On Dec. 31, the Vatican announced the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who left a legacy over the course of his lifelong service to the Church and who, in 2013, became the first Roman pontiff in 600 years to resign the papacy.
As we mourn the loss of our former pontiff, we want to reflect on his life, his accomplishments, and his legacy with this tribute from Our Sunday Visitor.
Bishop Erik Pohlmeier and Bishop Emeritus Felipe J. Estévez issued the following statements yesterday upon learning of the passing of Pope Benedict:
Statement from Bishop Erik Pohlmeier on the Death of Pope Benedict XVI
When Pope Benedict visited the United States in 2008, he challenged this nation to live with the kind of hope that changes our lives. Reminding us that “people with hope live differently,” he spoke in the way he lived. For eight years as our Holy Father, he taught with the clarity of a brilliant mind and a conviction for the saving power of Jesus Christ.
For me personally, his encyclical on hope, Spe Salvi, is a profound guide to the challenges of our modern world. He spoke of how easily we place our hope in the advancements of our age instead of in the Lord of all creation. As we reflect on his life now his words should focus our hope on the God of love who makes us for himself.
Pope Benedict lived for the moment he would come before Jesus and hope gives way to promise. In Spe Salvi he wrote, “This is how Jesus expresses it in St. John’s Gospel: “I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (16:22). We must think along these lines if we want to understand the object of Christian hope, to understand what it is that our faith, our being with Christ, leads us to expect.
We now join the world in thanking him for his service to the Church and to humanity. We pray that his entrance into eternity brings him into the merciful heart of his Savior.
Most Rev. Erik Pohlmeier
Bishop of St. Augustine
Statement from Bishop Emeritus Felipe J. Estévez
Pope Benedict had a scholarly quest for St Augustine. He had a special concern for all of us. I was honored he appointed me as the tenth bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine. I was impressed by his graciousness and politeness when I first met him. His brilliance was shown in grasping any complex issue and giving guidance on it. His book on Jesus of Nazareth is a masterpiece. It shows the best modern biblical scholarship with the best input from the Catholic tradition.
Most Rev. Felipe J. Estévez
Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of St. Augustine