Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Octave Day of Christmas: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God


Mary the Blessed Virgin

Feastday: January 1
Patron: of all humanity
Birth: September 8, Nativity of Mary
Death: August 15, Assumption of Mary

Mary, also known as St. Mary the Virgin, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, Mary Mother of God or the Virgin Mary is believed by many to be the greatest of all Christian saints. The Virgin Mother "was, after her Son, exalted by divine grace above all angels and men."

Mary is venerated with a special cult, called by St. Thomas Aquinas, hyperdulia, as the holiest of all creatures. The main events of her life are celebrated as liturgical feasts of the universal Church.

Mary's life and role in the history of salvation is foreshadowed in the Old Testament, while the events of her life are recorded in the New Testament. Traditionally, she was declared the daughter of Sts. Joachim and Anne. Born in Jerusalem, Mary was presented in the Temple and took a vow of virginity. Living in Nazareth, Mary was visited by the archangel Gabriel, who announced to her that she would become the Mother of Jesus, by the Holy Spirit.

She became betrothed to St. Joseph and went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was bearing St. John the Baptist. Acknowledged by Elizabeth as the Mother of God, Mary intoned the Magnificat.

When Emperor Augustus declared a census throughout the vast Roman Empire, Mary and St. Joseph went to Bethlehem, his city of lineage, as he belonged to the House of David. There Mary gave birth to Jesus and was visited by the Three Kings.

Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple, where St. Simeon rejoiced and Mary received word of sorrows to come later. Warned to flee, St. Joseph and Mary went to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. They remained in Egypt until King Herod died and then returned to Nazareth.

Nothing is known of Mary's life during the next years except for a visit to the Temple of Jerusalem, at which time Mary and Joseph sought the young Jesus, who was in the Temple with the learned elders.

The first recorded miracle of Jesus was performed at a wedding in Cana, and Mary was instrumental in calling Christ's attention to the need. Mary was present at the Crucifixion in Jerusalem, and there she was given into John the Apostle's care. She was also with the disciples in the days before the Pentecost, and it is believed that she was present at the resurrection and Ascension.

No scriptural reference concerns Mary's last years on earth. According to tradition, she went to Ephesus, where she experienced her "dormition." Another tradition states that she remained in Jerusalem. The belief that Mary's body was assumed into heaven is one of the oldest traditions of the Catholic Church.

Pope Pius XII declared this belief Catholic dogma in 1950. The four Catholic dogmas are: Mother of God, Perpetual virginity of Mary, the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary. The feast of the Assumption is celebrated on August 15. The Assumption was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. According to Pope Pius XII, the Virgin Mary "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory."

In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception - that Mary, as the Mother of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, was free of original sin at the moment of her conception. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8. The birthday of Mary is an old feast in the Church, celebrated on September 8, since the seventh century.

Other feasts that commemorate events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary are listed in the Appendices. Pope Pius XII dedicated the entire human race to Mary in 1944. The Church has long taught that Mary is truly the Mother of God .

The Blessed Virgin Mary may be taken as a patroness of any good activity, for she is often cited as the patroness of all humanity. Mary is also associated with protecting many occupations and locations.

St. Paul observed that "God sent His Son, born of a woman," expressing the union of the human and the divine in Christ. As Christ possesses two natures, human and divine, Mary was the Mother of God in his human nature.

This special role of Mary in salvation history is clearly shown in the Gospel where she is seen constantly at her son's side during his soteriological mission. Because of this role, exemplified by her acceptance of Christ into her womb, her offering of him to God at the Temple, her urging him to perform his first miracle, and her standing at the foot of the Cross at Calvary Mary was joined fully in the sacrifice by Christ of himself.

Pope Benedict XV wrote in 1918: "To such an extent did Mary suffer and almost die with her suffering and dying Son; to such extent did she surrender her maternal rights over her Son for man's salvation, and immolated him - insofar as she could in order to appease the justice of God, that we might rightly say she redeemed the human race together with Christ."

Mary is entitled to the title of Queen because, as Pope Pius XII expressed it in a 1946 radio speech, "Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through him, with him, and subordinate to him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular election."

Mary possesses a unique relationship with all three Persons of the Trinity, thereby giving her a claim to the title of Queenship. She was chosen by God the Father to be the Mother of his Son; God the Holy Spirit chose her to be his virginal spouse for the Incarnation of the Son; and God the Son chose her to be his mother, the means of incarnating into the world for the purposes of the redemption of humanity.

This Queen is also our Mother. While she is not our Mother in the physical sense, she is called a spiritual mother, for she conceives, gives birth, and nurtures the spiritual lives of grace for each person. As Mediatrix of All Graces, she is ever present at the side of each person, giving nourishment and hope, from the moment of spiritual birth at Baptism to the moment of death.

In art, Mary is traditionall portrayed in blue. Her other attributes are a blue mantle, crown of 12 stars, pregnant woman, roses, and/or woman with child.

Hundreds of thousands of pieces of Marian artwork and sculptures have been created over the years from the best and most brilliant artists, like Michelangelo and Botticell, to simple peasant artists. Some of the most early examples of veneration of Mary is documented in the Catacombs of Rome. Catacomb paintings show Mary the Blessed Virgin with her son.

The confidence that each person should have in Mary was expressed by Pope Pius IX in the encyclical Ubipriinum : "The foundation of all our confidence. . . is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is his will, that we obtain everything through Mary."

As Pope prays year-end Vespers, tributes paid to Benedict XVI


Pope pays tribute to Benedict XVI's witness of faith, prayer, kindness

Pope Francis remembers "dear Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who left us this morning," recalling him as such a noble and kind man of faith, while expressing gratitude to God for his gift to the Church. The Pope's words came in his homily at the end of the year celebration of Vespers and the Te Deum.

By Thaddeus Jones

Pope Francis led the traditional end of the year celebration of Vespers followed by the recitation of the Te Deum, the Church’s solemn chant of Thanksgiving for the past year. The celebration on New Year's Eve took place in Saint Peter's Basilica.

In his homily, the Pope remembered Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who died earlier in the morning, recalling his great kindness, witness of faith and prayer.

“And speaking of kindness, at this moment, my thought naturally goes to dear Pope emeritus Benedict XVI who left us this morning. We are moved as we recall him as such a noble person, so kind. And we feel such gratitude in our hearts: gratitude to God for having given him to the Church and to the world; gratitude to him for all the good he accomplished, and above all, for his witness of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his recollected life. Only God knows the value and the power of his intercession, of the sacrifices he offered for the good of the Church.”

Kindness marked the key word in the Pope's homily during this celebration of Evening Prayer of the Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. 

The Pope recalled Mary's "yes" to God and that His will be fulfilled in her "began the slow journey of the gestation of a humanity free from sin and filled with grace and truth, filled with love and faithfulness."  The Pope explained how God chose this way to enter into the world and history.

“A beautiful, good and true humanity, made in the image and likeness of God, but at the same time, woven with our flesh offered by Mary…never without her…always with her consent…in freedom, gratuitously, respectfully, in love.”

New, free, reconciled

This way that God chose to save us is also how we are asked to follow Him, said the Pope, so that we also may "continue to weave humanity – new, free, reconciled – together with Him." It is about relating to one another drawing on virtues of good and dignified living together, with one in particular being kindness that fosters fraternity and social friendship. Kindness can also be a "civic virtue," the Pope stressed, and can do wonders in helping improve our societies.

Kindness, dialogue, peace

Kindess is a key ingredient for creating a "culture of dialogue, and dialogue is indispensable to live in peace," the Pope stressed, esepcially since we do not always agree with one another on all matters, which is normal, but we must endeavour to speak and listen to one another to find understanding and draw closer to one another. 

The Pope asked us to just think what our world would be like without the "many generous persons who keep families and communities together," keeping families and communities together through patient listening and dialogue. Kindness then is essential to this dialogue, he added, and this does not mean just showing "good manners" but living it as a virtue day in and day out, going against the grain of things in order to make our societies more loving and humane.

Stars shining in the darkness

The Pope described these indivduals who go against the tide of "consumeristic individualism,"  selfishness and aggressivness we find in society, as "stars shining in the midst of darkness," since they show how it really is possible to “cultivate kindness” through our daily lives, even in the most difficult situations. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is this kindness, the Pope added, "a benevolent attitude that sustains and comforts others and avoids any form of roughness and harshness."

“It is a way of treating one’s neighbour taking care not to be hurtful through words or actions; trying to lighten others’ burdens, to encourage, to comfort, to console, without ever humiliating, mortifying or despising.”

Kindness cures

Explaining how kindness can be an "antidote" against the ills of society, especially cruelty and selfishness, the Pope said simple gestures such as just asking "permission" or saying "excuse me" or "thank you" can seem to achieve small miracles, since they come as welcome surprise and sign that better relationships and community are possible. 

“Thanks be to God, there are still kind people who know how to put their own concerns aside to pay attention to others, to offer the gift of a smile, an encouraging word, to listen to someone who needs to confide something, to vent”

A civic virtue

Kindness can be promoted as a personal and civic virtue, the Pope went on to say, stressing how it could help improve our families, communities and cities. Speaking of the city of Rome in particular, he encouraged his fellow Romans to strive to grow in this virtue of kindness.

“Experience teaches that kindness, if it becomes a style of life, can create a healthy living together, it can humanize social relationships, diffusing aggression and indifference”

Contemplate the Virgin Mother

In conclusion, the Pope encouraged everyone to look to the icon of the Virgin Mother as today and on New Year's Day we venerate her, and in a special way in St. Peter's Basilica through the image of Our Lady of Carmine of Avigliano, near Potenza, Italy. Her divine motherhood needs to be contemplated, he emphasised. 

“Let us not take her divine motherhood for granted! Let us allow ourselves to be amazed by God’s choice who could have come into the world in a thousand ways manifesting his power and, instead, willed to be conceived in full freedom in Mary’s womb, wanted to be formed for nine months like every baby and, in the end, to be born of her, to be born of a woman.”

We need to think about this amazing reality, the Pope underscored, as it marks "an essential characteristic of the mystery of salvation," showing us God’s way of infinite respect and kindness, "because the way for a more human world is found in the divine motherhood of the Virgin."

Statement by Archbishop Aymond on the death of Benedict XVI

 Dear Brothers in Christ:

As you have heard in the news, Pope Emeritus
Benedict XVI died this morning in Rome.

As we experience his death, we thank God for his
faithful life of leadership and humble service in our church.

Please ask the people of our Archdiocese to
remember him in prayer at all Masses this weekend.

Well done good and faithful servant. May he be
embraced by Jesus, the Good Shepherd, whom he made present to us in his
ministry as our pope.

The USCCB has offered the following suggestions
for special petitions offered in the Universal Prayer. Please feel free to use
one of these for Masses this weekend.

− That Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, called to the
heavenly kingdom by the Lord,
may rejoice forever at the banquet table of
heaven, we pray to the Lord.
− That Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, who served
the Church as Supreme Pontiff for
eight years, may worship God for ever in the
liturgy of heaven, we pray to the Lord.
− That the tireless efforts of Pope (Emeritus)
Benedict XVI, now called to the Lord,
may bear fruit in unity, peace and love among all
men and women, we pray to the
− For Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, who preached
that God is love and that we are
saved in hope, that he may know God’s love forever
in heaven, we pray to the Lord.

Wishing you God's blessings, I am

Fraternally in Christ,

Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond
Archbishop of New Orleans

Pope Benedict XVI: God is Love (Deus Caritas Est)


The late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI before the EucharistThe late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI before the Eucharist 

‘God is love’: The key to Benedict’s pontificate

In the face of scandals and ecclesiastical careerism, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI never ceased to call for conversion, penance and humility, offering an image of the Church freed from material and political privileges in order to be truly open to the world.

By Andrea Tornielli

Not since 1417 has the death of a (former) Pope not brought with it the end of a pontificate.

Saturday's death of Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, comes nearly 10 years after he announced his unexpected resignation on 11 February 2013.

That announcement came as a surprise to everyone as he read a brief statement in Latin in front of a few astonished cardinals. Never before in the Church’s two-thousand-year history had a Pope resigned because he felt physically inadequate to bear the weight of the papal office.

However, in a response given to journalist Peter Seewald in Light of the World, a book-length interview published three years earlier, he had in some way anticipated it: “If a Pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.”

Even though the conclusion of his reign came before the end of his life, creating a historic precedent of enormous magnitude, it would truly be unbecoming to remember Benedict XVI for this alone.

“Teenager” theologian at the Council

Born in 1927 into a simple, very Catholic family in Bavaria and the son of a police commissioner, Joseph Ratzinger was a protagonist of the Church in the last century.

He was ordained a priest together with his brother, Georg, in 1951, earned a doctorate in theology two years later, and in 1957 was licensed to teach as a professor of dogmatic theology. He taught in Freising, Bonn, Münster, Tübingen, and lastly in Regensburg.

His death marks the passing of the last Pope personally involved in the work of the Second Vatican Council. As a young man, already esteemed as a theologian, Ratzinger had followed the council sessions as the peritus of Cardinal Frings of Cologne, leaning toward the reformist wing. He was among those who strongly criticized the preparatory drafts prepared by the Roman Curia, which would later be scrapped by the will of the bishops.

According to the young theologian, the texts “should respond to the most pressing questions and should do so, as far as possible, not judging or condemning, but using maternal language.” Ratzinger favoured the foreseen liturgical reform and the reasons for its providential inevitability. He would say that to retrieve the true nature of the liturgy, it was necessary that the “Latin wall be demolished.”

Guardian of the faith under Wojtyla

But the future Benedict XVI was also a direct witness of the post-conciliar crisis, of the controversies in the universities and theological faculties. He witnessed the questioning of essential truths of the faith and unchecked experimentation with the liturgy. Already in 1966, just a year after the Council ended, he would say that he saw a “low-cost Christianity” in the offing.

Just after turning fifty, Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Munich in 1977, and a few weeks later created him a cardinal. John Paul II then entrusted him with the leadership of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in November 1981. That was the beginning of a strong partnership between the Polish Pope and the Bavarian theologian, destined to end only with the death of Wojtyla.

Not willing to be deprived of his service, John Paul II refused till the bitter end to accept Ratzinger’s resignation. Those were the years in which the former Holy Office “dotted many i’s and crossed many t’s” in a great many different issues: putting a halt to the Theology of Liberation that employed Marxist analysis, and taking a stand regarding the great ethical problems that were emerging.

The most important work he was involved in was certainly the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, a project that lasted six years and was published in 1992.

‘Humble worker in the vineyard’

After the death of John Paul II, the conclave held in 2005 elected Ratzinger – already an old man of 78 years – to succeed him in less than 24 hours. Ratzinger was universally esteemed and respected, even by his adversaries.

From the loggia of Saint Peter’s Basilica, Benedict XVI presented himself as “a humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord”. Alien to any sort of protagonism, he declared he had no “programmes”, but that he wanted “to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and the will of the Lord”.

Auschwitz and Regensburg

Naturally shy, Benedict did not renounce traveling – his pontificate would be itinerant just as his predecessor’s had been. Some of the most touching moments occurred during his visit to Auschwitz in May 2006, when the German Pope said: “In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can only be a dread silence – a silence which is itself a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?”

2006 was also the year of the “Regensburg affair”. In giving a discourse at the university where he had taught, the Pontiff cited a historical source, without appropriating it as his own, that ended up sparking protests in the Muslim world due to how his remarks were exploited or taken out of context in the media. From then on, the Pope multiplied signs of attention toward Muslims.

Benedict XVI undertook difficult journeys, and witnessed fast-paced secularization taking over de-Christianized societies, as well as dissent within the Church. He celebrated his birthday in the White House, together with George W. Bush, and just a few days later, on 20 April 2008, he prayed at Ground Zero, embracing relatives of the victims of the September 11th attacks.

Encyclical on love of God

Even if he had often been branded – while Prefect of the former Holy Office – as the panzercardinal, as Pope, Benedict continually spoke of the “joy of being Christian”.

He dedicated his first encyclical, Deus caritas est, to the love of God. “Being Christian”, he wrote, “is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person.”

He even found the time to write a book on Jesus of Nazareth, one sole work that would be published in three volumes. Among the many decisions he made, those to be most remembered are: the Motu proprio allowing the use of the pre-conciliar Roman Missal, and the institution of the Ordinariate allowing Anglican communities to return to full communion with Rome.

In January 2009, the Pope decided to revoke the excommunication of four bishops illicitly ordained by Bishop Marcel Lefebvre, among whom was Richard Williamson, who denied the existence of the gas chambers. Controversy then exploded in the Jewish world, leading the Pope to take up pen and paper and, writing to all the world’s bishops, assuming full responsibility.

Response to scandals

The final years of his pontificate were marked by the re-emergence of the sexual abuse scandal and of Vatileaks – the leaking of documents taken from the Pope’s desk and published in a book.

Benedict XVI was determined and unyielding in dealing with the problem of the “filth” in the Church. He introduced strict norms against the sexual abuse of minors, and asked the Curia and bishops to change their mentality. He even went so far as to say that the most serious persecution of the Church does not come from external enemies, but from sin committed within it.

Another important reform concerned Vatican finances: it was Pope Benedict who introduced anti-laundering legislation in the Vatican.

‘A Church free of money and power’

Facing the scandals created by ecclesiastical careerism, the elderly German Pope continually made appeals calling to conversion, penitence and humility.

During his last journey to Germany, in September 2011, he invited the Church to be less worldly.

“History has shown that, when the Church becomes less worldly, her missionary witness shines more brightly. Once liberated from material and political burdens and privileges, the Church can reach out more effectively and in a truly Christian way to the whole world, she can be truly open to the world.”

Looking back at the life of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI


The late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVIThe late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI 

Death of Pope Emeritus Benedict: his official biography

Following the announcement of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Saturday at the age of 95, we look back at his long life and its main highlights with the following official biography.

By Vatican News

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, was born at Marktl am Inn, Diocese of Passau (Germany) on 16 April 1927 (Holy Saturday) and was baptised on the same day.

His father, a Police Commissioner, belonged to an old family of farmers from Lower Bavaria of modest economic resources. His mother was the daughter of artisans from Rimsting on the shore of Lake Chiem. Before marrying, she worked as a cook in a number of hotels.

Joseph spent his childhood and adolescence in Traunstein, a small village near the Austrian border, thirty kilometres from Salzburg. In this environment, which he himself has defined as “Mozartian”, he received his Christian, cultural and human formation.

His youthful years were not easy. His faith and the education received at home prepared him for the harsh experience of those years during which the Nazi regime pursued a hostile attitude towards the Catholic Church. The young Joseph saw how some Nazis beat the Parish Priest before the celebration of Mass.

It was precisely during that complex situation that he discovered the beauty and truth of faith in Christ; fundamental for this was his family’s attitude, who always gave a clear witness of goodness and hope, rooted in a convinced attachment to the Church.

He was enrolled in an auxiliary anti-aircraft corps until September 1944.


From 1946 to 1951, he studied philosophy and theology in the Higher School of Philosophy and Theology of Freising and at the University of Munich.

He received his priestly ordination on 29 June 1951. A year later he began teaching at the Higher School of Freising.

In 1953, he obtained his doctorate in theology with a thesis entitled “People and House of God in St Augustine’s Doctrine of the Church”.

Four years later, under the direction of the renowned professor of fundamental theology Gottlieb Söhngen, he qualified for University teaching with a dissertation on: “The Theology of History in St Bonaventure”.

After teaching dogmatic and fundamental theology at the Higher School of Philosophy and Theology in Freising, he went on to teach at Bonn, from 1959 to1963; at Münster from 1963 to 1966; and at Tübingen from 1966 to 1969. During this last year, he held the Chair of dogmatics and history of dogma at the University of Regensburg, where he was also Vice-President of the University.

From 1962 to 1965, he made a notable contribution to Vatican II as an “expert”, being present at the Council as theological consultant of Cardinal Joseph Frings, Archbishop of Cologne.

His intense scientific activity led him to important positions at the service of the German Bishops’ Conference and the International Theological Commission.

In 1972, together with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac and other important theologians, he initiated the theological journal Communio.

Bishop and Cardinal

On 25 March 1977, Pope Paul VI named him Archbishop of Munich and Freising. On 28 May of the same year, he received episcopal ordination. He was the first diocesan priest in 80 years to take on the pastoral governance of the great Bavarian Archdiocese.

He chose as his episcopal motto: “Cooperators of the truth”. He himself explained why:

On the one hand I saw it as the relation between my previous task as professor and my new mission. In spite of different approaches, what was involved, and continued to be so, was following the truth and being at its service. On the other hand I chose that motto because in today’s world the theme of truth is omitted almost entirely, as something too great for man, and yet everything collapses if truth is missing.

Paul VI made him a Cardinal with the priestly title of “Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino”, during the Consistory of 27 June 1977.

In 1978, he took part in the Conclave of 25 and 26 August which elected John Paul I, who named him his Special Envoy to the III International Mariological Congress, celebrated in Guayaquil (Ecuador) from 16 to 24 September. In the month of October of the same year, he took part in the Conclave that elected Pope John Paul II.

He was Relator of the V Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which took place in 1980 on the theme: “The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World”, and was Delegate President of the VI Ordinary General Assembly of 1983 on “Reconciliation and Penance in the Mission of the Church Today”.


John Paul II named him Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of the International Theological Commission on 25 November 1981. On 15 February 1982, he resigned the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

The Holy Father elevated him to the Order of Bishops assigning to him the Suburbicarian See of Velletri-Segni on 5 April 1993.

He was President of the Preparatory Commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which after six years of work (1986-1992), presented the new Catechism to the Holy Father.

On 6 November 1998, the Holy Father approved the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, submitted by the Cardinals of the Order of Bishops. On 30 November 2002, Pope John Paul II approved his election as Dean; together with this office he was entrusted with the Suburbicarian See of Ostia.

In 1999, he was Special Papal Envoy for the Celebration of the XII Centenary of the foundation of the Diocese of Paderborn, Germany, which took place on 3 January.

In the Roman Curia he was a member of: the Council of the Secretariat of State for Relations with States; the Congregations for the Oriental Churches, Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Bishops, the Evangelization of Peoples, Catholic Education, Clergy and the Causes of the Saints; the Pontifical Councils for Promoting Christian Unity and Culture; the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and of the Pontifical Commissions for Latin America, “Ecclesia Dei”, the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, and the Revision of the Code of Canons of Oriental Churches.

Since 13 November 2000, he was an Honorary Academic of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.


Among his many publications, special mention should be made of his Introduction to Christianity, a compilation of University lectures on the Apostolic Creed, published in 1968; and Dogma and Preaching (1973), an anthology of essays, sermons and reflections dedicated to pastoral arguments.

His address to the Catholic Academy of Bavaria on “Why I am still in the Church” had a wide resonance; in it he stated with his usual clarity: “one can only be a Christian in the Church, not beside the Church”.

His many publications are spread out over a number of years and constitute a point of reference for many people, especially for those interested in entering deeper into the study of theology. In 1985, he published his interview-book on the situation of the faith (The Ratzinger Report) and in 1996 Salt of the Earth. On the occasion of his 70th birthday the volume At the School of Truth was published, containing articles by several authors on different aspects of his personality and production.

He received numerous honorary doctorates: in 1984 from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, (Minnesota, USA); in 1986 from the Catholic University of Lima (Peru); in 1987 from the Catholic University of Eichstätt (Germany); in 1988 from the Catholic University of Lublin (Poland); in 1998 from the University of Navarre (Pamplona, Spain); in 1999 from the LUMSA (Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta) of Rome and in 2000 from the Faculty of Theology of the University of Wrocław in Poland.


Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected on 19 April 2005 as the 265th Pope.

He was the oldest person to be elected Pope since 1730, and had been a Cardinal for a longer period of time than any Pope since 1724.

On 11 February 2013, during the Ordinary Public Consistory for the Vote on several Causes for Canonization, Benedict announced his decision to resign from the Petrine ministry with these words:

“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter.”

His pontificate came to an end on 28 February 2013.

After his resignation took effect, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lived within the Vatican in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery until his death.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died today; well done good and faithful servant


Portrait of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVIPortrait of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI  (Vatican Media)

Farewell to Benedict XVI: ‘Humble worker in vineyard of the Lord'

The 95-year-old Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away on Saturday at 9:34 AM in his residence at the Vatican's Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.

By Vatican News

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has returned to the Father’s House.

The Holy See Press Office announced that the Pope Emeritus died at 9:34 AM on Saturday morning in his residence at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, which the 95-year-old Pope emeritus had chosen as his residence after resigning from the Petrine ministry in 2013.

“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 AM in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible.  As of Monday morning, 2 January 2023, the body of the Pope Emeritus will be in Saint Peter's Basilica so the faithful can pay their respects."

News of worsening health condition

Already for several days, the health conditions of the Pope Emeritus had worsened due to advancing age, as the Press Office had reported in its updates of the evolving situation.

Pope Francis himself publicly shared the news about his predecessor's worsening health at the end of the last General Audience of the year, on 28 December.

The Pope had invited people to pray for the Pope Emeritus, who was "very ill," so that the Lord might console him and support him "in this witness of love for the Church until the end."

Following this invitation, prayer initiatives sprung up and multiplied on all continents, along with an outpouring of messages of solidarity and closeness from secular leaders.

Funeral plans

During a briefing at the Holy See Press office at midday, the director, Matteo Bruni, told journalists that  Pope Francis will preside over the funeral of the Pope Emeritus on 5 January at 9.30 CET in St. Peter's Square.

He added that as from Monday, the body of Benedict XVI will be lying in state in the Basilica so that the faithful who wish to do so may pay their last respects with prayers and a final farewell.

Bruni also said the Pope Emeritus on Wednesday, 28th in the afternoon, received the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in the monastery at the end of Holy Mass.

And speaking to reporters after the briefing he said Benedict specifically asked that everything - including the funeral - be marked by simplicity, just as he lived his life.