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Author’s questions to Pope are revealed

By on Monday, 1 November 2010

Author’s questions to Pope are revealed

Pope Benedict has been asked whether he had ever considered resigning and if there should be a Third Vatican Council, in a new book due out this month.

The German journalist Peter Seewald asked the Pope a controversial set of questions over a week-long series of interviews during the summer for a new book entitled Light of the World, The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times.

Mr Seewald asked the Holy Father questions about clerical abuse crisis, whether the Pope had ever considered resigning and whether the Church should rethink its teaching on celibacy, contraception, women priests and same-sex relationships.

He also asked whether divorced and remarried couples should be a allowed to receive communion, if there was a schism in the Church and whether there was any hope for Christian unity.

A list of Mr Seewald’s questions was published on the Ignatius Press blog yesterday.

Mr Seewald has already published two best-selling books of interviews with the Pope when he was still Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Salt of the Earth and God and the World.

The book will appear on November 24. The English-language edition is being published in Britain and Ireland by the Catholic Truth Society, and in the rest of the world by Ignatius Press. It will be published in eight languages and will be accompanied by a big launch at the Vatican. The foreword to the English edition was written by George Weigel, who wrote a biography of Pope John Paul II. The hard back will cost £14.99.

Speaking at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Mr Seewald said: “The book is in fact a small sensation or a big sensation. It is the first time that a Pope gives an account of himself in this form. It is the first personal interview with a Pope in the Church’s history.

“The events in the news around the abuse scandals and the wider situation of the Church naturally give this conversation an incredible explosiveness and I can only already reveal to you now that you are expecting a very exciting, very extensive book.

“It will also upset certain people in the Church, functionaries who are properly taken to task and many people also will be pleased to experience Josef Ratzinger’s view of things, first hand in his original tone. He did not reject any of my questions. He answered all the critical questions and answered them openly and unvarnished.”

Vittorio Messori, an Italian journalist, wrote and edited Crossing the Threshold of Hope, a book length interview with Pope John Paul II.It was the first book-length interview of a Pope. Mr Messori submitted a list of questions to Pope John Paul II for a televised interview, which never took place. The Pope was intrigued and scribbled down answers.

  • Ratbag

    I can't wait to read it. I have many books about 20th Century popes on my bookcase, including a copy of 'Crossing The Threshold of Hope' featuring our late, beloved Pope John Paul II . I'm really looking forward to giving Pope Benedict's latest book pride of place once I've finished reading it…and re-reading it.

    It just goes to show what an 'open book' our sweet, beloved Holy Father is – and that's one of the many reasons why I love him so much!

    I hope it will silence the critics!

  • Ratbag

    … sorry! It should read 'IN my bookcase' not 'ON'

    I sit down corrected.

  • Gordon

    These are very good questions that Seewald asked. The horrendous sex abuse of so many priests cries out for an end to celibacy. The lack of understanding and empathy on the part of the Church when it comes to not allowing the divorced and remarried to receive communion along with fellow catholics is nothing short of sinful and hurtful, it makes me sad.

    The other very human issues must also be addressed. While contraception for many years in the minds of the large majority of the faithful hasn't really been an issue and they use it- at the same time it should be stated clearly by Rome as an issue being left up to the couples. During the early 70's this was pretty well declared as such by the pope and qualified by many bishops around the world including Canada's bishops as a conscience decision of the couples.

    We now know that homosexuality is a orientation from birth and therefore a gift from God that should be recognized by our church.

    Vatican 111 is long overdo, mostly because the present reactionary Church under the leadership of Pope Benedict has not followed most of the documents of Vatican 11.

    I believe it would truly be a blessing and progressive step if the present pope did resign. Clearly it is time for new thinking and new blood…. blessings… Gord

  • James H

    If married clergy, acceptance of buggery and tolerance of divorce, contraception and so on was the way forward, the Anglican church would not be falling apart at the seams.

    You don't need new thinking on truths which haven't changed.

  • Auricularis

    You are a complete joke if you think a Vatican III is the way forward. The church is still recovering from Vatican II and that's painfully slow.