Bishop John’s Homily for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Thursday 5th January 2023

On Thursday 5 January, the Diocese of Salford joined Catholics across the world to pray for the repose of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who passed away on the 31 December 2022. At this Requiem Mass, Bishop John spoke of Pope Benedict’s commitment to his pastoral role throughout significant shifts in his ministry:

“There can’t be much of a greater responsibility, than to have the leadership, the pasturing, of the global Church, 1.3 billion people within a care of one person. But Pope Benedict was elected to be our pope, and he reigned for some 8 years.

Pope Benedict, by nature, by personality, was really quite a shy and retiring man. Intellectual, scholarly, certainly to a really exaggerated degree, he gave himself to his studies and that’s really where he was working in his ministry as a priest. But he was called from that to take this immense responsibility for the Church. A Church in changing context. A Church global in its impact and working each day in 190 nations in different ways, in different people’s lives. But Pope Benedict accepted that challenge and adapted his way of life to be all that he could be as our pope.

I remember particularly his pastoral visit here in 2010. In the days before the visit there was a terrible negativity in the press and the media. And I remember that morning when the plane was flying in to Glasgow, and I thought “what are we going to see over the next few days?”. But as soon as Pope Benedict landed, he met the Queen, and he showed such pastoral care for everybody that he was meeting, that the whole papal visit turned into a triumph. It was magnificent. And then he could show his skills when he addressed the parliamentarians in Westminster Hall, where he spoke about the need for faith in reason and reason in faith, saying that there needs to be an ethic in our politics, and he got a standing ovation.

We have much for which to give thanks to God for the fairly brief papacy of Pope Benedict, but we can with real confidence commend him to almighty God for the forgiveness of any transgressions, because we’re all human, and that he may be richly rewarded for his service of the Church. And we do that in a simple way in this Mass today, in the light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who offers us all eternal life. Let’s pray for Pope Benedict, that he may indeed rest in peace and be rewarded for his service of the Church.”

If you would like to learn more about the life and ministry of Pope Benedict, click here.

Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI

Bishop John invites us to join him in offering the following prayer:

Loving Father, we ask you to welcome Pope Benedict into eternal life, rewarding him for his selfless devotion and service of your Church.

May his example live on in our Church as we see to be ambassadors of Christ in our daily living.

As the family of the Church, we pray in communion that you will forgive any human frailty or transgression and bring him into the light of your presence where, one day, we may celebrate your infinite love and mercy together.

May he rest in peace.


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