Christmas and Easter are the most important liturgical seasons for the Christian Church. And in a sort of symbolic way, they served as the life and death bookends of Joseph Ratzinger, a priest and theologian who eventually became Pope Benedict XVI in the year 600. He is the Pope of Rome who voluntarily renounced the papacy for the first time.
Ratzinger was born on Holy Saturday in 1927, the last hours of Easter. He died on New Year’s Eve morning, nearly 96 years after him, his penultimate day of his octave at Christmas.
And the mass and burial of “Honorary Pope,” a title he invented for himself when he resigned in 2013, was to take place the day before the Epiphany. All fit for a man who has put the Catholic liturgy at the forefront of his life.
When his body was laid in St. Peter’s Basilica, tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims and tourists who visited Rome on holiday joined Catholic clergy, religious and civic leaders, and many A final tribute to the man people remember as “B16”. ”.
what did the pope say?
The Pope, Pope Francis, was the first to warn people that his retired Bavarian predecessor was seriously ill. That was just three days before Benedict died on December 31st.
But in the first days after his death, Francis said little about his former Bishop of Rome (2005-2013).
The 86-year-old Pope delivered three speeches: Vespers on New Year’s Eve, Morning Mass on January 1, and Angelus at noon. He always thought of Benedict.
“Speaking of kindness, at this moment I am rightly thinking of my dear Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who left us this morning,” Francis said at the banquet.
“We are touched by the memory of how noble and kind a man he was. And we feel such gratitude in our hearts. Thank God for all the good he has accomplished, and above all, especially in the last years of his remembered life, for the witnesses of faith and prayers. Only you know the value and power of his intercession, and the value and power of the sacrifices he made for the Church,” he concluded.
He remembered Benedict again the next morning at the Mass of Mary, Mother of God, leaving these very short words: to God. “
Francis then said to Angelus the following thought: With one heart and soul, let us thank God for the gift of the Gospel and this faithful servant of the Church. We recently saw everything he did and the life of Pope Benedict on the TV show Sua Imaginé. ”
Benedicat breathes new life into the title of “Honor”. It is now increasingly used by people who have retired or resigned from all kinds of roles and occupations. It’s so baffling that a friend jokingly called his “ex” a “wife of honor.”
business as usual
Then, on Wednesday, the day before the funeral, there was a fourth opportunity for a general audience with Francis.
He refers to Benedict again at the outset, calling him “a great master of catechesis” and his “sharp and calm thinking was not self-referential but ecclesiastical”.
But then the Jesuit pope set aside his predecessor and began the final lesson of the doctrine cycle on discernment. It seems a bit strange that, as on Saturday and Sunday, Francis gave Benedict what amounted to an “honorable mention” and then continued his prepared remarks without further mention of the former Pope, And it was even surreal.
After New Year’s Eve Vespers, he surprises his aide by changing protocol at the last minute.
He was supposed to be taken from the cathedral to the “Popémobile” to visit the nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, but was pushed by a butler in a wheelchair all the way through the cobbled square to the cheers of the thousands. Raise tourists through and visitors.
“There is only one Pope. And fear not, it is me.
Francis resumed his normal schedule of activities the following day after taking a break from official duties on Monday, holding meetings and audiences with individuals and groups.
He also got ahead of Wednesday’s general audience.
In Francis’ defense, it must be said that the way Benedict decided to live out his retirement – continuing to wear white and calling himself “Honorary Pope” – created an ambiguity that remains even today. Hmm.
Many reporters have wondered how the protocols established for the deceased Pope would apply to Benedict.When he died, he was no longer Pope.
But he certainly breathed new life into the title of “Honor.” It is now used more and more by people who have retired or resigned from all kinds of roles and occupations.
It’s so baffling that a friend jokingly called his “ex” a “wife of honor.”
Who will attend Benedict’s funeral?
Early on, the Vatican announced that only Germany and Italy had invited an official delegation to Benedict’s funeral.
Political leaders and government officials from other countries are welcome to attend, but are not given the usual protocols and security details normally reserved for official visits, and can only attend in a private capacity. Stated.
Nevertheless, several celebrities – European bluebloods and political conservatives – were scheduled to attend the funeral mass.
It makes sense because Benedict XVI was the last Old World Pope and firmly believed that classical European philosophical and cultural traditions were part of Christianity.
Below are just a few of the people who attend funerals privately.
- Sophia of Greece and Denmark, former Queen of Spain
- King Philip of Belgium
- Andrzej Duda, President of Poland
- President of Portugal Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa
- Hungarian President Katalin Novak
- President of Slovenia Natasha Pirk Musar
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his wife came to Rome earlier in the week to pay their final respects to Benedict, who lies in the state, but they are not expected to stay for his funeral. It was not done.
On the other hand, many European countries have sent ministers to their governments, most of which are represented by the current papal ambassadors.
A number of ecumenical delegations are also expected to attend.
The various Orthodox churches that appreciated Joseph Ratzinger and his theology will have the most representatives at his funeral.
Naturally, numerous Cardinals of the Church of Rome are expected to attend, as are the Presidents of the National Episcopal Conferences around the world. And, of course, many other bishops, priests, religious women and men, and ordinary Catholics gather in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday.
Funerals: “simple, solemn, somber”
Ratzinger, who was very devoted to church liturgy, requested that his funeral be “simple, solemn, and sober.”
And since he died a former pope, the liturgy is a little different than it is for popes who die in office.
But only slightly.
The big difference is that it is presided over by Francis, the actual Pope.
The Dean of the College of Cardinals usually presides over the funeral of the deceased Pope. But again, it was not the Pope who died. But the confusion doesn’t end there.
Forgive my obsession with clarity. It must be pointed out, however, that those in charge of the papal liturgy caused more confusion through their sloppy use of terminology.
In the Order of Service for Benedict’s Funeral, they show Pope Francis as “priest” and “priest”.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re is listed as “Cardinal of the Altar”.
Other clergy – cardinals, bishops, priests – are called “co-celebrants”, forgetting that everyone in the congregation is actually “celebrating.”
The confusion is due to the fact that Francis cannot stand at the altar and officiate the Liturgy of the Eucharist, so someone else has to do it for him.
I’m not too much for “Santo Subito”. I think we need more time. Times can teach us a lot. Then… is it possible?
Another “Santo Subito”? doctor of the church?
But this is less alarming compared to another, more serious problem.
And that is the call for Benedict to be declared “Santo Subito” (i.e. to be made a saint immediately), as happened at the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005. Archbishop Georg Genswein, Benedict’s longtime personal secretary, was the first to say he believed “it will be like this.”
In fact, at the end of Wednesday’s general audience, a group of young people began chanting “Santo Subito!” Benedetto! ”
It caused some scattered boos.
Then there are those who are asking for Joseph Ratzinger to be a physician in the Church.
One of them is Cardinal Angelo Banasco, former President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
“I hope he will soon be declared a doctor of the church,” he told the Turin-based daily La Stampa.
“Like the Star of Bethlehem, Benedict XVI will continue to point the way to Jesus for modern pastors.
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Austria told Corriere della Serra:
“You’ll remember Joseph Ratzinger in the 20th century as you remember John Henry Newman in the 19th century, and Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventura in the 13th century,” said the 77-year-old Dominican.
One of Ratzinger’s various characteristics was his insistence that faith and reason must go hand in hand.
But some of his most prominent admirers seem to have lost their minds.
At least, it seems that Cardinal Walter Kasper, another German theologian who often argued with the late Pope, was puzzled by this question.
The 89-year-old cardinal told Il Giornale, “I’m not very much in favor of Santo Subito.
“I think we need more time. Times can teach us a lot. Then… let’s see if it’s possible.”
Until then, may Pope Benedict XVI rest in peace and contemplate the face of God one last time, as he has desired throughout his long life.
- Robert Mickens I am the Editor-in-Chief of the International Association.first published La Croix International. Reprinted with permission.
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https://cathnews.co.nz/2023/01/04/bidding-farewell-to-benedict-xvi/ Saying goodbye to Benedict XVI