- Retired Pope Benedict XVI is defending priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church while Pope Francis is considering easing a ban on married men serving as priests
- Pope Benedict retired in 2013, becoming the first pontiff to resign in almost 600 years
- The retired pope made his intervention in a book co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah
- Pope Benedict says it does not seem possible to realise priesthood and marriage simultaneously
Retired Pope Benedict XVI has broken silence on the issue of priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church, defending the age-long practice.
The 92-year-old retired pope made the appeal in a book co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah at a time his successor, Pope Francis, is considering easing a ban on married men serving as priests, BBC reports.
Briefly.co.za gathers that the Vatican has not commented on the book, which was previewed in part by French newspaper Le Figaro before its full publication on Monday, 13 January.
In the book, Pope Benedict said celibacy has great significance because it allows priests to focus on their duties.
He said: "It doesn't seem possible to realise both vocations (priesthood and marriage) simultaneously."
Vatican commentators have, however, expressed surprise with the retired pope's intervention.
A historian and theologian at Villanova University identified as Massimo Faggioli, tweeted: "Benedict XVI is really not breaking his silence because he (and his entourage) never felt bound to that promise. But this is a serious breach."
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