A new book by former Pope Benedict released Monday (January 13) appears to oppose changes to the rules on celibacy being debated within the Roman Catholic Church, and coincides with an announcement by current pontiff Pope Francis set to be made on the same day.
Benedict, who still lives in the Vatican and is failing health, has defended priestly celibacy in the book written jointly with a conservative cardinal in what appears to be a strategically timed appeal to Pope Francis to keep a hard line.
Benedict wrote the book, "From the Depths of Our Hearts," with Cardinal Robert Sarah.
Excerpts were published on Sunday (January 12) on the website of the French newspaper Le Figaro, where Benedict says it doesn't seem possible to realize the vocations of priesthood and marriage simultaneously.
Pope Francis has been considering relaxing the rules, which would bring about a landmark change in the Church's centuries-old stance on celibacy.
In 2013 Benedict became the first pope in 700 years to resign, but has often been outspoken about some of Francis' less conservative positions.
The Vatican had no immediate comment on the book prior to its Monday release.