Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, have just co-authored a book entitled “From the depths of our hearts,” as reported by Le Figaro on January 12th, 2020. In in, both authors uphold and reaffirm celibacy is a fundamental element of priesthood.
The book, which will be published on January 15th, is the product of meetings Ratzinger and Sarah held together, and of their correspondence during the synod on the Amazon, which discussed the question regarding the debated ordination of viri probati: middle-aged married men of proven virtue. Published at the end of these discussions, the final document of the Synod strongly recommended the application of this extraordinary measure to compensate for the lack of priests in the Amazon.
Only two months later, the pope emeritus “takes a firm stand against the priestly ordination of married men, in a book co-signed with Cardinal Sarah,” as read in an article published by Le Figaro entitled “Priestly celibacy: Benedict XVI’s cry of alarm.” The French daily newspaper published some extracts from the book, in which both priests explain they “exchanged ideas and concerns,” and “prayed and meditated in silence.”
“The similarity of our concerns and the convergence of our conclusions made us decide to put the fruit of our work and of our spiritual friendship at the disposal of all the faithful (…) We do this in a spirit of love for the unity of the Church,” both the pope emeritus and the cardinal explain. For them, it is urgent that all the faithful, bishops and priests “no longer allow themselves to be impressed by bad pleas” and “diabolical lies” that seek to “devalue priestly celibacy.”
Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, recalled the words of Pope Francis concerning priestly celibacy made in January 2019: “I prefer to give my life than to change the law on celibacy.”