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Vatican official introduces Pope's new book, Light of the World

November 23, 2010

Light of the World, a new book in which Pope Benedict XVI is interviewed by German journalist Peter Seewald, was released today, with a Vatican press conference introducing the book to the media.

The interview-book has already been the subject of a major worldwide controversy, because of the premature publication of one isolated passage in which the Pontiff discussed condom use. But Light of the World covers a broad range of other topics, and the Pope speaks frankly on matters such as the sex-abuse scandal, negotiations with the Society of St. Pius X, dialogue with Islam, the new Anglican ordinariates, changes in the liturgy, and the possibility of his own resignation.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told reporters that the Pope had decided to allow the interview—the third such project that he has undertaken with Seewald—because he saw it as an opportunity to speak to the world informally, in plain language.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the newly established Pontifical Council for New Evangelization, saw the book as an intimate portrayal of the Pontiff. The Pope, he said, “opens the door of his apartment and lets us in.”

Seewald expressed dismay that the world’s media have focused obsessively on one short passage from the book, in which the Pope discusses condom use. Archbishop Fisichella agreed that “reducing the entire interview to one phrase removed from its context and from the entirety of Benedict XVI's thought would be an offence to the Pope's intelligence and a gratuitous manipulation of his words.”


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