Pope Francis Praises Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s “Goodness”

Pope Francis has vowed Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI‘s “kindness” in his first public statements since the death of the retired pope. Pope Francis thanked Benedict on Saturday for “his witness of faith and prayer, especially in these final years of his retired life.”

During a New Year’s vigil, Pope Francis said only God “knows of his sacrifices offered for the good of the Church.”

Pope Francis will celebrate Benedict’s funeral Mass on Thursday, the first time in modern times that a current pope has praised a retired pope.

Benedict, who shocked the world by stepping down from leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in 2013, has died at the age of 95. The Vatican announced his death on Saturday.

The Vatican said his body would be put on public display in St. Peter’s Basilica starting Monday for the faithful to pay their last respects. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told reporters Benedict’s request was that his funeral be celebrated solemnly but with “simplicity.”

The Vatican has only invited official delegations from Germany and Italy to Benedict’s funeral. This underscores the fact that he was no longer Pope and had asked for a simple burial.

Nothing defined his pontificate as clearly as its end and its majestic farewell flight over the Eternal City. He was the first pope in over 700 years to voluntarily resign.

Benedikt said his mental and physical strength had deteriorated “to the extent that I had to recognize my inability to carry out the service entrusted to me”.

Pope Benedict XVI, a naturally shy man, always said he had no ambitions to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. But he was elected to succeed Pope John Paul II in 2005. At 78, he assumed the role of the oldest pope in almost 30 years.

Tributes poured in from political and religious leaders from around the world on Saturday.

President Joe Biden said, “He will be remembered as a distinguished theologian with a lifelong dedication to the Church, guided by its principles and faith.”

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised him as “one of the most combative and important religious thinkers of our time”.

The British King Charles III. said he received the news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. received “with deep sadness” and he fondly recalls meeting the former pope during a visit to the Vatican in 2009.

“I also remember his constant efforts to promote peace and goodwill for all people and to strengthen the relationship between the global Anglican communion and the Roman Catholic Church,” Charles said in a message to Pope Francis on Saturday.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pope-francis-praises-pope-emeritus-benedict-xvis-kindness-dead-at-95/ Pope Francis Praises Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s “Goodness”

Rick Schindler

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