The private secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, has confirmed that Benedict XVI does not want to be considered a co-author of a book by Cardinal Robert Sarah on priestly celibacy.
Today, the archbishop had this statement:
“I can confirm that this morning I acted on instructions from the emeritus pope and I asked Cardinal Robert Sarah to contact the book’s publishers and request them to remove Benedict XVI’s name as co-author of the book and remove his signature from the introduction and the conclusions too.”
“The Pope Emeritus, in fact, knew that the cardinal was preparing a book,” Ganswein added, “and had sent a brief text of his own on the priesthood, authorizing the cardinal to use it as he wanted. But he had not approved any project of a book with a double signature, nor had he seen or authorized it’s cover. It was a misunderstanding, without calling into question the good faith of Cardinal Sarah.”
For his part, Cardinal Sarah, who is the prefect of the Vatican’s congregation on worship and the sacraments, explained on Twitter that the book will be published without changes to the text, but adapting the title:
Considering the controversies that the publication of the book “From the depths of our hearts” have provoked, it’s been decided that the author of the book for forthcoming publication will be ‘Cardinal Sarah, with the contribution of Benedict XVI.’ Nevertheless, the complete text will remain without changes.
On Monday, the cardinal tweeted copies of previous correspondence with the pope emeritus.
The announcement of the book on Monday generated a lot of media attention, both from Catholic and secular sources.
Though various secular sources seemed to cast the book as a case of Benedict XVI diverging from Pope Francis, Catholic sources clarified that this is far from a correct understanding of the case. In fact, various analyses pointed out, Pope Francis has made a firm defense of priestly celibacy, while both the current and emeritus pope have been active in considering solutions to particular pastoral situations. In one case, for example, Benedict XVI created the ordinariates for ex-Anglicans, paving the way for a handful of married Anglican priests to become Roman Catholic priests who are married.