On the 31st of December 2022, the world lost an extraordinary human, Pope emeritus Benedict. His final words “Lord, I love you.”, will be remembered by all. His funeral will take place on the 5th of Jan, 9:30 am Rome time, held in St Peter’s Square, and will be presided over by Pope Francis. He will be buried in his vestments that he wore in 2008 for World Youth Day, celebrated in Sydney.
“Fellow Worker in the Truth” – Benedict XVI’s Episcopal motto.
Pope Benedict XVI, formally Joseph Ratzinger, was born in Germany in 1927. At only 12 years old, he entered the seminary. A few years later, by law, he joined the Hitler Youth and was then drafted into the German Military at age 16. After the war, he continued his education in the seminary and was ordained a priest at age 24 in 1951.
After being ordained, he completed his doctorate degree in theology with his thesis titled “The People and House of God in St. Augustine’s Doctrine of the Church’. A few years later, he became a qualified university professor who was teaching dogma and fundamental theology, whose teaching career spanned over a decade. From 1962-1965 he acted as a theological adviser for Cardinal Joseph Frings during the Second Vatican Council. He was then named professor of dogmatic theology and the history of dogma at the University of Regensburg, co-founded the theological journal Communio, was named archbishop of Munich and Freising, was consecrated as a Bishop, became a cardinal in a consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica, was appointed to serve as the prefect for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and moved to Italy to join the Roman Curia.
Following his move to Italy, he resigned as archbishop of Munich and Freising and served as president for the Biblical Commission and the Pontifical International Theological Commission. He also served as president of the Commission for Drafting the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He later became the dean of the College of Cardinals and was then elected the 265th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, which is where he took the name, Benedict XVI.
During his reign as Pope, he promulgated the encyclical ‘Deus Caritas Est’, visited the Auschwitz concentration camp, had his book ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ published, promulgated ‘Summorum Pontificum’, published the encyclical ‘Spe Salvi’ met with sex abuse victims in the US, opened the Church’s Year of St. Paul at the Basilica, and visited Australia for World Youth Day in Sydney, 2008.
Post World Youth Day, he opened the Synod of Bishops in October of 2008, launched a YouTube channel for the Vatican, visited the Holy Land, promulgated the encyclical ‘Caritas in Veritate’, venerated the Holy Shroud in Turin, presided over the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman and Pope John Paul II, attended World Youth Day Spain, named over 20 new cardinals, proclaimed St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen doctors of the Church, canonized new saints, and was the first pope to post on Twitter, all before announcing his retirement as Pope in 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI was the first Pope in over 600 years to step down. His final words as pope were “I’m simply a pilgrim who is starting the last stage of his pilgrimage on Earth.” He moved back to the Vatican City state into the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, where he continued to live for the rest of his life.
We are confident to say Pope Benedict XVI has positively impacted the world, as well as the Roman Catholic Church. Not only was he an advocate for Catholicism, but also for victims of abuse, the less fortunate, and outcasts.
We pray that Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is resting in peace with his creator.