Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI 

German and Austrian bishops mourning Benedict XVI’s loss

In a message the German Bishops' Conference says the Pope Emeritus’ pontificate and his many years of episcopal work “will be remembered vividly”.

By Lisa Zengarini

“The German Bishops' Conference mourn the Holy Father  and will remember him in prayer”, reads a statement issued by the body of the German bishops  (DBK) soon after the news of his death on Saturday morning.

A great loss for the Church in Germany

The statement says the death of Benedict XVI  “is a great loss” for the Church in Germany, where the late Pontiff was born, taught theology, worked as a priest and had been a member of the DBK before been called to the Vatican in 1981.

A scholar, pastor, philanthropist and a man of prayer

“His pontificate and his many years of episcopal work will be remembered vividly”, says the statement which was  followed by an obituary by the president of the DBK, Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg. The long message highlights five traits of the late Pontiff: Benedict XVI, he says, was a passionate scholar and teacher of theology; a convinced and persuasive pastor of the Church;  a pilgrim, a philanthropist and a man of prayer, he says .

The gratitude of the Austrian bishops

For their part, the Austrian bishops while expressing “deep condolences, and sadness”, also convey their “great gratitude for the many years in which Benedict XVI had worked in this world and in the Church".

The late Emeritus was a “believing theologian with a deep and fine sense of truth,” reads a message signed by the President of the Austrian bishops’ Conference (OBK) Archbishop Franz Lackner of Salzburg.

His legacy is "love for the Church and for its teachings".  Many of the things Benedict  wrote and said “will probably still have to be understood”, but he always made an effort to "protect and preserve the faith of simple believers", showing great "simplicity in meetings", and a "sense of humour", Archbishop Lackner remarks.

He also loved "surprises", recalls the Archbishop of Salzburg, referring to Benedict XVI’s  resignation in 2013, a move that  wasn’t fully understood at first, but which in fact transformed the Petrine ministry "in an unimaginable way".

“Now he can experience the friendship of Jesus which he proclaimed in abundance”, the message concludes.

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31 December 2022, 14:18