A cardinal who co-authored a bombshell book with the retired former pope Benedict XVI in which he spoke out against allowing married men to become priests, has denied he manipulated him in order to push back against his reform-minded successor, Pope Francis. The Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office, spoke out after news reports quoting “sources close to Benedict” claimed Benedict never saw or approved the finished product. Sarah reproduced letters from Benedict making clear the 92-year-old retired pope had written the text and approved its publication. “I solemnly affirm that Benedict XVI knew that our project would take the form of a book. I can say that we exchanged many drafts to make corrections,” he said. The controversy underscores the conservative-progressive battle lines that have exploded in the Catholic church following Benedict’s decision in 2013 to retire and Francis’s election as his successor. Benedict’s intervention in the book From the Depths of Our Hearts came weeks before Francis is expected to publish a document on whether married men could be ordained priests in the Amazon, to deal with a priest shortage there. His reaffirmation in the book of the “necessity” of priestly celibacy gave the… Read full this story
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