Pope Francis, right greets Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as he arrives at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on Sept. 28, 2014. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Regarding the Sept. 3 front-page article “Some see in Benedict a symbol of opposition”:

Recent events have done little to clarify the relationship between Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate and that of Pope Francis, but in the light of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s attacks, it may be worth pointing out that in many ways they are very similar and that the relationship between the two men seems to be very close.

Both were, and no doubt still are, deeply concerned with the current pedophile crisis and have begun to act against it. There is much to be done, and what will happen next is far more important than this archbishop’s not entirely credible testimony, which is now distracting attention from what needs to be done. 

It is a mistake to distinguish between the two men according to ideology, particularly one that brands Benedict a “conservative” and Francis a “liberal.” There have been few popes in history — though Francis is certainly one of them — who have insisted upon the importance of the church’s social teaching as Benedict did throughout his papacy and in his first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est” (“God Is Love”), which we read regularly in my courses at Georgetown University that involve Catholic social teaching.

John C. Hirsh, Washington