Navarro Valls told the Italian news agencies ANSA and Apcom that the document, entitled “Deus Caritas Est” (“God Is Love”), was signed by the Pope on Christmas Day.
“The decision to make it public in January is due to the fact that the Pope will release important documents over this period,” the spokesman is quoted as saying to Apcom.
This month the Holy Father published his Christmas addresses and his message for the World Day of Peace, among other things. The Pope himself decided to delay the publication of the encyclical until January, according to press sources.
The Pope’s first draft of the encyclical, in German, was written last summer, during his holiday in the Italian Alps.
Pope John Paul II published 14 encyclicals during his 26-year pontificate.