On the eve of the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’s election, Benedict XVI dismissed those who contrast his pontificate with Pope Francis. Benedict said that he is not a mere theologian, nor is Francis only a pastor.

In a letter sent to Mgr Dario Viganò, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication, Benedict applauded the publication of a new book series entitled, The Theology of Pope Francis.

“It contradicts the foolish prejudice of those who see Pope Francis as someone who lacks a particular theological and philosophical formation, while I would have been considered solely a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete lives of today’s Christian,” the retired pope wrote.

Mgr Viganò read the letter during a presentation of the 11-volume series on Monday.

Before reading the letter, Mgr Viganò said he sent a message to Pope Francis and Benedict XVI regarding the publication of the book series.

He asked if Benedict would be “willing to write a page or a page and a half of dense theology in his clear and punctual style that [I] would have liked to read this evening”.

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