Cardinal Sarah: Claim that Benedict did not co-author book on celibacy is 'defamation' of 'exceptional gravity'

Cardinal Robert Sarah said Monday that claims Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did not co-author with him a new book on priestly celibacy are “defamations of exceptional gravity.”

Jan 14, 2020

VATICAN CITY: Cardinal Robert Sarah said Monday that claims Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did not co-author with him a new book on priestly celibacy are “defamations of exceptional gravity.”

The publisher of the book said that critics suggesting that the pope emeritus did not co-author the book, or authorize its publication, are wrong.

“Are these people really implying that Cardinal Sarah is involved in a conspiracy to distort the truth?” Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, editor-in-chief of Ignatius Press, asked Jan. 13.

“If Cardinal Sarah is telling [Ignatius Press] that the chapters from Pope Benedict are from Pope Benedict, we take his word for it,” Fessio said, adding that the publisher stands by its attribution of the book to both Sarah and Benedict.

The priest’s comments were a response to a tweet from Eva Fernandez, Vatican correspondent for COPE Radio, a radio station owned by the Spanish bishops’ conference.

Fernandez tweeted that “a source” close to Benedict XVI had told her that Benedict did not write the book with Sarah, or give authorization for its publication.

Fernandez said that Benedict “only made available a text about the priesthood on which he was working.”

Fessio, a long-time friend of the pope emeritus, said that was untrue.

"Regarding Ignatius Press: we don't do ‘fake news’" he said.

The book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” will consist of chapters written individually by Benedict and 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.

On January 13, Sarah tweeted a series of letters from 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 Sarah had edited the text provided by Benedict.

“Attacks seem to imply a lie on my part. These defamations are of exceptional gravity. I give this evening the first proofs of my close collaboration with Benedict XVI to write this text in favor of celibacy,” Sarah wrote.--CNA

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