A bit of light, holiday reading: Benedict XVI responds by letter, to an Atheist.

Exclusive to the Register, we publish below the first English translation of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s letter to the militant Italian atheist, Piergiorgio Odifreddi.

In September, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica printed extracts of the letter whose full contents were published in Italian on Nov. 23 by the German-language agency Kath.net.

The Pope Emeritus sent the letter in response to a book Odifreddi wrote in 2011 entitled Dear Pope, I’m Writing to You. The work was a critique of certain arguments and lines of thought found in Benedict’s theological writings, beginning with his 1967 volume Introduction to Christianity, and including his book Jesus of Nazareth, which he wrote as pope.

Full text

Doctor provides frank answers to questions about his abortion practice

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“Abortion is an issue to me that – scientifically, ethically, politically, legally – in my heart of hearts I favor legal, properly-performed abortions. Anybody who demonstrates against us, in my experience – and it’s always tied to some religious organization – to me, they are no different than Osama bin Laden and his creed. Because you cannot talk to them, their minds are closed, they think that God talks to them, which in my point of view is psychotic.”

“I feel sorry for them, for all who walk down that road of brainwashing, but you know, some people are just susceptible to brainwashing. But despite that, no religious terrorism will stop me from doing what I think is the scientifically right thing to do.”

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