The Italian media has widely reported this week that the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI will be issued on 8 December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Commentators are speculating on the subject of the document. The Vatican press office has not issued any comments. The first encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis, appeared in March 1979, less than five months after his election. Pope Benedict has indicated that he does not plan to publish many official documents during his pontificate.
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