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Benedict XVI discusses resignation, Vatican governance in forthcoming book-length interview

July 01, 2016

In a new book-length interview to be published in September, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI speaks about his resignation, his reaction to the election of Pope Francis as his successor, and his challenges in governing the Church-- including troubles with a "gay lobby" inside the Vatican.

The book-- an unprecedented collection of the memories of a former Roman Pontiff-- covers the full life of Benedict XVI, from his childhood through his youth under the Nazi regime and his service at the Vatican including his papacy. Entitled Final Conversations, the book is scheduled for worldwide publication on September 9, and will cover more than 250 pages.

The Italian daily Corriere della Sera, which has acquired the rights to publish excerpts from the book, offered a preview in a July 1 article that disclosed:

  • Pope Benedict recognized the presence of a "gay lobby" at the Vatican during his pontificate. He says that only four or five people were involved, and believes that he defeated their efforts to influence Vatican policy.
  • The former Pontiff realizes that he lacked the firmness required to govern effectively. He confirms that, while working under St. John Paul II, he submitted his resignation several times, only to stay on at that Pontiff's request.
  • No one pressured Pope Benedict to resign, and very few people knew of his plan to step down until he made his historic public announcement.
  • He was surprised by the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, having expected one of several other cardinals to be chosen as his successor. But his second reaction to the election was joy, because of his high regard for the Argentine prelate.
  • He kept a diary throughout his pontificate, but plans to destroy it, although he recognizes that historians would see it as a "golden opportunity." (Interestingly, the former Pope indicates that he had not yet destroyed the diary, at least at the time of the interview.)

Final Conversations is the result of a lengthy interview with Peter Seewald, which took place not long after the former Pope's resignation took effect. Seewald had cooperated with Benedict XVI on the three earlier book-length interviews. Light of the World, published in 2010, was the first such book ever produced by a reigning Pontiff. Two previous books, Salt of the Earth (1997) and God and the World (2002), appeared while then-Cardinal Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.





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  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jul. 01, 2016 5:19 PM ET USA

    If it's as good as Salt of the Earth I'll want my copy on the first day of publication.