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One of Pope Benedict’s Biggest Fans? Francis

Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI 002

L'Osservatore Romano/AFP

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 06/22/16

From Crux:

Although they’ve often been portrayed as a study in contrasts, a book excerpt released Wednesday confirms Pope Francis is actually a huge fan of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, calling Catholic priests everywhere to look to, and to read, Benedict whenever they have doubts about their calling. On June 29, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate the 65 anniversary of his priestly ordination, which will be marked the day before with a small ceremony at the Vatican’s Secretary of State, with Pope Francis heading the VIP list. Ahead of the celebration, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica shared an excerpt from a prologue of a book collecting Benedict’s teaching on the priesthood, written by Francis. In it, the pope praises his predecessor, calling him a “kneeling” theologian, meaning that before being a great “teacher of the faith,” the pope emeritus is a man who “embodies holiness, a man of peace, a man of God.” It’s with this kneeling in prayer which, according to Francis, Benedict embodies the exemplary heart of the priesthood: “That deep rootedness in God, without which all the organizational capacity and all the supposed intellectual superiority, all the money and power are useless,” Francis writes. “[Benedict] embodies that constant relationship with the Lord Jesus without which nothing is true, everything becomes routine, priests [become] salaried [employees], bishops’ bureaucrats, and the Church is not the Church of Christ, but a product of our making, a superfluous NGO,” he adds. Talking about the first papal resignation in over 600 years, Francis called it a “lesson for the Church.”

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