Pope Benedict XVI started a series of encyclicals on virtue, starting with love. He was working on his fourth encyclical, on Faith, when he had to step down. Pope Francis completed it and released The Light of Faith as his first encyclical. This completed the series on the theological virtues, Faith, Hope and Love. Benedict uses Charity and Love interchangeably, so all four are on the theological virtues. They are amazing documents and give tremendous insight into the virtues.

LUMEN FIDEI, The Light of Faith, Pope Francis

CARITAS IN VERITATE, Charity in Truth, Pope Benedict XVI

SPE SALVI, Saved in Hope, Pope Benedict XVI

DEUS CARITAS EST, God is Love, Pope Benedict XVI

DIVES IN MISERICORDIA, Rich in Mercy, Pope St. John Paul II

Other Papal Writings

It would likely be very difficult to find a significant writing by a pope that does not touch on virtue in some way. Virtue is faith lived, and the popes recognize and promote this. Over time, additional documents will be added to this section.

Theology of the Body, Pope St. John Paul II.  This is a massive work and presents all of Scripture and the fullness of our faith in the context of the body. It explains the Church’s teaching on sexuality, but is much broader than this. It explains how we are meant to be in relationship with each other and with God. In addition to TOB, JPII’s Love and Responsibility, written before he became pope, is excellent.


This is a list of a few favorites. Some have their focus on developing virtue, while others touch on other topics as well. There is great variety, but they all lead to growth in virtue and ultimately to knowing and loving God.

Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales

The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis

The Story of a Soul, St. Therese of Lisieux

The Way of Perfection, St. Theresa of Avila

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, St. Ignatius

The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence

The Way to Happiness, Venerable Fulton Sheen

The Seven Capital Sins, Venerable Fulton Sheen

The Dialogue, St. Catherine of Siena

Scivia, St. Hildegard of Bingen


There are so many great videos available today that teach about our faith. Check our anything on the Steubenville Conference YouTube channel (Dr. Scott Hahn, Dcn. Harold Burke, Dcn. Ralph Poyo, Sr. Miriam Heidland, Kimberly Hahn, and many more). We also have the videos of Life is Worth Living from Ven. Fulton Sheen. Some of these are more than fifty years old, and yet, Ven. Sheen’s instruction is timeless.

Fr. Michael Gaitley – Now is the Time of Mercy

Bp. Robert Barron – Seven Deadly Sins; Seven Lively Virtues

Steubenville Conferences

Ven. Fulton Sheen – Life is Worth Living (series)