ROME, Italy — Pope Francis has praised his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, after his death last Saturday, calling him a “kind” and “noble” person.
We are moved when we remember Benedict “as such a noble, kind person,” the pontiff said during the celebration of First Vespers in St. Peter’s Basilica.
“And we feel such gratitude in our hearts: gratitude to God for having given him to the Church and to the world; gratitude for all the good he has done and above all for his testimony of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his recollected life,” Francis continued.
“Only God knows the value and the power of his intercession, of the sacrifices he offered for the good of the Church,” he added.
Pope Francis’ words of praise for the late Pope Benedict XVI have echoed praise across the Catholic world and beyond.
Papal biographer Peter Seewald said he would miss Benedict “terribly”, calling him a “saint” and a “genius” and crediting him with bringing him back to the Catholic Church after years away.
Peter Seewald has accompanied Benedict XVI journalistically for more than a quarter of a century. “Next time, I’ll see you in heaven,” he said waving me goodbye. https://t.co/63EEMnmPoM
— Aleteia (@AleteiaFR) December 31, 2022
“I found his courage to stand up for his beliefs particularly impressive,” Seewald said. “Even at the cost of popularity. And to resist all attempts to transform the message of Christ into a religion that meets the needs of “civil society”.
Iraqi Cardinal Louis Sako called Benedict a “great theologian” and a “prophet” in the reform of relations with Islam, as well as a “man of God” with a “bright face”.
For his part, Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias said the death of Benedict XVI is “a very great loss for the universal Church but also a real loss for the Asian Churches.”
“Benedict XVI has been a great support for the Church in Asia and for the Indian Church in particular,” Cardinal Gracias said.
Renowned English theologian Father Vincent Twomey said it would not be surprising if Benedict XVI were declared a Doctor of the Church, adding that he would be “considered one of the great popes in the history of the Church. ‘Church”.
“Besides being a brilliant lecturer and an inspiring homilist, he remained all his life essentially a good scholar and yet a simple priest with a truly pastoral heart,” Father Twomey said.
Benedict’s theology “is only now being discovered by younger generations of scholars,” the priest said. “His collected writings cover 16 volumes, averaging about 1,000 pages each, on every conceivable subject in theology, philosophy, science, literature, and politics.”
“Future generations from all walks of life will find inspiration in his pastoral writings as pope, especially his encyclicals on love and hope, which are among the most remarkable ever written by the pen of a pope,” he added.