.- The Vatican on Wednesday defended the choice of Doubleday to publish Pope Benedict's XVI new book, "Jesus of Nazareth", in North America. It underlined that Doubleday has previously published works by Popes John XXIII and John Paul II as well as "The Catechism of the Catholic Church."
The Vatican issued the statement in response to an article in an Italian newspaper, which pointed out that Doubleday is an imprint of Random House, which owns the rights to the controversial book "The Da Vinci Code."
In November, the Vatican's publishing house announced that it signed an agreement with Italian publisher Rizzoli for the worldwide rights to Benedict's book. Rizzoli then reached a deal with Doubleday for North America, reported the Associated Press.
The Vatican also noted that Doubleday had always published the most important documents of the U.S. bishops, before the bishops established their own publishing house.
Benedict has said the book is a personal work about Jesus that is meant for general Catholic readers.
In the preface to the Italian translation, Benedict said the book is "absolutely not an act" of Church authority and "therefore, everyone is free to contradict me."