A new book by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah will discuss the priesthood and clerical celibacy, and what the authors see as threats and challenges facing priestly ministry in the Church today.
From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy, and the Crisis of the Catholic Church, co-authored by the former pontiff and the current prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, will be published in English by Ignatius Press (which also publishes Catholic World Report).
The book came into being during the summer and fall of 2019, as the worldwide Church’s attention was turning to the Vatican’s Synod on the Amazon, which examined questions surrounding priestly ministry and celibacy in particular.
The authors insist that priestly celibacy is more than “a mere precept of ecclesiastical law,” and argue that a renewal of priestly celibacy is necessary for a renewal of a Church rocked by scandals, according to a press release from the publisher. In a quote included in the press release, the Pope Emeritus and Cardinal Sarah state, “The priesthood is going through a dark time. Wounded by the revelation of so many scandals, disconcerted by the constant questioning of their consecrated celibacy, many priests are tempted by the thought of giving up and abandoning everything.”
The book includes an introduction and conclusion by the two authors, and one chapter by each individually. In the introduction, the Pope Emeritus and Cardinal Sarah state that they “fraternally offer these reflections to the people of God and, of course, in a spirit of filial obedience, to Pope Francis.”
“Their book is not just about priestly celibacy, important as that is in itself,” Ignatius Press founder and editor Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, said. “It is about, as Pope Benedict describes it in his first paragraph: ‘the lasting crisis that the priesthood has been going through for many years.’ But it is about more than that; it is about the nature of the Church and of Christian discipleship. This is a book that all should read. It is powerful and personal — from the depths of their hearts.”
The book will be available for pre-order this week and is expected to ship February 20.
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