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St. Mary's Seminary & University

On the Death of Pope Benedict (Statement by Fr. Brown)

January 3, 2023 | St. Mary's News

Dear Seminarians, Faculty Members, Staff and all Members of the St. Mary’s Community,

We awoke on the last day of 2022 to learn with sadness of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, an important and great figure in the life of the Church and of the world, at the age of 95. We had known over his last few days that his health was failing, so this was not a surprise but nevertheless represents a very sad and also momentous event. Pope Benedict was in many ways a source of stability, consolation and strength in troubling times throughout his life. As a child he was subjected to the perversion of German society, his beloved homeland, by the tyranny of Adolph Hitler and the horrors of Nazism. Through the grace of a faithful Catholic family he grew up to become a holy and outstanding priest, theologian, teacher, curial official and eventually Pope. He was an important figure during the Second Vatican Council and a bulwark of doctrinal stability and fidelity thereafter, a moderating and transitional figure as our Holy Father during the ongoing post-Vatican II debates over the place of our faith in the world today, and in the lives of Catholics. He had the grace to recognize when his health was not adequate to carry the burdens of the office entrusted to him, and so be became the first Pope in 600 years to relinquish his office in favor of someone who could better sustain the important role of the Roman Pontiff in tumultuous times. Since 2013 he has continued his faithful service to God and to the Church as Emeritus Pope under Pope Francis. Let us give thanks for the life and service of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, and as he has passed through the gates of death let us keep his legacy of sound theology and faithful service to God and the Church alive on our own fidelity and service in the vocations that have been given to us by God. Let us keep Pope Benedict, his family, and the Church in our prayers in a special way at this time.

We will observe the traditional practices of mourning for a deceased Pope at St. Mary’s in the coming days.

May he rest in peace and may his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Rev. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.
President-Rector
St. Mary’s Seminary & University

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