Version of encyclical leaks; Vatican calls for respect of embargo

This article appears in the Francis: The Environment Encyclical feature series. View the full series.

Rome — An Italian-language version of Pope Francis' highly anticipated encyclical letter on ecological issues was posted four days early Monday, but the Vatican says the version is an earlier draft of the document and has called on journalists to respect earlier embargo agreements.

The draft was leaked by the Italian news magazine l'Espresso. Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said in a statement that the version was not the final text, and therefore the embargo remains in place.

"You are invited to respect the journalistic honesty that requests you wait for the official publication of the final text," Lombardi said.

The initial Vatican plan was to release the pope's encyclical, titled "Laudato Si, On the care of the common home," at noon Thursday in Rome.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]