Pope Francis and Benedict have a hand in new encyclical, focused on faith
July 5, 2013 -- Updated 1546 GMT (2346 HKT)
An edition of Pope Francis' first encyclical, titled "Lumen Fidei."
- The encyclical is the first to be released under Pope Francis
- It was largely written by Pope Emeritus Benedict, before he resigned from the papacy
- The 84-page text highlights the importance of faith
- Faith helps man "distinguish from good and evil," Francis writes
Rome (CNN) -- A key religious text co-written by Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict, who stepped down earlier this year, was released by the Vatican on Friday.
The encyclical, the first to be published since Francis became pope, sets out the priorities for the Roman Catholic Church.
It's called "Lumen Fidei," which is Latin for "The Light of Faith."
The groundwork for the 84-page encyclical was laid by Benedict, the Vatican said in a media briefing, while Francis "added further contributions to the existing first draft."
The introduction to the text, which is divided into four chapters, reiterates the importance of having faith in a man's life, it said.
A visit with the pope
John Paul II on fast track to sainthood
Pope Francis pauses for a moment to pray and lay his hands on a man with a disfiguring disease. His encounter with the ailing man occurred in Vatican City on Wednesday, November 6, at the end of the general audience, which had about 50,000 attendees.
Photos: Pope Francis
Francis writes that it is faith that helps man "distinguish from good and evil" and that he "who believes, sees."
He stresses that in modern times, faith has become more important than in the past.
In the first chapter, he refers to the biblical figure Abraham and explains faith as "listening to the Word of God, the call to come from the isolated self in order to open up oneself to a new life and the promise of the future."
Subsequent chapters talk about the connection between "faith and truth," evangelization and how faith is connected to the common good.
Vatican Radio said the encyclical completes a trilogy of papal teachings on the three theological virtues -- faith, hope and charity -- that was begun by Benedict with his encyclicals "Deus Caritas Est" in 2005, and "Spe Salvi" in 2007.
The encyclicals are circulated to Catholic bishops around the world and help outline the pope's thinking on doctrinal matters.
The Vatican has declared 2013 to be the "Year of Faith."
The latest encyclical is perhaps unprecedented in featuring the contribution of two living popes.
Benedict XVI shocked the Roman Catholic world in February when he announced his resignation, making him the first pope to stand down in almost 600 years. Popes usually serve until their death.
He has retired to a life of prayer and seclusion.
CNN's Hada Messia reported from Rome, and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London.
Part of complete coverage on
July 8, 2013 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
On the first pastoral visit of his papacy, Pope Francis shunned protocol and politics on a visit to the tiny island of Lampedusa off the coast of Sicily.
April 3, 2013 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis kisses and hugs disabled boy lifted up in the crowd.
April 11, 2013 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
With the new pope himself a trained scientist, could the timing could be right for a new era of cooperation between the Vatican and science?
April 8, 2013 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
A new pope may be a positive development in many ways. CNN's Jim Bittermann reports on the economic effect he brings.
April 6, 2013 -- Updated 1245 GMT (2045 HKT)
Jake Tapper talks to Father Edward Beck about Pope Francis' vow to act against sex abuse within the Catholic Church.
March 28, 2013 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Pope Francis has decided not to move into the papal apartment used by Benedict XVI and others before him.
March 31, 2013 -- Updated 1410 GMT (2210 HKT)
Pope Francis leads his first Easter celebrations with a Mass marking Easter Sunday -- the holiest day in the Christian calendar.
April 2, 2013 -- Updated 2120 GMT (0520 HKT)
A disabled boy in St. Peter's Square was lifted into the arms of the pope. His mother describes the beautiful moment.
March 23, 2013 -- Updated 1840 GMT (0240 HKT)
Pope Francis had lunch with predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI -- the first such encounter in history of the Roman Catholic Church.
March 17, 2013 -- Updated 0441 GMT (1241 HKT)
He's the first Jesuit and the first Latin American in modern times to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. But in some ways, he's just a normal guy.
March 16, 2013 -- Updated 1856 GMT (0256 HKT)
Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but his past is tinged with controversy.
March 19, 2013 -- Updated 1855 GMT (0255 HKT)
It was with a call for the protection of the weakest in society that Francis was officially inaugurated as the Catholic Church's 266th pontiff.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 2013 GMT (0413 HKT)
While all eyes were on Rome for the election of a new pope, for Catholics, the importance of the event went beyond an impressive spectacle.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 0821 GMT (1621 HKT)
Click through our gallery to see photos of the celebrations after a new pope was announced.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
The election of a pope from Latin America shows the emerging influence of the region in the Catholic church and the world.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
One of the first questions many people ask when they start a new job is: What type of car will I get?
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Call him Pope Francis, the pontiff of firsts.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1158 GMT (1958 HKT)
Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina is known as a humble man, a capable administrator and -- as expected of a new pope -- a man of great faith.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1725 GMT (0125 HKT)
Catholic faithful from Latin America cheered the historic election of the first pope from the region Wednesday.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, the new pope, is breaking historic ground by choosing the name Francis.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
St. Francis of Assisi, after whom Pope Francis has taken his name, captures the spirit of many Catholics.
Today's five most popular stories