Archbishop Gänswein: Benedict XVI Wrote Text, but Did Not Agree to be Co-Author
Archbishop Gänswein said that Pope Benedict XVI wrote the text on priestly celibacy included in the book during the summer of 2019, that he freely gave it to Cardinal Sarah at his request, and that he knew it would appear in a book.
VATICAN CITY — Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the private secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, said Tuesday the former pontiff was not informed he would be presented as co-author of a new book on priestly celibacy and that Pope Benedict XVI has asked for his name and photo to be removed from the cover.
According to the German-language news agency KNA, Archbishop Gänswein said Jan. 14 that he had called Cardinal Robert Sarah that morning, at Pope Benedict XVI’s request, to ask the book’s publisher to remove the signature of the pope emeritus from the introduction and conclusion, because he had not co-authored them.
Archbishop Gänswein said that the chapter in the main part of the book is, however, “100 percent Pope Benedict XVI,” according to KNA. “It was a misunderstanding - without questioning Cardinal Sarah’s good intentions,” Archbishop Gänswein said.
The book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” is to be released in the United States in February, and will consist of chapters written individually by Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah, as well as an introduction and conclusion reportedly credited jointly to them in the French edition, although the text has not yet been published. Its French release is scheduled for Jan. 15.
Archbishop Gänswein said that Pope Benedict XVI wrote the text on priestly celibacy included in the book during the summer of 2019, that he freely gave it to Cardinal Sarah at his request, and that he knew it would appear in a book. He said the pope emeritus was not informed of the plan for the actual form and layout, according to KNA.
Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Vatican’s liturgy office, sent a tweet in the early afternoon in Rome Jan. 14 saying future editions of the book will list him alone as author with a contribution by Pope Benedict XVI, “however, the full text remains absolutely unchanged.”
Approximately two hours prior, Cardinal Sarah had tweeted a communique claiming Pope Benedict XVI was sent a “complete manuscript” of the book on November 19, comprised of the cover, the common introduction and conclusion, and their individual texts.
In the same statement Cardinal Sarah said Pope Benedict XVI sent a message November 25 agreeing for the manuscript to be published in the form proposed.
The previous day, on January 13, Cardinal Sarah tweeted a series of letters from Pope Benedict XVI, that seemed to affirm that the pope emeritus wrote the chapter attributed to him and authorized its publication. The letters also seemed to indicate that Cardinal Sarah had edited the text provided by Pope Benedict XVI, with the pope emeritus’ full approval.
In the book, Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah argue that priestly celibacy is not merely an optional feature of Church life today, but an ontological necessity for the priesthood.
Pope Benedict XVI’s chapter in the book examines the history of the priesthood in the Old and New Testaments, saying that a proper understanding of the nature of the priesthood is crucial in answering contemporary questions about the priesthood.
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