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.”

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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.