Source: Associated Press
By NICOLE WINFIELD
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis marked his fifth anniversary as pope Tuesday by receiving votes of confidence from his predecessor and current Vatican No. 2, even as surveys showed his reform-minded papacy was turning off some of the most faithful, church-going Catholics.
First out of the gate to give him thumbs-up was Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, whose historic resignation paved the way for Francis’ election on March 13, 2013.
In a letter released on the eve of Francis’ anniversary, Benedict publicly dismissed as “foolish prejudice” the opinions of critics who say Francis has no theological heft and represents a rupture from Benedict’s papacy.
Benedict said a new Vatican-curated volume of books on Francis’ theology “shows Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological training and helps to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, with all the differences in style and temperament.”