Hoping for a Pope Fight? One Just Took a Step Back

Benedict has name removed as co-author from controversial pro-priesthood celibacy book
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2020 9:15 AM CST
Hoping for a Pope Fight? One Just Took a Step Back
In this Sept. 28, 2014, file photo, Pope Francis, right, hugs Pope Benedict XVI prior to the start of a meeting in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

If you were hoping that there'd be a bona fide public bickering between Pope Francis and his predecessor, you may have to tamp down your expectations. The current pope has reportedly been mulling whether to allow married men to become priests in some cases, and news broke this week that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI took the exact opposite stance in From the Depths of Our Hearts, a new book on priesthood celibacy co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah and set to be released Wednesday. Now, however, CNN reports that Benedict has opted to remove himself as a co-author and instead just be listed as a contributor. His stance in the book, however, remains clear. "The call to follow Jesus is not possible without this sign of freedom and of renunciation of all commitments," he writes. "Celibacy must penetrate, with its requirements, all of the attitudes of existence."

The New Catholic Reporter notes this is seemingly the first time that an ex-pope has made his thoughts known on a topic that his successor is contemplating. Benedict apparently changed his mind at being so closely associated with the book, however; per Reuters, Archbishop Georg Ganswein said Benedict asked him to contact Sarah and have the co-authorship label nixed. "Considering the controversies that provoked the publication of the book ... it is decided that the author of the book will be for future publications: [Cardinal Sarah], with the contribution of Benedict XVI," Sarah tweeted Tuesday, adding, however, that "the full text remains absolutely unchanged." (More Pope Benedict XVI stories.)

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