Benedict XVI, tribute of the OIEC to the Pope Emeritus
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, whose renunciation in 2013 took the whole world by surprise, died on Saturday 31 December 2022 at the age of 95 in the monastery of the Vatican Gardens where he had retired.
In the homily given on the celebration of Vespers and the Te Deum on the same day, Pope Francis paid tribute to his predecessor. The Supreme Pontiff remembered with gratitude his “person so noble, so kind”.
After his death was announced, messages of condolence and affection poured in from around the world.
Pope Benedict XVI was born in Marktl am Inn, Germany, on Holy Saturday, April 16, 1927. He was baptized on the same day. The son of a policeman from a farming family and a former cook, he spent his childhood and adolescence in the small town of Traunstein, near the Austrian border. It is there that he will receive his Christian, human and cultural formation in a modest family setting. While the Second World War was in full swing in Europe, the 16-year-old Joseph Ratzinger was mobilized in an air defence unit. At the end of the war, he entered the seminary of Freising to study theology and philosophy. He continued his studies at the University of Munich and was ordained a priest on 29 June 1951.
In 1953 he obtained his doctorate in theology and four years later a master’s degree in teaching. From then on, he began a brilliant teaching career.
From 1962 to 1965, he contributed to the Second Vatican Council as an expert (he assisted Cardinal Joseph Frings, Archbishop of Cologne, as theological advisor).
In 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising. Paul VI created him cardinal on June 27, 1977.
He then became the strict guardian of the Church’s dogma for another quarter of a century in Rome at the head of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, then pope for eight years, succeeding John Paul II.
The last pope to have participated in the Second Vatican Council, he nevertheless defended a conservative line at the head of the Church.
His unexpected resignation reveals to the world a reasonable and humble pope, judging wise to pass the hand because of his declining forces. He leaves very incarnate encyclicals as “Deus caritas est”, which evokes in magnificent terms the Eros and the Agape, what brings them together and what distinguishes them.
Benedict XVI was a gentle and reserved man. His legacy is that of a demanding and sober faith, avoiding any sectarian and noisy exaltation, any easy and demagogic solution.
His body was exposed for three days at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, where thousands of faithful paid tributes. His funeral will be celebrated on Thursday, January 5, 2023, in the Basilica Square by Pope Francis. This celebration is historic since never in the history of the Church has a pope buried his predecessor.
OIEC mourns the passing of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and honours his legacy.
On his return to the Father’s house, we pray that he may rest in peace.
Secretary General of the OIEC