At the request of retired Pope Benedict XVI, his name will be removed as co-author of a book defending priestly celibacy, said Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican official who co-ordinated work on the book.
‘Considering the polemics provoked by the publication of the book, ‘From the Depths of Our Hearts,’ it has been decided that the author of the book for future editions will be Cardinal Sarah, with the contribution of Benedict XVI,’ Cardinal Sarah tweeted today, 14th January.
‘However,’ he said, ‘the full text remains absolutely unchanged.’
The tweeted announcement came only a few hours after Cardinal Sarah had issued a formal statement accusing people of slandering him by saying that while Pope Benedict may have contributed notes or an essay to the book, he was not co-author of it.
Archbishop Georg Ganswein, personal secretary to Pope Benedict, phoned several German news agencies and spoke with the Reuters news agency saying the retired pope had requested that his name be removed as co-author of the book, its introduction and its conclusion. The archbishop confirmed that the book’s first chapter, attributed to Pope Benedict, was the work of the retired pope.
Since marriage and priesthood both demand the total devotion and self-giving of a man to his vocation, ‘it does not seem possible to realise both vocations simultaneously,’ retired Pope Benedict wrote in his essay.
The French newspaper Le Figaro published excerpts of the book late on 12th January and, almost immediately, some people began questioning just how much of the work actually was written by the 92-year-old former pope.
The introduction and conclusion were attributed jointly to the retired pope and to Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; the book has two other chapters, one attributed to each of them alone.
Picture: Part of the cover of “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” by Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, with the contribution of retired Pope Benedict XVI. (CNS photo/Ignatius Press).