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Personal Friend of Pope to Answer Criticism of Pontiff's Controversial Statements on Latin Mass, Protestants

Contact: Terry Barber, 626-331-3549 Ext. 419, terry@saintjoe.com

WEST COVINA, Calif., July 26 /Christian Newswire/ -- On July 28, a personal friend of Pope Benedict XVI will publicly defend the Pope's recent controversial remarks in support of the traditional Mass in Latin and calling non-Catholic communities "defective" and not truly churches.

The friend, Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., wrote his dissertation under then-Cardinal Ratzinger at the University of Regensburg in 1975, and for decades was the exclusive publisher of his books in English.  He will make his remarks at the annual Catholic Family Conference in Anaheim, California.

According to Terry Barber, President of the Catholic Resource Center and the sponsor of the Conference, "Fr. Fessio will give us a clear, insight-filled explanation of what the Pope's historic Apostolic Letter authorizing wider use of the traditional Mass means for the Catholic faithful.  He'll detail how it will affect them, their parishes, and the Catholic Church in the US."

"What's more," said Barber, "Fr. Fessio will reveal what the Holy Father meant when he said Protestant communities can't be called churches 'in the proper sense,' the Orthodox church was 'defective,' and the Roman Catholic Church was the 'one true Church of Christ.'  He'll also reveal why the Pope said those things, why non-Catholics shouldn't take offense at them, and what they mean for interfaith relations."

Fr. Fessio will speak from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, at the Catholic Family Conference in the Anaheim Convention Center. 

He's a leading figure in the Catholic Church in the US and serves as Theologian in Residence at the new Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida.  He is also the founder and former President of Ignatius Press, a leading publisher of Catholic books, the St. Ignatius Institute of the University of San Francisco, and Campion College.  He holds degrees from universities in America and Europe.