“The priesthood is going through a dark time”, according to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Robert Cardinal Sarah. “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.”
In this book, the pope emeritus and the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments give their brother priests, and the whole Church, a message of hope. They honestly address the spiritual challenges faced by priests today, while pointing to deeper conversion to Jesus Christ as the key to faithful and fruitful priestly ministry and genuine reform.
Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah “fraternally offer these reflections to the people of God and, of course, in a spirit of filial obedience, to Pope Francis”, who has said, “I think that celibacy is a gift for the Church. . . . I don’t agree with allowing optional celibacy, no.”
Responding to calls for refashioning the priesthood, including proposals from participants in the Amazonian Synod, two wise, spiritually astute pastors explain the importance of priestly celibacy for the good of the whole Church. Drawing on Vatican II, they present celibacy as not just “a mere precept of ecclesiastical law”, but as a sharing in Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross and his identity as Bridegroom of the Church.
Cardinal Sarah’s chronology of his collaboration with Benedict XVI in writing From the Depths of Our Hearts.