Vatican City, Jan 12, 2020 / 16:44 pm
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, have co-authored a book on the crisis in the Church and on priestly ministry.
"From the Depths of Our Hearts" will be published in English by Ignatius Press. It can now be preordered, and it is due to ship Feb. 20.
The work “is not just about priestly celibacy, important as that is in itself,” Fr. Joseph Fessio, founder and editor of Ignatius Press, said. “It is about, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI 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.”
According to Ignatius Press, Benedict and Cardinal Sarah “honestly address the spiritual challenges faced by priests today, including struggles of celibacy,” and “point to deeper conversion to Jesus Christ as the key to faithful and fruitful priestly ministry and church reform.”
Benedict and Cardinal Sarah write that “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 is meant to be a message of hope, and an explanation of the biblical and spiritual importance of priestly celibacy, which they call more than “a mere precept of ecclesiastical law.”
According to Ignatius Press, the authors “insist that renewal of the Church is bound to a renewed understanding of priestly vocation as sharing in Jesus’ priestly identity as Bridegroom of the Church,” and “they affirm that optional celibacy for priests is not actually optional for an authentic priesthood.”
The publisher added that the book is in part a response “to calls for refashioning the priesthood, including proposals from the Amazonian Synod.”