The Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away on Saturday, December 31, 2022, in Vatican City at age 95. Reports share that he lost a quick battle with sudden declining health.
Pope Benedict XVI, though deemed by most as a traditional, conservative leader and theologian, is known for his shocking resignation as pope within the Catholic church on February 11, 2013. The St. Louis Post-Dispath notes that Pope Benedict XVI was the first pontiff in nearly 600 years of Catholic leadership, breaking the traditional custom that the pope remain in his leadership role until his death. Nonetheless, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation at 85, claiming his age left him unable to lead the Catholic church well. While some find this piece of history apalling, even tainting, others defend Pope Benedict XVI’s leadership following his death, recalling his staunch pro-life views and willingness to share mass in the traditional common tongue:
Peter Obi, current presidential candidate of Nigeria and former Governor of Anambra State, tweets, “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.”
LifeNews.com praises Pope Benedict XVI’s conservative theology, stating, “Pope Benedict XVI has passed away. He was a strongly pro-life leader of the Catholic Church who never shied away from exposing the evil of abortion.” They further claim: “he condemned the ‘intrinsic evil’ of abortion.”
Conservative commentator and bestselling author Michael Knowles shares, “Pope Benedict XVI is responsible for permitting, after decades of suppression, the Traditional Latin Mass, which is in turn responsible for the conversion and reversion of countless young Catholics. For that act alone the man is a giant.”
Following his death, others rail at Pope Benedict XVI’s willingness to turn a blind eye to sexual assault within the Catholic church while serving as archbishop. News channel NPR recalls a German law firm finding him guilty on “failure to act” against the following sexual crimes committed under his watch (all statistics reported by the Vatican’s news agency):
- Between 1945-2019, at least 497 people were abused within the archdiocese.
- Victims between the ages of 8-14 made up 60% of all assaults.
- 247 victims were male and 182 female.
- 235 perpetrators were reported with 173 confirmed as current priests upon conviction.
Regardless of controversy, today, the Vatican News remembers Pope Benedict XVI as a “Humble worker in [the] vineyard of the Lord,” further stating, “Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has returned to the Father’s House.”
Pope Benedict XVI’s loss is felt deeply within the international Catholic church as 1.3 billion denominational believers begin to mourn.
Pope Francis will preside over the funeral, taking place in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Benedict XVI will be buried at St. Peter’s Basilica.
“Eternal Life” is life itself, real life, which can also be lived in the present age and is no longer challenged by physical death.” -Pope Benedict XVI
Photo Credit: ©RNS/AP/L’Osservatore Romano/Pool
Peyton Garland is an author and coffee shop hopper who loves helping others find beauty from ashes despite OCD, burned bridges, and perfectionism. Follow her on Instagram @peytonmgarland and check out her latest book, Tired, Hungry, & Kinda Faithful, Where Exhaustion and Exile Meet God, to discover how your cup can overflow, even in dry seasons.