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Death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI


December 31, 2022

With deepest sentiments of sorrow and of gratitude, I have received the news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. It is sad to lose the earthly company of a Successor of Saint Peter who, even after his abdication of the Petrine Office, continued to be a source of many graces for the Church, especially by the offering of his prayers and sufferings for so many needs of the Church in our time. At the same time, I am deeply grateful to almighty God for the life of Joseph Ratzinger who responded faithfully to the vocation to the Holy Priesthood, even to the acceptance of the unimaginable weight of serving as Bishop of the Universal Church, and who put his considerable talents completely at the service of Christ the Good Shepherd as a priest and Bishop acting in His person for the teaching, sanctifying, and governing of the Father’s flock, and eventually as the Vicar of Christ on earth. He was an especially gifted teacher of the Catholic Faith with a particular appreciation of the highest and most perfect expression of the Faith: Sacred Worship. His sound teaching, especially regarding the Sacred Liturgy, remains a lasting and living heritage.

It was my honor to serve him as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. In my meetings with him, while he was still Roman Pontiff and after his abdication, I was always impressed by his extraordinary intelligence and knowledge, coupled with Christ-like meekness. He truly served according to the inspired words of his episcopal motto as one of Our Lord’s “cooperatores veritatis” [“fellow workers in the truth”] (3 Jn 8).

Please join me in praying for the eternal repose of his immortal soul. May he rest in peace.

Raymond Leo Cardinal BURKE