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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET



Pope’s Book: Cardinals, Condoms And Cold Ears

November 23, 2010 - 9:58 AM | by: Greg Burke

Pope Benedict’s new book, Light of the World, has created quite a bit of buzz. Although the book, a long interview with German journalist Peter Seewald, was released officially only today, excerpts were published over the weekend by the Vatican newspaper, the Osservatore Romano.

And although there is other news in book, the headline was all about condoms, and an apparently opening from the Catholic Church, with Benedict saying they could be morally justified in some cases. (Although he was quick to clarify that the Church does not believe condoms are the answer to the AIDS crisis.)

But condoms became the news over the weekend, completely obscuring the other event in the Vatican at the time, the creation of 24 new cardinals, including two Americans. Condoms trump cardinals any day.

The book shows a Pope who reveals a certain amount of humility, admitting, for example, that it was a mistake to lift the excommunication for a renegade bishop who was a Holocaust denier.

He also acknowledges publicly  – something both John Paul II and his handlers were loathe to do – that a pope should resign if he feels he’s not capable of carrying out his responsibilities.

On a lighter note, Benedict was asked about the significance of his wearing a fur-lined red hat very similar to a Santa Claus cap at an outdoor meeting with pilgrims in 2005. The hat, which got a lot of attention, is known as a camauro.

While the camauro had not been seen for decades, and some Vatican-watchers thought it was sign of a pope turning back the clock, Benedict said the real reason was much simpler. It was a frigid day, he told Seewald, and he wanted to keep his head warm: “I was really just trying to fight off the cold.”

And I guess a pope is not allowed to wear a ski hat unless he’s on the slopes.

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