Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a German theologian, known for his efforts to revitalize Christianity in a secularized Europe, passed away on Saturday at 95.
Benedict made history as the first pontiff in over six centuries to step down from the papacy. He will be remembered for his shy demeanor and dedication to the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI’s Resignation and Legacy
In a shocking move, Pope Benedict announced on February 11, 2013 that he no longer had the strength to lead the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church, which he navigated through scandal and apathy for eight years.
His decision led to the conclave that chose Pope Francis as his successor. The two popes made history by living alongside each other in the Vatican gardens, setting a precedent for future “popes emeritus” to follow.
BREAKING NEWS. Former Pope Benedict has died – spokesman
Former Pope Benedict died on Saturday in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican, a spokesman for the Holy See said. https://t.co/Ux1JILT3FM pic.twitter.com/qD6gM4mCqt
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) December 31, 2022
Pope Francis will give the funeral Mass for Pope Benedict on Thursday, marking the first time in modern history that a current pope has eulogized a retired one.
Pope Francis has praised the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for his kindness and faith, expressing his gratitude for Benedict’s devotion to prayer in his retirement years.
The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger never aspired to be pope and had intended to spend his final years writing in the tranquility of his native Bavaria at the age of 78.
However, he ended up following in the footsteps of the esteemed St. John Paul II and leading the Church through the aftermath of the clerical sexual abuse scandal and a second scandal involving the theft of his personal papers by his own butler.
Ratzinger famously remarked that being elected pope felt like a “guillotine” had descended upon him.
Pope Benedict XVI: Reviving Faith and Embracing Tradition
Despite initial reservations, Pope Benedict XVI dedicated himself to reigniting faith in a world that seemed to have lost touch with the divine.
There is a pervasive sense of spiritual detachment in many parts of the globe, he told a crowd of one million young people at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, during his first foreign trip as pope in 2005.
Pope Benedict added that it’s as if the world could go on without any reference to the divine. Reawakening Christianity in secularized Europe was a central focus of his papacy.
Pope Benedict XVI, known for his quiet, pensive nature and his dedication to tradition and theology, made several decisive and often controversial moves during his papacy in an effort to remind Europe of its Christian heritage.
Farewell Pope Emeritus, Pope Benedict XVI. Over the years, Pope Benedict remained a real shepherd of God's people. He left indelible historical marks. His service to God and to humanity as a Priest, Archbishop, Cardinal and Pope bore eloquent witness to his genuine love for God pic.twitter.com/j5V6SMB5qH
— Peter Obi (@PeterObi) December 31, 2022
He allowed for the celebration of the Old Latin Mass and launched a crackdown on American nuns in an attempt to ensure the Church remained true to its doctrine and traditions.
Despite his retirement, Benedict remained a beacon of nostalgia for traditionalists, who preferred his more traditional approach.This article appeared in Right Wing Insider and has been published here with permission.