Circular or gen. letters addressed to many people or a whole order. The name formerly included letters sent by bps. to their people, but now applies almost exclusively to formal pastoral letters addressed by the pope to the RC Ch. To be distinguished from briefs (see Breve), bulls,* rescripts,* constitutions,* and decrees.* Pub. in Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Named from the first words of the official, pub. text. Some important encyclicals: Quanta Cura (1864; against the 80 errors rejected in the 1864 Syllabus* of Errors; see Roman Catholic Confessions, D); Aeter41ni Patris (1879; commended study of philos., esp. Thomism*); Rerum Novarum (1891; against socialism*); Pascendi (1907; against modernism*); Casti Connubii (1930; on marriage*); Quadragesimo Anno (1931; 40th anniversary of Rerum Novarum; on reconstruction of the social order); Divini Redemptoris (1937; against atheistic communism; see Socialism, 4).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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