Ex pope Benedict denies co-writing book that criticised Pope Francis

Former Pope Benedict XVI has denied co-writing book that criticized pope Francis over possibility of letting married men become priests.

According to Daily Mail, Sources close to Benedict say he shared notes with the author but did not see the finished book or approve its publication.

The book, From The Depths Of Our Hearts, purports to be co-written by Benedict and ultra-conservative cardinal Robert Sarah.

Benedict is quoted in the book saying he cannot ‘keep silent’ about the issue of whether to allow married men to become priests, which Francis is contemplating.

Vatican experts voiced astonishment that the retired pope would speak out on such a sensitive issue and his links to the book now appear in doubt – although Sarah insists they are genuine.

The row erupted when a French newspaper published extracts from the book in which Benedict was quoted coming down firmly against Francis’s possible move.

Francis will decide in the coming weeks whether to relax the celibacy rules in remote locations, such as the Amazon, where there is a shortage of clergymen.

Supporters of Francis suggested that Benedict had been manipulated by members of his conservative entourage into making a highly unusual intervention.

There were also claims of elder abuse, given Benedict’s 92 years and increasing frailty.

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