The Vatican has admitted that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI about Pope Francis’s theological background. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image.

The Vatican’s communications office released the photo yesterday to mark Francis’ five-year anniversary.

In the part of the letter that is legible, Benedict praises a new volume of books on the theology of Francis, and dismisses the “foolish prejudice” of critics who believe Francis lacks theological formation and Benedict has “little understanding of the concrete lives of today’s Christians”.

The Vatican admitted that it blurred the two final lines of the page, where Benedict begins to explain that he didn’t read the books and cannot contribute a theological assessment of Francis as requested because he has other projects.