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Ex-Pope Benedict undercuts Francis on priests and celibacy

Ex-Pope Benedict undercuts Francis on priests and celibacy”

Pope Benedict XVI defended the celibacy of Catholic Priests after his successor, Pope Francis hinted on relaxing the ban on married men serving as priests.

I believe that priestly celibacy "has great meaning" and is "indispensable in order for our journey toward God to remain the foundation of our life", writes the former pontiff. Francis has said he would write a document based on the outcome of that meeting. In the book, Benedict argues that the priesthood requires "renouncing all that belongs only to us" and says it "doesn't seem possible to realize" the vocations of priesthood and marriage at the same time.

A majority of bishops at the synod in October said married men should be ordained to offer a supply for the shortage of priests. "Thus, the ability to renounce marriage so as to place oneself totally at the Lord's disposition became a criterion for priestly ministry".

In the book dedicated to priests of the world, the two authors however urged them to persevere as they also admonished Catholic faithfuls to hold firm and support them in their celibate ministry.

They warned of priests "confused by the incessant questioning of their consecrated celibacy".

The pair asked the whole church not to be "swayed" by "bad pleas, theatrics, diabolical lies, fashionable errors that want to devalue priestly celibacy". "It is urgent and necessary for everyone-bishops, priests and lay people-to take a fresh look with the eyes of faith at the Church and at priestly celibacy which protects her mystery".

Some critics regard the idea of allowing married priests in the Amazon as a pretext to abolishing celibacy as a requirement altogether.

The book is being published at a moment of renewed interest in the nature of the relationship between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, thanks to the Netflix drama The Two Popes.

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The implications of Benedict's intervention are serious, given that conservative and traditionalist Catholics nostalgic for Benedict's orthodoxy are already deeply opposed to Francis.

The Pope Emeritus and the cardinal, who has been repeatedly corrected by Francis over liturgical matters, say their book arose out of the "strange media synod that has taken precedence over the real synod", which took place last October.

The film, starring Anthony Hopkins as Benedict and Jonathan Pryce as Francis, imagines a days-long conversation between the two men before Benedict announced his historic resignation February 11, 2013 - conversations in which their different views of the state of the church become apparent.

Pope Francis will consider it, along with many other proposals on issues that emerged during the synod, including the environment and the role of women, in a document of his own, known as an Apostolic Exhortation.

"Not only there is no canon law concerning the situation created by an incapacitated pope", tweeted Villanova theolgian Massimo Faggioli.

Bruni's statement also argued that on the topic of how priestly celibacy fits into the general work of the Amazon synod, Pope Francis is less interested in "this or that other intra-ecclesiastical point" as he is on the synod's "diagnoses" of problems in the pastoral, cultural, social, and ecological dimensions.

Mark Brumley, the president of Ignatius Press, however, denounced such conspiracies and said Benedict isn't being used.

VATICAN CITY, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Roman Catholic scholars rebuked the former Pope Benedict on Monday for his comments in a new book regarding the delicate matter of priestly celibacy, saying his words were helping to destabilise the reigning Pope Francis.



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