This 5th July turned out to be a momentous day in the recent history of the papacy because of three events:
- Pope Francis published his first Encyclical, “Lumen Fidei” on the Year of Faith, which in his own words was written “by four hands”, meaning that the encyclical had been passed on to him in draft form by his predecessor Benedict XVI and the current Pope had amended it, written some new parts and published it as a joint effort. The Encyclical is also intended to replace the usual Apostolic Exhortation following the Synod on the New Evangelization.
- Pope Francis invited the Pope Emeritus to join him in the Vatican Gardens for the blessing of a new statue of Michael the Archangel, which had been commissioned by Benedict. During this ceremony Pope Francis dedicated the Vatican to the protection of St. Michael against the forces of evil.
- Finally, Pope Francis announced that Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II have both been cleared for canonisation and that this will take place on the same day, probably as early as this year.