According to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, there is a profound continuity between his pontificate and that of Pope Francis, granted a difference in style and in theological language.
Do we need a "hermeneutic of continuity" rather than the "hermeneutic of rupture" that is a fashion for some?
UPDATE: The full text of Pope Benedict's letter is now available. My source here, with the original Italian source here.
Thank you for your kind letter of 12 January and the attached gift of the eleven small volumes edited by Roberto Repole.
I applaud this initiative that wants to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice in which Pope Francis is just a practical man without particular theological or philosophical formation, while I have been only a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete life of a Christian today.
The small volumes show, rightly, that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation, and they therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, despite all the differences of style and temperament.
However, I don’t feel like writing a short and dense theological passage on them because throughout my life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books I had read really well. Unfortunately, if only for physical reasons, I am unable to read the eleven volumes in the near future, especially as other commitments await me that I have already made.
I am sure you will understand and cordially greet you.If we read it for what it actually says, rather than reading into it what we might want to read into it (that really is the way to create "fake news"), the suggestion by Pope Benedict of an "inner continuity" between his pontificate and that of Pope Francis remains perfectly intact. If Vatican News might be fairly criticised (and I don't altogether accept that they can) for omitting reference to the fourth paragraph, then those who would use that paragraph to undermine the insistence on continuity are equally guilty of selective quotation to suit a purpose.