VATICAN CITY Jan 25 Pope Francis, who took his
name from the saint seen as the patron of the animals and the
environment, is writing an encyclical on man's relationship with
nature, the Vatican said on Friday.
The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, confirmed
the project after French President Francois Hollande told
reporters the pope had told him about it during a meeting
earlier in the day.
Lombardi told Vatican Radio that the project was still in
its early stages and that it was premature to say when it would
He said the theme of the encyclical, the highest form of
papal writing, would be "the ecology of mankind".
Since his election in March, the leader of the world's 1.2
billion Roman Catholics has made many appeals in defence of the
His latest on Jan. 14 was in his so-called "state of the
world" address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, when he
said, "God always forgives, we sometimes forgive, but when
nature - creation - is mistreated, she never forgives."
In a speech about two weeks after his election on March 13,
the pope said he had taken his name after St. Francis of Assisi
because he "teaches us profound respect for the whole of
creation and the protection of our environment, which all too
often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to
one another's detriment."
Francis of Assisi, the 13th saint, loved nature. He is said
to have preached to birds and called the sun brother and the
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Toni Reinhold)