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment will not be released with a formal Latin title, but rather a medieval Italian one.

In its first official comment on the title, the Vatican press office said June 10 that the document will be called, “Laudato Si’: On the Care of Our Common Home.” Earlier, reporters used the modern “sii” for the phrase which translates “praised be.”

Using the same Italian spelling used by St. Francis of Assisi, the opening phrase of the title, “Laudato si’,” is the introductory phrase to eight verses of the saint’s famous prayer thanking God for the gifts of creation.

When Pope Francis met reporters just a few days after his election in March 2013, he told them how he decided to name himself after St. Francis of Assisi. The saint, he said, “is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and safeguards creation; at this time we don’t have a very good relationship with creation, do we?”

The Vatican announced June 10 that the text will be released at noon Rome time June 18 and that it would have a news conference that morning in the Vatican synod hall, rather than in the Vatican press office.

The conference will feature speeches by: Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who worked on early drafts of the text; Metropolitan John of Pergamon, a noted Orthodox theologian and top aide to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, a leader in the Christian ecology movement; and John Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

Also June 10, members of Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals were briefed on the encyclical’s contents and plans for its release by Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, an official of the justice and peace council.

“So that the publication of the encyclical would be lived as an important event in the life of the universal church in communion with the Holy Father,” the Vatican statement said, Father Czerny told council members that all the world’s bishops had been informed about the upcoming publication and were given materials to help them explain it to their people.

— By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service.