Categories: Family News

December31,2022With heavy hearts, the people of our diocese mourn the death of Pope Benedict XVI. Serving with humility, wisdom and courage, he gave our Church exceptional leadership. 
It was a great privilege for me to meet Pope Benedict early in his papacy on the ad limina visit of the Bishops of Canada.  I will always remember his personal warmth to me and his interest in my ministry.  He wanted to listen to each of the bishops and hear us speak about the challenges we were facing in our dioceses.  He encouraged us to be good shepherds, to be close to our people and to serve them well. 
Pope Benedict will leave behind an enduring legacy.  His firm conviction was that the Second Vatican Council gives the foundation for the Church’s mission of evangelization.  Christianity, he taught, is not an idea or moral code.  At its centre, it is an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ, the living Lord who is the source of our life.  His Spirit forms us as his disciples and sends us out to proclaim the Gospel to the world. 
Pope Benedict was one of the world’s outstanding public figures.  Throughout his papacy, he championed human rights and the dignity of every person.  When he spoke to the British parliament, he stated that the world of reason and the world of faith needed one another and should not be afraid to enter into ongoing dialogue for the good of civilization.  He wrote frequently about the environment and urged us to be better stewards of God’s creation, which he said is an extension of the Church’s care for basic human rights. 
Both as Pope and Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, he gave strong leadership to bring an end to the scandal of clergy sexual abuse, which he referred to as “filth” in the Church.  When he visited Ireland, he said that the Church must admit that there were grave errors of judgment and failures of leadership.  He urged bishops to implement norms and cooperate with civil authorities. 
We thank God for Pope Benedict, for his holy life and ministry, and we join with countless others around the world who are praying for his eternal rest.