It is minus 38 or so in Edmonton, without wind chill, too cold even for the penguins in their zoo; they have multiple feet of snow in Vancouver; minus twentysomething here where I write. The glaciers are doing quite fine. But global warming, global cooling, climate change, continues, and Greta’s gettin’ angrier. Anon, on to real matters.

Did he, or didn’t he? That is, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, co-author with Robert Cardinal Sarah the new book on priestly celibacy? The former Pope’s name is on the cover, published by Ignatius Press, and the man in charge, Father Joseph Fessio, says it’s staying on there. This, despite Benedict’s secretary, Archbishop Gänswein, claiming that the Pope Emeritus had no intention of being co-author, despite contributing to much of the book. One theory is that Pope Francis, with some intention to relax the rules of celibacy, was upset at the book being published, and ordered the former Pope’s name be retracted. Yet, Pope Francis is on record stating he has no intentions of changing the universal law of celibacy in the Latin rite (the Eastern practice requires some further thought and modification, but more on that later), even quoting Pope Saint Paul VI’s dictum that ‘he would rather give his life before changing the law of celibacy’.

I suppose we may never know the whole story, as with so many things in the Vatican today. I frankly wish that people, secretaries, popes and potentates, would just cease with all this intrigue, and strive to fulfill our Lord’s exhortation to say what you mean, let your yes be yes, and your no be no. And unless there is a grave and proportionate reason to hide one’s name, anonymity should be avoided. I think Pope Emeritus thinks along these lines, for he has not been afraid to wade into controversy before; witness his 2006 Regensburg address, and his denunciation of Islam. Hence, I would suspect he minds not his name is on the cover – but others agitators in various hierarchical positions, well, their knickers may be in a bit of a twist. And so much the worse for them.

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