Greenwich Time (Sunday)
State’s Catholic leaders say Benedict XVI will be remembered for his intellect and ‘profound humility’
BRIDGEPORT — Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI would be remembered “for his love of the Church, intellectual brilliance, and profound humility” after the former pontiff died Saturday.
Benedict, who stunned the world in 2013 when he became the first pope to resign in 600 years, was 95.
In a prepared statement, Caggiano asked parishioners “to unite in prayer for the repose of the soul of Pope Benedict XVI and for the entire Church on the loss of this great and holy man.”
The bishop is scheduled celebrate a Diocesan Mass for the Repose of the Soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. at Saint Matthew Church in Norwalk.
Caggiano recalled Benedict's 2008 visit to the United States, when the pope celebrated mass at Yankee Stadium.
“Throughout his brief but impactful papacy, he sought to heal wounds in the Church, to reach out and honor other faiths, to advocate for the poor and vulnerable across the globe, and to preach the eternal truths that govern our existence and lead us to Our Savior,” Caggiano said.
The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,
Benedict ran the church through the fallout of the clerical sex abuse scandal and then a second scandal that erupted when his own butler stole his personal papers and gave them to a journalist.
As news of his death spread, many observers contrasted his style as a teacher and academic with those of his more media-friendly contemporaries, predecessor John Paul II and successor, Francis. “Pope Benedict will be remembered for his love of the Church, intellectual brilliance, and profound humility,” Caggiano
said. “We were blessed by his leadership as one of the great teachers of the Church in our own age. His work as a writer and theologian will continue to inform generations, and his example as our Holy Father is a legacy of reverence, kindness and compassion.”
In a statement posted to the Archdiocese of Hartford's Facebook page, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair said Benedict “was a man of deep faith who exemplified both gentleness and strength, humility and courage — as demonstrated not only in his decision to resign the papacy, but in all the many aspects of his pontificate.”
“In his time, Pope Benedict was truly a holy father to us, a courageous shepherd, an inspiring teacher, a faithful witness,” Blair said. “Blessed with a lively and keen intellect, his teaching is marked by a high level of culture and learning, yet expressed in a way that is very accessible and appealing to ordinary people. He had an ability to express profound truths simply and with great insight into the temptations and spiritual struggles of our time. Thanks to the creativity and beauty of the images and words he used, he was able to move both the hearts and minds of believers.”
Caggiano asked for “all to join in this moment of gratitude for his faithful leadership and to re-commit to the unity of the Church, which he so desired in his life and ministry.”
Special petitions will be offered in the universal prayer at masses celebrated for his repose.
“May God grant him eternal rest and let perpetual light shine upon him,” Caggiano said.