The director of the Vatican Publishing House was considering nominating Benedict XVI for the Nobel Prize in literature at the time of his resignation, Andrea Gagliarducci has reported.
Fr Giuseppe Costa made the revelations at a recent International Book Fair in Turin, where under a St. Peter’s Dome-shaped pile of books he explained how he had reached out to some major universities to discuss the campaign.
However the project was stalled, and then the Pope Emeritus resigned.
But Fr Costa said that the rationale of the proposed campaign, that religious writing is not a “class B” literature, was still relevant. Furthermore Benedict XVI’s writing attracted interest outside of non-Catholic circles, and gave a stronger presence of Catholicism in the cultural debate. Among the examples are his analysis of a rootless Europe, published in 1992.
The Vatican Publishing House controls the copyright of all the Pope’s statements, with each encyclical selling between 600,000 and one million copies. Benedict XVI gave the Vatican Publishing House the copyrights of all the books he had published before his 2005 election.
At the Turin International Book Fair, which ran from May 8-12, various Catholic publishers discussed the state of the industry, agreeing that there is great demand for religious books, especially featuring Pope Francis.
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