Benedict warns about celibacy in new book seen as warning to Francis

The Vatican is in turmoil after excerpts of a book from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI were published in a French newspaper and appeared to challenge Pope FrancisPope FrancisBenedict warns about celibacy in new book seen as warning to Francis Pope urges US, Iran to seek ‘dialogue and self-restraint’ Pope calls on all governments to ensure access to health care MORE on the issue of celibacy for priests.

The Associated Press reported Monday that excerpts from the new book affirm the “necessity” of celibacy for priests, an issue Francis has grappled since the start of his papacy.

“The priesthood of Jesus Christ causes us to enter into a life that consists of becoming one with him and renouncing all that belongs only to us,” Benedict wrote in the upcoming book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church.”


Benedict, who had previously pledged to remain in the background of Francis’s papacy in his retirement, co-authored the book with another cardinal.

“For priests, this is the foundation of the necessity of celibacy but also of liturgical prayer, meditation on the Word of God and the renunciation of material goods,” the book states.

“Since serving the Lord likewise requires the total gift of a man, it does not seem possible to carry on the two vocations simultaneously,” he continued, writing of marriage.

There have been calls to end celibacy for priests, in part because of a shortage of priests worldwide. In the Amazon rainforest areas of Brazil, many Catholics go without attending daily Mass for months.

The Vatican’s editorial director Andrea Tornielli appeared to try to soften the appearance that the retired pope was taking a shot at Pope Francis.

In an editorial Monday published in Vatican News, Tornielli asked readers to recall what Francis previously has said on the matter of celibacy.

“I don’t feel able to put myself before God with this decision,” Francis said last year upon returning from Panama.

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