Wednesday, March 14, 2018

NOT A PARODY: Vatican Leaves out Notable Final Section of Benedict's Letter - "Thanks for thinking of me, but I won't have time to read those books."

Two days ago, the Vatican published part of a letter, purportedly written and signed by Pope Benedict, referencing a new eleven-book series on Pope Francis' "theology." Among other things, the Vatican excerpted what we now know are the second and third paragraphs:
I applaud this initiative that wants to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice in which Pope Francis is just a practical man without particular theological or philosophical formation, while I have been only a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete life of a Christian today. 
The small volumes show, rightly, that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation, and they therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, despite all the differences of style and temperament.
This vague but still significant seeming-endorsement by Pope Emeritus Benedict for Francis and his program prompted the expected negative reactions, depressing confirmations and wild theories from the usual suspects (including me). 

However, the full text of the letter has now apparently been leaked (to the journalist Sandro Magister), and it turns out that the final part of the letter puts a slightly different spin on things. While the full letter was read out (in Italian, I assume) at the presentation on Monday, the final two paragraphs were not referenced in the press-release. Comically, while the release did include a photograph of the letter sitting on a table (in which a few words can barely be made out), the part containing the final paragraphs was covered up by a stack of books.

Here are the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the letter (from Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register via the blog of Sandro Magister):
However, I don’t feel like writing a short and dense theological passage on them because throughout my life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books I had read really well. Unfortunately, if only for physical reasons, I am unable to read the eleven volumes in the near future, especially as other commitments await me that I have already made. 
I am sure you will understand and cordially greet you.
Benedict is, as usual, too kind. I'm willing to bet anyone 1,000 old Italian lira that, outside of the proof-reader, no mortal man, whatever his physical capabilities or limitations, has read or will ever read the entire text of these volumes.

I suspect even some of the works of the amazingly prolific Joseph Vissarionovich had more actual readers.

What is it about totalitarian regimes and this stuff?

In any case, perhaps the Catholic pundits all had it wrong a few days ago. Was it largely just a question of being polite? 

Thank you for thinking of me, but I'm afraid I don't have time to review the eleven items that arrived by special courier this morning. They look very professionally produced, and I'm sure they will find an appropriate audience. Unfortunately, I am engaged in a number of other projects at the moment, and I'm still three months behind with Un Posto al Sole. I hope you understand. Good luck in your endeavors!


  1. Also notable: every time Benedict referred to the volumes he called them “little.” For some reason Pentin’s translation of the last paragraph misses that B used a diminutive form... so again, “little volumes.” Very odd.

  2. It is good to see that the Vatican also thinks Pope Francis has a credibility problem. And to make it even worse they now have the additional problem with the credibility of trying to address the original credibility issue. More pathetic than funny.

    This is just further proof that the devil rules in the Vatican.

  3. Un Posto Al Sol is an Italian situation comedy?!?
    A b16 wants to catch up on the episodes?!?
    ROTFLOL. baddabing! Zing!

  4. what they need is a Pope under 60 who believes the Church is the only way to salvation and doesn't endorse other beliefs like Islam. Otherwise, why be Catholic?

    1. I agree with Brian. And if you believe any religion will do it makes Christ's coming seem pointless. He went through a lot of trouble for nothing if all are saved. This is clearly a Free Mason, Communist idea which was what Vatican II meant to embed in Catholicism and has been startlingly successful.

  5. As you know by now, another WHOLE GRAF was 'deleted' from the letter but has now been leaked....

    In it, B-16 takes note of the history of two of the books' authors--both opposed to standard R.C. and/or Ratzingerian beliefs. That's why B-16's letter was so dismissive, even though it was VERY elegantly phrased.