Pope Francis praises the ‘kindness’ of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Pope Francis praised Pope Emeritus Benedict XVIHis “kindness” in his first public comment after the retired Pope’s death. Francis thanked Benedict on Saturday for “the testimony of his faith and prayers, especially in the final years of his retirement life.”

At a New Year’s Eve all-night vigil, Francis said that only God knows “his sacrifice for the church.”

Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate Benedict’s funeral mass on Thursday, the first time in modern times that a current pope has praised a retired pope.

Benedict, who shocked the world by stepping down as leader of the Roman Catholic Church in 2013, has died at the age of 95. The Vatican announced his death on Saturday.

The Vatican said his body will be displayed to the public in St. Peter’s Basilica from Monday for believers to pay their final respects. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told reporters that Benedict’s request was that his funeral be celebrated solemnly but “simply”.

The Vatican invited only official German and Italian delegations to Benedict’s funeral. This underscores the fact that he was no longer pope and requested a simple funeral.

What defined his pontificate was its conclusion and its majestic farewell flight over the Eternal City. He became the first pope to voluntarily resign in over 700 years.

Benedict said that his mental and physical strength had deteriorated “to the point where he had to realize that he was incapable of fulfilling the mission entrusted to him”.

A naturally shy man, Pope Benedict XVI always said he had no ambition to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. However, he was chosen as his successor by Pope John Paul II in 2005. At 78, he assumed the role of the oldest pope in almost 30 years.

Tributes poured in Saturday from political and religious leaders around the world.

“He will be remembered as a distinguished theologian who dedicated his life to the Church, guided by his principles and faith,” said President Joe Biden.

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed him as “one of the most militant and important religious thinkers of our time”.

Britain’s King Charles III said he received the news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “with great sadness” and said he fondly recalls meeting the former pope during a visit to the Vatican in 2009.

In a message to Pope Francis on Saturday, Prince Charles said: “His unremitting efforts to promote peace and goodwill to all peoples and to strengthen ties with the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches worldwide. Remember your efforts.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pope-francis-praises-pope-emeritus-benedict-xvis-kindness-dead-at-95/ Pope Francis praises the ‘kindness’ of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

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