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Encyclicals are circular letters issued by the pope. As litterae encyclicae, they are sent to all bishops who live in peace and fellowship with the apostolic see, or to all Roman Catholics, or to all people of good will. As epistolae encyclicae, they are addressed only to bishops and believers in a particular area. Written in either Latin or the vernacular, they deal with a wide range of matters of doctrine and church order, faith, piety and life, social order (Social Encyclicals), mission, and ecumenism. They are mostly concrete and time-bound and make no infallible pronouncements. Yet Vat…

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Grote, Heiner, “Encyclicals”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 13 November 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_E243>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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