Massimo Faggioli, a theologian at Villanova University in the United States, called it “a serious breach” by the former pope, who vowed “unconditional reverence and obedience” to his successor.
Former Pope Benedict, in a new book written with a conservative cardinal, defends priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church in what appears to be a strategically timed appeal to Pope Francis to not change the rules.
Benedict wrote the book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” with Cardinal Robert Sarah, 74, a Guinean prelate who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Excerpts were published on Sunday on the website of the French newspaper Le Figaro. The Vatican had no immediate comment on the book, which is due to be published on Monday.
In October, the final document of an assembly of Roman Catholic bishops, or synod, from the Amazon proposed that married men in the remote area be allowed to be ordained priests, which could lead to a landmark change in the Church’s centuries-old discipline of celibacy.