Vatican doctors photo of Benedict's praise for Francis

Vatican doctors photo of Benedict’s praise for Francis

Vatican doctors photo of Benedict’s praise for Francis

In this photo of a letter released by Vatican Media, retired Pope Benedict XVI praises a volume of books about the theological training of Pope Francis. The Vatican admitted Thursday, March 14, 2018 that it blurred the final two lines of the letter's first page, where Benedict begins to acknowledge that he didn't read the books and doesn't have time to write a theological assessment of Francis as requested. (Credit: Vatican Media photo via AP.)

The Vatican has admitted that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis's theological background. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image.

ROME — The Vatican has admitted that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from Pope emeritus Benedict XVI about Pope Francis’s theological background. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image.

The Vatican’s communications office released the photo to mark Francis’s five-year anniversary.

In the part of the letter that is legible, Benedict said he sees clear “interior unity” between his papacy and that of his successor, Pope Francis, and described impressions to the contrary as a “foolish prejudice.”

RELATED: Pope Benedict rejects ‘foolish prejudice’ of a rupture with Francis

Brief sections of the letter were presented at a Vatican news conference on Monday to showcase “The Theology of Pope Francis,” a series of 11 books written by 11 different authors.

“I applaud this initiative,” wrote Benedict.

“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 solely a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete lives of today’s Christian.”

The Vatican admitted Thursday that it blurred the two final lines of the page where Benedict begins to explain that he didn’t read the books and cannot contribute a theological assessment of Francis as requested because he has other projects.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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