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originally, a pastoral letter sent out by a bishop, now a solemn papal letter, meant to inform the whole church on some particular matter of importance. Benedict XIV circulated the first known encyclical in 1740. Unlike those in the papal bullbull
[Lat. bulla=leaden seal], papal letter. As the diplomatic organization of the papal chancery progressed in the Middle Ages, the papal bull came to be more solemn than the papal brief or encyclical.
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, doctrinal statements in an encyclical are not necessarily regarded as infallible; the faithful, however, are bound to give assent. Encyclicals became more numerous after the 18th cent. Leo XIII issued a whole series of encyclicals reorienting Roman Catholic life in the modern world; among these are Aeterni Patris, 1879, on Thomistic philosophy, and Rerum novarum, 1891, concerning the social order. Other noteworthy encyclicals include Pascendi, 1907, by Pius X, on modernismmodernism,
in religion, a general movement in the late 19th and 20th cent. that tried to reconcile historical Christianity with the findings of modern science and philosophy.
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; Quadragesimo anno [in the 40th year, i.e., since Rerum novarum], 1931, by Pius XI, dealing further with social questions; and two by Pius XI not written in Latin—Non abbiamo bisogno, 1931, against Italian Fascism, and Mit brennender Sorge, 1937, against the National Socialist regime in Germany. Among the numerous encyclicals of Pius XII are Mystici corporis Christi, 1943, on the nature of the church, and Sacra virgintas, 1954, on evangelical chastity. The encyclical Mater et Magistra, 1961, by John XXIII, makes current the church's teachings on social matters. Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, 1968, which reaffirms the church's traditional prohibition of contraception, caused considerable controversy. John Paul II's many encyclicals include Laborem Exercens, 1981, on the value of human labor; Evangelium Vitae, 1995, which restated the church's teachings on abortion, birth control, and euthanasia and condemned capital punishment; and Fides et Ratio, 1998, which condemns both atheism and faith unsupported by reason and affirms a place for reason and philosophy in religion. All papal edicts are normally known by their first word or words.


See A. J. Fremantle, The Papal Encyclicals in Their Historical Context (1963).



a letter sent by the pope to all Catholics or to the Catholics of one country concerning questions of dogma and sociopolitical matters. According to the canons of the Catholic Church, an encyclical is not subject to discussion, and its instructions must be implemented. Encyclicals are usually written in Latin and take their title from the first words of the text; for example, Mater et magistra (1961) was an encyclical of John XXIII. A modern encyclical with widespread impact was Rerum novarum (1891), in which the Catholic Church’s social program was formulated.

In the early Christian church, an encyclical was a letter sent by a bishop on questions of faith. In the Anglican Church the term “encyclical” is applied to the epistles of the Lambeth Conferences (the highest body of the Anglican Communion).


a letter sent by the pope to all Roman Catholic bishops throughout the world
References in periodicals archive ?
Throughout the last two years, in preparation for the encyclical rollout, the Vatican has relied solely upon global warming alarmists in its rush to judgment to meet the UN 2015 Sustainable Development Goals' timetable," said Elizabeth Yore, child's rights attorney for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Taking a strong stance that aligns with our planetary-boundaries research, the encyclical underscores humanity's responsibility to sustain Holocene-era stability in support of world development.
The encyclical is plainly aimed at influencing the outcome of December's summit meeting on climate change in Paris.
It is unfortunate that what appears to be the record of an open and frank discussion of the encyclical is more the result of the adept editing of submitted papers.
The encyclical treats integral human development in all its forms and dimensions as it can and should progress under the challenging ideological conditions of our contemporary globalized world.
It calls on all Catholics to once again examine the value of the encyclical Humanae vitae and to start rebuilding a culture of life in Canada.
What irked Weigel especially, I suspect, is that Caritas in Veritate lavishes great praise on the Pope Paul VI's 1967 social encyclical Populorum Progressio, which was denounced as "souped-up Marxism" by the Wall Street Journal.
In his encyclical, the Pope highlighted the drawbacks of outsourcing produc-tionsaying it can weaken the sense of responsibility of an employer towards others and the wider environment, in favour of shareholders, who are not tied to a geographical area.
Pius XI issued the encyclical Casti Connubii at the end of the 1930s that reiterated the church ban on birth control and urged priests to be more aggressive in condemning lay use.
Apparently the 2003 Vatican statement that same-sex-adoptions are "gravely immoral" and "would actually mean doing violence to these children" was not trumped by the trumpeted 2006 papal encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" of "God Is Love.
ENI)--"Love is a single reality with different dimensions'; Pope Benedict XVI stated in his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), issued in January.
Section 1 addresses the doctrinal ramifications and developments occasioned by the pope's encyclical as they pertain to the possibility of a Christian philosophy, the fate of metaphysics, theological anthropology and our understanding of the person, and the role of Mary and the effects of a Marian framework in an encyclical devoted to faith and reason.