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Rome Reports

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Cardinal Sarah publishes Benedict's letters, insists they wrote book together

Monday evening, Benedict XVI's sources leaked the pope emeritus' text on celibacy is not recent, and Benedict did not intend to publish it in a book.

However, a few hours later, Cardinal Robert Sarah, co-author of the book, responded with this message on Twitter.

“I solemnly affirm that Benedict XVI knew our project would take the form of a book. I can say that we exchanged several proofs to make the corrections.”

To further prove his case, the cardinal published three letters from Benedict XVI, dating from September, October and November.

In the first, Benedict confirms he was writing a text on priesthood, but says "the forces do not allow me to write a theological text."

He adds that at Sarah's request and in accordance with the cardinal's beliefs on celibacy, he will conclude the article. Benedict continues that although he believes them “insufficient,” the pope emeritus asks the cardinal to decide if they can be useful.

Three weeks later, on Oct. 12, he sends a text he presents as his "Thoughts on Priesthood."

On Nov. 25, Benedict writes again.

This time, he thanks Cardinal Sarah for the text accompanying his article. Benedict praises Sarah that "in half a page" the cardinal is able to convey the essential parts of his belief. Benedict writes “my text can be published in the way you have intended."

The short book has not even been published yet, but with the accusations and denials circulating around it, it has already raised unprecedented expectations.

Melissa Butz