Pope Francis has written an apostolic exhortation on “the call to holiness in the contemporary world” which will be published next Monday, April 9, the Vatican announced today.
“Gaudete et Exsultate” is the Latin title of the text, which translated into English means “Rejoice and Be Glad.” The words are taken from the Gospel of Matthew (5:12) at the end of the discourse on the Beatitudes.
The Second Vatican Council devoted the whole of chapter 5 of its dogmatic constitution on the Church, “Lumen Gentium” to “the universal call to holiness,” in other words, that everyone is called to be holy, to live a holy life and be a saint.
Pope Francis constantly returns to that council in his talks and documents, and this theme of “the call to holiness” is one that he has repeatedly emphasized, especially in his homilies.
The text will be presented at a press conference in the Vatican next Monday morning by Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, who preached the Lenten retreat to the Roman Curia in 2014 at the request of Pope Francis and whom the pontiff appointed as his vicar-general for Rome in May 2017.
The archbishop will be assisted in the presentation by an Italian lay man and lay woman: Gianni Valente, a journalist whom the pope has known for many years, and Paola Bignardi, former president of the Catholic Action movement in Italy, who is now active in the educational and social field.
Sources told America that the Exhortation is around 20,000 words—less than half the size of “Amoris Laetitia.” It is Pope Francis’ third exhortation and comes after “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”) in 2013 which is the programmatic document for his pontificate and “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”) that is the concluding document of two synods of bishops on the family, which was published in 2016.
An apostolic exhortation is an important part of the ordinary teaching of the pope, but it is a form of teaching that is less authoritative than an encyclical. The Vatican announced that this text will be published in several languages including English and is embargoed until midday on Monday.