Vatican tamps down clamor over Benedict's new celibacy book

VATICAN CITY (AP) The Vatican is seeking to downplay the decision by retired Pope Benedict XVI to reaffirm the “necessity” of a celibate priesthood at a time when Pope Francis is considering ordaining married men.

The Vatican’s editorial director penned an editorial that sought to put Benedict’s bombshell book in the context of a continuity between the two popes.

He called Benedict's book a mere contribution that was written in full obedience to Francis, and noted that Francis, too, has upheld the “gift” of priestly celibacy.

Benedict’s intervention is extraordinary, given he promised to remain “hidden from the world” when he retired in 2013, and pledged his obedience to the new pope.