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Benedict XVI: ‘foolish prejudice’ to think Pope Francis lacks formation

Benedict XVI greets Pope Francis (Getty)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said there is an “inner continuity” between his pontificate and that of Pope Francis, and described his successor as a “man of profound philosophical and theological formation”.

The words came in a letter published by Mgr Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, as the Vatican released a series of books on the Theology of Pope Francis. Benedict XVI wrote the letter in thanks for having received an advance copy of the series.

The emeritus pope said that it “contradicts the foolish prejudice of those who see Pope Francis as someone who lacks a particular theological and philosophical formation, while I would have been solely a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete lives of today’s Christian.”

The series is edited by Don Roberto Repole, president of the Italian Theological Association.

“The small volumes show rightly that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation,” Benedict XVI added, “And therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, even with all the differences in style and temperament.”

Br Giulio Cesareo, OFM, head of Libreria Editrice Vaticana, said that translations of the series into English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Polish and Romanian have already been commissioned.