Retired Pope Benedict XVI passed away Dec. 31. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a reflection on the pope emeritus.
Archbishop Broglio’s full reflection follows:
“The passing from this life of Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, sounds contrasting notes of sorrow and gratitude in my heart.
“The Church gives thanks for the treasured ministry of Pope Benedict XVI. A superb theologian who lent his talents as a peritus at the Second Vatican Council, he continued throughout his long life to be an effective teacher of the faith. As a priest, university professor and theologian, archbishop and cardinal, his voice in deepening an authentic understanding led all of us to a more profound love of truth and the mystery of God. It will take many years for us to delve more deeply into the wealth of learning that he has left us.
“Personally, I remember many meetings with him while I served in the secretariat of state, and I will never forget his greeting to me at the first general audience I attended some weeks after his election to the Chair of Peter. ‘Ci conosciamo’ (we know each other) were his warm words of welcome as he took my hand between his.
“We all remember how he shocked the world in 2013 by announcing his plan to resign from his responsibilities as the bishop of Rome, and in doing so, he continued his teaching about courage, humility and love for the Church. He recognized the great demands made of him as the chief shepherd of the Universal Church of a billion Catholics worldwide, and his physical limitations for such a monumental task. Even in retirement, retreating to live out a life in quiet prayer and study, he continued to teach us how to be a true disciple of Christ, while still contributing to his legacy.
“Generations will continue to be enriched by his books, discourses and homilies. They all reveal a depth of learning and reflection that is essential both in our time and in the future.
“While we grieve that he is no longer with us here, I join Catholics everywhere in offering my profound gratitude to the Lord for the gift of Pope Benedict XVI and his ministry. Together we beg our Lord to grant him eternal rest.”