Ex-pope Benedict wants name removed from controversial book -aide

VATICAN CITY, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Former Pope Benedict wants his name removed as co-author of a controversial book on the issue of priestly celibacy, his personal secretary said on Tuesday.

Archbishop Georg Ganswein told Reuters that, at the former pope's behest, he had asked the principal author of the book, Cardinal Robert Sarah, to contact the publishers and make the necessary changes.

The book, "From the Depths of Our Hearts," is due to be published in France on Wednesday. Excerpts were released at the weekend, angering some Roman Catholic scholars who said Benedict risked destabilizing the reigning Pope Francis.

It was the latest twist in a saga that has riveted the Roman Catholic world, underscoring the polarization between conservatives and progressives in the 1.3 billion-member Church and prompting fresh debate on the role of a former pontiff.

Hours earlier, Sarah rejected media accusations that he had used Benedict's name without authorisation and had taken advantage of the frail, 92-year-old ex-pontiff.

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Robert Redford meets Pope Francis at the Vatican
US actor and director Robert Redford (R) meets with Pope Francis during the Pope's weekly general audience on December 4, 2019 at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP) (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)
US actor and director Robert Redford (R) meets with Pope Francis during the Pope's weekly general audience on December 4, 2019 at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP) (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)
American retired actor, director and producer Robert Redford attends Pope Francis weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (Photo by Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
American retired actor, director and producer Robert Redford attends Pope Francis weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (Photo by Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
US actor and director Robert Redford (Rear R) waits to meet with Pope Francis (L) during the Pope's weekly general audience on December 4, 2019 at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP) (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)
Pope Francis greets American actor, director and producer Robert Redford at the end of his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (Photo by Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - 2019/12/04: American actor Robert Redford is seen during the weekly General Audience at St. Peter's Square. The General Audience is held every Wednesday, in Saint Peter's Square, which can accommodate around 80,000 people. (Photo by Giuseppe Ciccia/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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"I solemnly affirm that Benedict XVI knew that our project would take the form of a book. I can say that we exchanged several texts to establish the corrections," Sarah, 74, wrote on Twitter.

He later said that in future editions of the book, Benedict would be named as a contributor and not a co-author. "However, the full text remains absolutely unchanged," he said.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

 

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