Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI dies

Germany's Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI appears at the window of St. Peter's Basilica.  The main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, April 19, 2005.
Germany’s Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI appears at the window of St. Peter’s Basilica. The main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, April 19, 2005. (Thomas Cox/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was elected Pope in April 2005 at the age of 78.

Given his age, he is widely seen as caretaker pope, a bridge to the next generation after John Paul II’s long tenure.

Strict Conservatives: As an assistant to John Paul II, Benedict strictly enforced his conservative social doctrine. He continued to embrace conservatism after taking office and frequently warned of a “dictatorship of relativism”.

In his tone, demeanor and conduct, Benedict differed markedly from his predecessors – John Paul wowed crowds with his polyglot knowledge, Benedict’s influence was through his learned writings and theological rigor to feel.

As pope, Benedict often advocated a back-to-basics approach. His three encyclicals — letters from the Pope to Catholics around the world — are based on the theological virtues of faith, hope and love.

The Church Sexual Abuse Crisis: Benedict became pope at the height of a global sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests.

In 2008, he admitted that “we are all ashamed” of reports of abuse, and in 2010 issued new rules aimed at stopping abusive pastors who he said “ruined their ministry.”

Some believe he has done more to address the abuse than any of his papal predecessors, while others believe his response has been woefully inadequate.

In 2021, Benedict came under criticism again during his tenure as archbishop of Munich and Freising after the church commissioned a report on abuses by local Catholic clergy. During his tenure between 1977 and 1982, he was informed of four cases of sexual abuse involving minors — two of which occurred during his tenure — but did not act, the report found.

Other controversies: The abuse crisis is one of a series of controversies that have dominated Benedict’s presidency, often receiving more attention than his reconciliation efforts.

In 2006, he quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who called Islam “evil and inhuman” — which sparked riots in parts of the Muslim world and prompted Benedict to apologize — and wrote in The excommunication of a bishop who denied the Holocaust was lifted in 2009.

Benedict’s other controversies include his comments that condom distribution “added to the AIDS problem” and his decision to restore Good Friday prayers to prompt Jewish conversions.

Source link