The cardinal who co-wrote a book in support of priestly celibacy with the retired Pope said that the name of Benedict XVI will be removed from future editions.
Some saw Benedict’s apparent intervention as a challenge to his successor, Pope Francis.
According to reports, Pope Benedict, who is 92 years old, could not keep silent.
Francis is considering whether to loosen the rules for married men in the Amazon region.
Cardinal Robert Sarah tweeted (in French) that in light of the controversy caused by the publication, it was decided that in the future the nominated author would be himself, with the contribution of Benedict XVI. The text would remain completely unchanged, he said.
Pope Benedict’s private secretary said he had asked Cardinal Sarah to request the changes.
The cardinal dismissed the allegations that he had taken advantage of the fragile former pontiff, saying that Benedict knew that the project would take the form of a book.
Pope Benedict still lives within the walls of the Vatican in a former monastery.
A conservative theologian with traditional ideas about Catholic values, he pledged to remain “hidden from the world” when he retired citing ill health.
- Why did Pope Benedict XVI resign?
But he has since made his views known in articles, books and interviews, supporting a different approach to Pope Francis, who is seen as more progressive.
What is the proposed change?
In October, Catholic bishops from around the world gathered for a meeting, known as the synod, to discuss the future of the Church in the Amazon.
At the end of that meeting, a document was released that detailed Church issues. In it, there was a suggestion that in remote parts of the Amazon, old and married men needed to be ordained.
The South American bishops supported him in an attempt to address the shortage of priests in the region.
Pope Francis will consider it, along with many other proposals, including the environment and the role of women in the Church. He is expected to make a decision in the coming months.
There are already some exceptions, such as priests in the Eastern Catholic Churches and Anglican priests who convert.
Why is it controversial?
Priestly celibacy was introduced about 900 years ago and before then the clergy had often married.
It is not explicitly required by the Bible, but it is a discipline required by the Church.
For many, celibacy is a fundamental part of being a Catholic priest, one who should devote himself to the Church and not be distracted by what some consider worldly concerns such as a wife or family.
For traditionalists, this is the direction in which Pope Francis is taking the Church.
Some critics consider the idea of allowing priests married in the Amazon as an excuse to abolish celibacy as a requirement altogether.