‘The Two Popes’ movie is better than the new ‘three popes’ book

The motion picture is improved than the e book.

Netflix’s “The Two Popes” is a experience-very good fictional assessment of the disparate personalities of Pope Francis and his speedy predecessor, the retired bishop of Rome.

Now there is a “three pope” ebook that attempts to pit Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah in opposition to Francis.

From the Depths of Our Hearts, presented as coauthored by Benedict and Sarah, contains a reasonable essay by Benedict and a polemic by Sarah. The essays are surrounded by introductory and concluding remarks supposedly coauthored by the two but much more likely published by Nicolas Diat, an editor at the French publishing property Fayard.


Diat, connected in numerous approaches with the anti-Francis cohort including Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, and U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, has collaborated with Sarah in the previous to develop textbooks beautiful to those people completely opposed to anything at all Francis has done or probably may possibly do. Sarah is without doubt Diat’s candidate for the papacy.

It is a shame and it is really a sham. Benedict’s 35-web site essay, which might far better have been attributed to Joseph Ratzinger, is a dense reflection on his individual devotion to celibate priesthood. It is, in its own way, instead lovely. He writes, from retirement, that celibacy was both equally incompatible with marriage and a indicates of escaping narcissism: “To enter the clergy means to renounce a self-centered life and to take God by yourself as the help and promise of one’s possess everyday living.” But, in contrast to Sarah, Benedict does not deny the teachings of the 2nd Vatican Council: celibacy “is not demanded by the really mother nature of the priesthood” (Presbyterorum Ordinus, 1965).

Nevertheless, Benedict’s erudition fades as Sarah’s web pages arrive into view, presenting the serious motive for the e-book. The Amazon synod requested for the ordinations of married males and reported a couple of matters about ladies in ministry and, horror of horrors, even mentioned ladies deacons.

So, Sarah and Co. appear to have manipulated wheelchair-bound Benedict into standing up against Francis. It’s just not fair. Benedict is an honest theologian, not a polemicist. For him to be manipulated into cooperating in an anti-Francis screed is beyond outrageous. It is elder abuse.

The Sarah essay is disturbing. In it, the curial cardinal attacks the synod’s strategies about evangelization. He discredits a married priesthood and pointedly dismisses the most interesting strategies for women’s ministry: their installation as lectors and acolytes and their ordinations as deacons.

Sarah offers the latest fiction as actuality, that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994) about women of all ages priests includes prohibition of females deacons. He writes: “debates about celibacy naturally give rise to queries about the likelihood of girls staying ordained as monks or deacons. This query, nonetheless, was settled definitively by Saint John Paul II.” What query? Deacons are not monks.

Further, Sarah appears to obtain in other individuals what he plainly participates in himself: “Nowadays cleverly orchestrated media campaigns are calling for the woman diaconate.” His restricted presentation of the centurieslong custom of females deacons rails versus documented heritage. He denies that women deacons were being ordained, that they served in liturgies, and that their ministries extended outside of anointing women in baptism. In short, he recites the litany of misinformation the far right is so fond of, all diligently discredited by intensive scholarship.

Unfortunately, Sarah will acquire a following. The screed-writing cardinal is twinned with the erudite retired pope on the protect — Ignatius Push evidently is sustaining the expressly denied coauthorship in its English-language edition — therefore lowering Benedict whilst elevating Sarah. Numerous conservative forces have previously sent bulk orders of Sarah’s earlier publications to Africa, and no doubt this entry is now on its way.

Two matters: Initially, Ratzinger quite competently wrote, in 1997, that celibacy is not dogma second, Ratzinger as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Religion, then as pope, had ample option to rule towards restoring the historic tradition of ordained ladies deacons. From 1982 to 2013 he did neither. We will need to shell out notice to the facts.

[Phyllis Zagano is senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. She will speak Feb. 21-22, 2020, at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, California and February 28, 2020 at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Her books include Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future (in Spanish as Mujeres Diaconos: Pasaso, Presente, Futuro), published in France and Canada as Des femmes diacres and in Portugal as Mulheres diáconos: Passado, presente, futuro. Study Guides are available for free download at https://sites.hofstra.edu/phyllis-zagano/.]

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