Pope Francis led tributes to his predecessor on Saturday following the death of the Pope’s Emeritus Benedict XVI died in a monastery in the Vatican at 95 years old.
“We are moved as we recall him as such a noble person, so kind and we feel such gratitude in our hearts, gratitude to god for giving him to the church, and to the world,” Francis stated at Saint Peter’s Basilica while leading the traditional vespers service prior to New Year’s Day.
“Gratitude for the great work that he achieved and most importantly for his example that of prayer, faith particularly in the final days of his existence. Only God recognizes the importance of his sacrifices to the benefit for the Church,” Francis added.
Benedict The first pontiff in over 600 years to leave his post rather than remain in office for the rest of his life was buried on Saturday, as per a statement issued by the Vatican.
“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni said.
Francis was able to meet the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI soon after he died on Saturday morning, as per Bruni.
Funeral services for The Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be held on Thursday at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City at 9:30 a.m. local time, Bruni said. It will be conducted by Pope Francis.
The body of the former pope will be laid to rest in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican beginning on Monday, for the faithful to say farewell, Vatican News reported. According to the wishes of Pope Emeritus his funeral is expected to take place “simple,” Bruni said.
The death announcement of Benedict came only a few days following Pope Francis requested the people to pray to him noting that Benedict is “very sick.”
His health was at a low point for a long time.
Benedict shocked the Catholic faithful as well as religious experts across the globe on the 11th of February in the announcement that he was planning to retire from his role as Pope and cited the fact that he is “advanced age.”
In his farewell speech the former pope vowed to remain “hidden” from the world however, he continued to publicly discuss religious issues during the time following his retirement, which led to the tensions in of the Catholic Church.
A strong and powerful voice
Benedict was a powerful figure within the Catholic Church for a long time. The name of his birthplace was Joseph Ratzinger in Germany in 1927 and was the child of an officer. He was ordained priest in 1951. He was elected a cardinal in 1977, and then was the chief theological advisor for Pope John Paul II.
One of his most important moves was in 1981 when he was appointed to take the helm of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith which is the Vatican office responsible for “the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world,” according to the Vatican.
Ratzinger was known by the name of “Cardinal No” stemming from his efforts to crackdown against the movement for liberation and religious pluralism, as well as criticism of traditional beliefs regarding homosexuality, as well as calls to confirm women priests.
The pope was elected in April of 2005, following John Paul II’s death.
He was also known as being more conservative than the successor Pope Francis who has taken steps to relax the church’s position regarding homosexuality and abortion and has also done more to address the sexual assault crisis which has gripped this church over the past few years , and tainted Benedict’s legacy.
In April of 2019, Benedict discussed the sex abuse crisis in a written letter, in which he claimed that the crisis was partly a result of the sexual revolution of the 1960s , as well as the modernization of the moral teachings of the church.
In January of 2020, Benedict was required to withdraw from a book that was widely regarded as an attempt to undermine Francis when he was contemplating his decision to permit married men to be priests in specific circumstances. In the book “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” was a defense in support of the centuries-old practice of priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church. Benedict was initially listed as co-author, but it was later clarified that he only contributed one portion of the text.
The next year, Benedict came under fire during his time in the archbishopate of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982, in the wake of the release of a Church-commissioned study about abuse perpetrated by Catholic clergy in that area.
The report revealed that in his post, Benedict was informed of four instances of minors being sexually abused which included two cases that taken place during his time as a president – but had didn’t take any action. It also revealed that Benedict was present at a meeting concerning an abuser who was identified as Priest X. After the publication of the report, Benedict pushed back against claims that he was aware in the year 1980 that this priest was a sexy abuser.
In a statement released from the Vatican amid the controversy, Benedict wrote that he was “of good cheer” as confronted “the final judge of my life,” despite his failings. In addition, he issued an general apology to victims of abuse.
“Giant of faith and reason’
Global leaders paid tribute to the pope of the past, in the wake of his death. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the head of the Church of England, said that he is “mourning” the former pope.
“Pope Benedict was one of the greatest theologians of his age – committed to the faith of the Church and stalwart in its defence,” Welby declared in a statement on Saturday.
“In everything including his writings and sermons the preacher looked to Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God. It was evident it was Christ was the genesis of his thinking and the reason for his prayer.
“In 2013, Pope Benedict took the bold and humble decision to step down from the papacy. He was the first Pope to do this since the 15th century. By making the decision in a free manner, he acknowledged human weakness which affects all of us,” he added.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said he will remember the pope’s former papacy in “love and gratitude.”
“Saddened to learn of the demise of His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” European Parliament President Roberta Metsola tweeted on Saturday.
“Europe mourns for him. We pray that he rests peacefully.”
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill on Saturday said to Pope Francis that he received the news about Benedict’s death and expressed “sorrow,” according to the statement posted via the official site of the Moscow Patriarchate.
“His Holiness’s many years of life marked a whole epoch in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, which he led in a difficult historical period, associated with many external and internal challenges,” Kirill stated of Benedict.
Kirill said his views that relations between Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church had “developed significantly” during the time of Benedict’s administration as a way to “overcome the sometimes-painful legacy of the past.”
“On behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church, I express my condolences to you and the flock of the Roman Catholic Church,” the priest continued.
The Dalai Lama on Sunday offered his condolences to members from the Catholic Church following the death of Benedict.
“I pray for our spiritual brother,” he wrote, “and offer my condolences to the members of the Catholic Church.”
“At a time when we are seeing tension in several parts of the world, we can take a lesson from the life of Pope Benedict and do what we can to contribute to religious harmony and global peace.”
US American President Joe Biden said the late pontiff “will be remembered as a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and faith.”
Biden who is his second Catholic to hold the office of the president of the United States, reflected on his visit in 2011 with Benedict on Benedict’s Vatican in 2011, stating that he was reminded of “his generosity and welcome as well as our meaningful conversation.”
“As he remarked during his 2008 visit to the White House, ‘the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity.’ May his focus on the ministry of charity continue to be an inspiration to us all,” Biden said.
British Premier Minister Rishi Sunak paid respects to. “I am saddened to learn of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” Sunak tweeted on Saturday.
“He was a fantastic theologian who’s UK trip in the year 2010 marked a landmark occasion for Catholics and non-Catholics in the United Kingdom.
The new Italian PM Giorgia Meloni expressed her admiration of the pope who was a former pontiff. “Benedict He was an exemplary great believer and rationality. He put his life in to the use of world Church and was able to speak, and continues to speak to minds and hearts of people by expressing the spiritual, intellectual and intellectual profundity of his Magisterium.” she tweeted on Saturday.
Russian president Vladimir Putin, who is in charge of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine The previous pope “a staunch defender of traditional Christian values.”