On Monday, the Vatican released a photo of a letter in which retired Pope Benedict XVI praised a new series of books on the theology of Pope Francis. Chief of Communications Monsignor Dario Vigano claimed the letter silences those who claim that Francis lacks the theological depth of Benedict’s papacy.
The Vatican made the public aware of the photo just before the celebration of the fifth anniversary of Francis’s ascension to the papacy. In the letter, Benedict praised the book series and said it "helps to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, with all the differences in style and temperament." In addition, he said it exposes the “foolish prejudice” of those who believe that Pope Francis “lacks a particular theological and philosophical formation.” In their story about the revelation of the photo’s doctoring, the Associated Press said the initial photo, “suggested that Benedict had read the volume, agreed with it and given it his full endorsement and assessment.”
The Vatican explained today that the last two lines of the letter were blurred out. Those lines revealed that Benedict had not read the books and could not write an assessment of Francis’s theology because of commitments to other projects. Also, the second page of the letter is covered by a stack of books except for Benedict’s signature.
The Associated Press listed two problems with the doctoring of the photo. First, they said that they rely on the photos from the Vatican because many events are closed to outside media. Also, they explained that the doctoring of the photo violated accepted media standards. “Most independent news media, including The Associated Press, follow strict standards that forbid digital manipulation of photos.”
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Publication date: March 14, 2018