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Missing paragraph of Benedict XVI letter revealed

Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis (Getty Images)

The full text of Benedict XVI’s letter praising Pope Francis has been revealed, in which the Pope Emeritus says he has not read a series of books on Pope Francis’s theology.

The Vatican released an 11-part series called ‘The Theology of Pope Francis’ earlier this week. Mgr Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, sent an advance copy to Benedict XVI, who responded with a letter earlier this year.

To mark the official launch of the series, Mgr Viganò published the first two paragraphs of the letter, in which the Pope Emeritus said there was an “inner continuity” between his papacy and that of his successor.

Benedict XVI also wrote that the series of books would contradict “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.”

However, in the unpublished paragraph, Benedict XVI goes on to say that he has not read the series, and is unlikely to have the time to give it fuller consideration.

Sandro Magister’s blog provides an English translation of the paragraph:

Nonetheless, I do not feel that I can write a brief and dense theological page about them because for my whole life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books that I had also truly read. Unfortunately, even if only for physical reasons, I am not able to read the eleven little volumes in the near future, all the more so in that I am under other obligations to which I have already agreed.