Q&A published by Publishers Weekly, March 12, 2013  

Why Priests?Historian Garry Wills’ latest book, Why Priests? A Failed Tradition (Viking), came out with impeccable timing, on February 12—a day after Pope Benedict announced his resignation. Once a Jesuit seminarian, the prolific scholar now argues that “the priestly monopoly on grace is a distortion,” with little historical or scriptural basis.

Why take on the priesthood, and why now?

I’ve been studying St. Augustine all my life, but more intensely recently. His view of the Eucharist made me change my attitude toward the Mass, because he denied that the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus. The body of Jesus, he said, is the body of believers. …

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