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Friday, June 14, 2024

CBCP pays tribute to ‘Pope of Charity’

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The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines paid tribute to the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who passed away yesterday, saying he will always be remembered as “the Pope of Charity.”

“If Pope Francis is known as the Pope of Mercy and Joy, Pope Benedict will be remembered as the Pope of Charity. He began his episcopacy with a profoundly theological encyclical entitled Deus Caritas Est (God is Love),” CBCP president Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said in a statement.

“Among the many charisms God had bestowed on him, he will be specially remembered as a great theologian, catechist, and musician. He spent the last years of his life as an emeritus pope in solitude and contemplation, supporting the universal Church and Pope Francis spiritually with his prayers,” he added.

David thanked all Filipino faithful who offered prayers and special Mass intentions for the late pontiff.

“We will fondly remember him, especially those among us bishops, who had been appointed by him to the episcopal ministry,” David said, noting that he himself was appointed bishop by Pope Benedict XVI.

Worldwide, tributes have poured in for the former pope, almost a decade after he became the first pontiff to resign in six centuries.

UN chief Antonio Guterres praised the former pontiff for his “tenacious commitment to non-violence and peace”.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he would be remembered for “his efforts for global peace and the centrality of human beings’ dignity” in his ideas.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron said the ex-pope “strove with soul and intelligence for a more brotherly world.”

Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz hailed his fellow countryman as a “special church leader” who helped shape the Catholic church.

“The world has lost a formative figure of the Catholic Church, an argumentative personality and a clever theologian,” he said.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni hailed the former leader of the Catholic Church as a “giant of faith and reason.”

She described him as “a Christian, a pastor, a theologian, a great figure in history, that history will never forget.” 

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki bid farewell to “one of the greatest theologians of our time.”

“Throughout his life, he showed the spiritual and intellectual depth of Christianity. He leaves behind a great legacy,” he said.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said he was “an eminent religious and state figure, a convinced defender of traditional Christian values.”

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill said former pope Benedict XVI was an “outstanding theologian.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Benedict was “a great theologian whose UK visit in 2010 was an historic moment for both Catholics and non-Catholics throughout our country.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Anglican world’s highest-ranking cleric, described him as “one of the greatest theologians of his age.”

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said he had “set a strong signal through his resignation” in 2013.

“Once his physical strength waned, he continued to serve through the power of his prayers,” she said. 

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