Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI: 1927-2022

Pope Benedict XVI, March 2009. BBC News (December 31, 2022)
Pope Benedict XVI, March 2009. (BBC News)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died this morning — Saturday, December 31, 2022.

His death is international news, but I don’t have much to say at the moment.

Headlines included the all-too-predictable political spins and ‘hidden meanings.’

And, happily, I saw the following articles: one from BBC News, the other from Vatican News; both giving a pretty good overview of our former pope.

“A Great Intellectual and Scholar”

Former Pope Benedict XVI dies at 95
Emily McGarvey, BBC News (December 31, 2022)

“…Following news of the former pope’s death people began gathering in St Peter’s Square in Rome.

“Annamaria, 65, and Patrizia, 64, visiting from the northern Italian city of Bologna, said they went there immediately as soon as they heard about the death.

“‘We came here to pray. He was a great pontiff, certainly very different from Francis, he was a great intellectual and scholar. Like the rest of the Church we will always remember him,’ Annamaria told the BBC….”

Crisis, Controversy and Responsibility

Benedict XVI and the Eucharist. (December 31, 2022)
“The late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI before the Eucharist” (Vatican News)

‘God is love’: The key to Benedict’s pontificate
Vatican News (December 31, 2022)

“…As a young man, already esteemed as a theologian, Ratzinger had followed the council sessions as the peritus of Cardinal Frings of Cologne, leaning toward the reformist wing….

“…According to the young theologian, the texts ‘should respond to the most pressing questions and should do so, as far as possible, not judging or condemning, but using maternal language.’ Ratzinger favoured the foreseen liturgical reform and the reasons for its providential inevitability. He would say that to retrieve the true nature of the liturgy, it was necessary that the ‘Latin wall be demolished.’…

“…But the future Benedict XVI was also a direct witness of the post-conciliar crisis, of the controversies in the universities and theological faculties. He witnessed the questioning of essential truths of the faith and unchecked experimentation with the liturgy. Already in 1966, just a year after the Council ended, he would say that he saw a ‘low-cost Christianity’ in the offing….

“…2006 was also the year of the ‘Regensburg affair’. In giving a discourse at the university where he had taught, the Pontiff cited a historical source, without appropriating it as his own, that ended up sparking protests in the Muslim world due to how his remarks were exploited or taken out of context in the media. From then on, the Pope multiplied signs of attention toward Muslims….

“…In January 2009, the Pope decided to revoke the excommunication of four bishops illicitly ordained by Bishop Marcel Lefebvre, among whom was Richard Williamson, who denied the existence of the gas chambers. Controversy then exploded in the Jewish world, leading the Pope to take up pen and paper and, writing to all the world’s bishops, assuming full responsibility….”

Vatican News has, understandably, been giving quite a bit of attention to Benedict XVI’s life and death:

Two Millennia and Counting

Dnalor 01's photo: Cathedra Petri, Chair of Peter or Throne of Peter; in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City; by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1657-1666). (May 15, 2005) via Wikimedia Commons, released under license CC-BY-SA 3.0, used w/o permission.We’ve been blessed with good Popes lately: including Saints Pius X, John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II. And, as one of my daughters said, we’ve needed them.

Time for me to wrap this up.

Popes come and go. The Church continues, and has for two millennia and counting.

Every half-millennium, roughly, so far, we’ve hit rough patches. I’ve talked about that before. Among other things:

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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