Benedict XV1: Minor compared with Regensberg and Kerala inaccuracies, but astray again in new book
Wednesday April 17 2007
Book shows Pope is not infallible
Agencies in Rome
Pope Benedict XVI's new book sold more than 50,000 copies on its first day on sale Monday - the pontiff's 80th birthday - said the Italian publisher Rizzoli, which has decided on another printing.
In Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict's first book as pontiff, the German-born theologian offers a personal meditation on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and criticises capitalism's exploitation of the poor and the absence of God in Marxism. Rizzoli said yesterday the new edition would bring the printing to 420,000 copies. The 448-page book was published in German, Italian and Polish. An English-language edition is due on May 15 and translations are planned for 16 other languages.
Yesterday, however, Catholic bloggers took up the Pope's invitation to criticise his work by pointing out that he wrongly identifies a US theologian. In a paragraph citing books about Jesus, he identifies John Meier, a professor at Notre Dame University, Indiana, as a member of the Jesuit order of Catholic priests. Mr Meier is not a Jesuit but a priest of the New York diocese.
"The Pope is not infallible - there's a little mistake in his last book," Italian journalist Sandro Magister said in his blog Settimo Cielo (Seventh Heaven).
The Pope, who began writing the book before his election in 2005, said in the introduction that his portrayal of Jesus was his personal view and not official Roman Catholic teaching. "Therefore, everyone is free to contradict me," he wrote.