Pope Francis (L) embraces Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as he arrives at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence March 23, 2013. (Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters)
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Pope Francis's predecessor has rejected the "stupid prejudice" of conservatives who say the Argentinian is destroying the Church with liberal theology, in a strongly worded letter issued on the eve of Tuesday's fifth anniversary of his election.Last year, several dozen conservative Catholic academics and lay people issued a 25-page letter accusing Francis of heresy.Francis has been under fire for initially defending a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse and then days later doing an about-face, sending an investigator to look into the allegations.In his letter, former Pope Benedict disputed suggestions by conservatives that Francis' academic qualities were lacking, praising his successor as a "man of deep philosophical and theological formation" and praising an "interior continuity between the two pontificates".
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