Religion: Ad Petri Cathedram

Kindly, fatherly Pope John XXIII issued his first encyclical last week, and it proved to be a fatherly message of warning, hope and encouragement. Ad Petri Cathedram (To the Chair of Peter), the circular letter's opening words by which it will be known, is neither a trail-blazing social document (like Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum in 1891) nor a detailed doctrinal exposition (like Pius XII's Humani Generis in 1950). It is instead notable for the familiarity of its style, the range of its concern and the warmth with which it faces its subject: On Promoting—Under the Impulse of Charity—Truth, Unity and Peace.

The...

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