Tributes to Pope Benedict XVI

BCI wanted to give our own tribute to Pope Benedict XVI, but found this excellent one by Judie Brown, a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life, and is making it easy on ourselves after the last post.  Here are excerpts. We invite readers to share their own tributes in comments.

A brilliant teacher steps down from the papacy.

It had been my privilege over the past 16 years—since the time Pope John Paul II appointed me to the Pontifical Academy for Life—to have learned a great deal about that Holy Father’s closest ally, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Ratzinger’s writings were extensive and, after the conclave that elevated him to Pope Benedict XVI, his encyclicals, books, and public addresses have continued to teach, inspire, and spiritually support anyone who wishes to live and act consistently with Catholic doctrine. For that I am eternally grateful to this holy man.

When American Life League launched its campaign seeking the obedience of bishops in enforcing Church law regarding the denial of Holy Communion to those public figures who claimed to be Catholic, yet who also gave their support to abortion, it was the Ratzinger memo entitled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion” that became our guiding light.

The Holy Father never abandoned truth. One of his strongest American supporters, Phil Lawler, said of the Holy Father’s resignation,

So why has he chosen to resign, if he can still perform his duties so well? The answer, I suspect, is that he cannot perform those duties often enough to satisfy his own standards. He can analyze and preach and teach, but only with sufficient rest. As the rest periods grow longer, and sessions of work shorter, he cannot do all that he sees must be done.

Lawler also pointed out, as have others, that during the Holy Father’s pontificate, many of his top senior staff have not acted in accord with his statements, but have attempted to blunt or even misinterpret what he said. The example of his teaching on the use of condoms as a “treatment” for AIDS comes to mind as but one glaring example of this sort of contradiction. And there are many more!

We should remember these words from his first Mass as pope:

“Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”

Is he fleeing from the wolves, especially those within the Church, who he knew would inevitably, incessantly attack him during his pontificate? Very doubtful. They have been even more ferocious than he anticipated in response to his determined rolling back of some of the chaos that followed Vatican II and his strong rebukes to all the elements of the culture of death. Benedict’s resignation should instead, in my opinion, be seen as a deeply humbling self-sacrifice to pave the way for an urgently needed stronger pope and stronger Church.

To that I would add that, by his very example, the Holy Father has illuminated with clear and convincing courage what is expected of a pope during such challenging times. Shortly after his announcement, during his February 13 general audience, he said:

It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, practice mercy in everyday life, leave space for prayer and inner silence, it is not easy to publicly oppose choices that many take for granted, such as abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to prevent hereditary disease. . . .

What is at the core of the three temptations that Jesus suffered?  . . . It is the proposal to manipulate God, to use him for your own interests, for your own glory and success.

Everyone should then ask: What is the role [of] God in my life? And is He the Lord or am I?

What a fitting challenge for the Holy Father to each of us in view of the fact that he has clearly listened to God and has made the decision he has discerned is the Lord’s will for him at this crucial time in the life of the Church. His very action teaches us what it means to be humble before the Lord.

As we thank God for Pope Benedict XVI’s holy example, let us pray that the Lord will be with the cardinals during their time of decision.

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BCI could add many other things we admired about Pope Benedict XVI to what Judie Brown said.  Due to time constraints, the one we will share that comes to the top of the list is his reform  of the liturgy. Much as BCI admired the late Pope John Paul II and his pontificate, the Masses and other celebrations he presided over were at times a bit of a liturgical circus, as exemplified by the dancing, loud music and other innovations. (Then there was the statue of the golden Buddha at Assisi in 1986, but we digress…).
Pope Benedict deserves due credit for the reintroduction and restoration of solemnity to the sacred liturgy.  The issuance of “Summorum pontificum,” use of pre-Vatican II vestments, new translation of the Roman Missal, allowing of people to receive Communion kneeling, increased use of Gregorian chant and Latin in the Mass are just a few examples.  This article gives additional perspective.
If you have additional tributes to the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, feel free to share them in comments.

21 Responses to Tributes to Pope Benedict XVI

  1. jbq2 says:

    Archbishop Raymond Burke (now Cardinal) Raymond Burke of St. Louis was one of the strongest figures in America to go after abortion Catholic politicians and their taking of Holy Communion. I have conclusive proof that there was indeed a cabal in the American hierarchy to have him removed and “kicked upstairs” to the Vatican Supreme Court. There are not only wolves but snakes (run out by St. Patrick) who have connived to work against the Vatican in this country at the highest levels of the American Church. The great leadership shown by T Dolan has been met with “deafening silence”.

  2. tony mangini says:

    unfortunately, we will probably never see the likes of a bendedict xvi. again. the brilliance and display of intellectual genuius of this man will probably never be matched again–history will now manifest the many successes of his pontificate

    • Betty says:

      You are probably correct. Sadly, many reserved, intelligent, thoughtful, sincere individuals come in second place to charismatic and/or ruthless personalities when vying for power in a variety of circumstances. *The Pilot has a picture of
      T Dolan with Cardinal Sean walking together.

  3. Lazarus' Table says:

    Prophecy: the new Pope will take the name “Peter II”, to signify a new beginning. And an end.

    • JUST WONDERING says:

      LAZARUS’ TABLE … you are so prophetic. So full of, of, of,
      knowledge. JUST WONDERING why!!!!!!

  4. Chris says:

    jbq2, If you have solid proof of a cabal operating against Cardinal Burke then please get it out into the open. Among the unfinished tasks of Pope Benedict’s papacy was eliminating the “filth” in the Church. BCI is tackling the filth in the archdiocese. If you can contribute to this effort, it will only aid and encourage the faithful. You could contact any number of reputable Catholic journalists who might be willing to help (how about Michael Voris?)

  5. Rich says:

    BCI and so many others love to address the issue of denying communion to those public figures who support a women’s right to abortion. And I can’t say I don’t agree with that. But, I think the church has absolutely no right to ask this, given the fact that Bernard Law and so many other bishops who helped perpetuate the sex abuse crises, can still perform the consecration, and with their hands, turn water and wine into the precious body and blood of our dear Lord. When the church (pope) does that, then let’s talk about going after the politicians. Clean up your own house first, bishops.

  6. Jack O'Malley says:

    Re the pols and abortion: a heads up — we live in a secular republic. The Supreme Court has decreed that there is a right to abortion. However specious the foundation of that “right” is constitutionally, it is the law of the land. If you want to disenfranchise all Catholic politicians, then excommunicate them. If not, get over it and shut up.

    Re the tribute to Benedict XVI: he wrote Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae, for that let him be praised. He also said that the motu proprio freeing what he called “extraordinary form” of the Roman rite was an “act of toleration” for those attached to that rite. He never celebrated that rite, the True Mass, in public during his pontificate.

    Well, I choose not to be a second-class confessor of the Catholic Faith. My tribute to Ratzinger is therefore nil. He sat on the fence and found himself in the painful predicament of all fence sitters: a picket up the arse. This is the dolorous fate of hypocrites. So let the Church descend further into protestantism as our peripatetic prelate O’Malley has called for. See Carol McKinley’s blog for details. Can it get more filthy? It can and it will.

    Were I in search of a religion, I would not even consider converting to RC’ism. If not to convert, why then to revert?

    I frankly don’t give a flying feck whom the sacrosanct at least half-homo college of cardinals elect. The next pope could be a TLM fanatic and a Third Secret revelator and a consecrator of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a Triumphalist and Supersessionist of the ultimate degree and a suppressor of the Medjugorje shite and I would simply yawn. He could renounce Assisi I, II and III and the World Youth Day Woodstock recensions and make Bernard Fellay a cardinal bishop in charge of the CDF and even excommunicate that bloated blusterer Dolan the Guffawer and Eyeglass-Chewer and Homo-Hugger and I would snore.

    I will give not a dime into the pocket of Garabedian or O’Malley. Let the smaller Church of Benedict XVI (which he as “peritus” engendered) commence. Let the prods exit. Let the queers and lesbians be outed and ostracised. Let the apostates be anathematised. Let all the demons be exorcised. Let this corrupted Church be consumed in the flames of schism and heresy that the Paraclete may rise from the ashes and breathe His comforting spirit upon all the Church Militant to come again in humility to Jesus Christ the Redeemer.

    • Chris says:

      Jack O’Malley, It seems you’ve gone way beyond useful criticism in your post. I think you’re in a minority in your assessment of Benedict XVI. And you do your hosts at BCI no favors in your rants — it makes the bloggers look less than serious if they tolerate you.

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      Chris, I am used to being in a minority. It feels good at this point. Ratzinger has his good points and bad points. I pointed out his bad ones.

      Cuique suum, Chris. I acknowledge that I am intolerable. If my post remains, it is to the beneficent indulgence of our gracious hosts at BCI. But I don’t ever recall their having suppressed minority opinions. And God bless them for that.

      Prediction: next pope: Bertone. (Not that I approve and I hope I’m wrong.)

      • BCI does not suppress minority opinions. But we do moderate and remove comments that are off topic from the post, or that suggest a disbelief in the teachings of the Magisterium.

        Jack O’Malley, it is OK if you do not have a tribute to the pope, but way way off-topic to be commenting that you do not believe in the papacy, and by implication you do not believe in the teachings of the Magisterium. If we had caught it sooner, we would have moderated/removed those comments.

    • tryingtofigurethisout says:

      BCI, Why do you allow this guy to come on here and personally attack with such hatred , representatives of Christ on earth… Seriously , you need to re evaluate your mission here…. if you are going to provide an uncensored forum for people like this unstable anti catholic hate monger. Certainly the Representatives of Christ are not immune from sin or criticism….That’s now what you are allowing this guy to do though by letting him post the above….I can’t say it enough, you are not advancing the cause by letting this happen on your site

      • Stephen says:

        Still trying?

        Don’t you charismatic love-love-love types get it?
        Jack O’Malley is our Great Grandfather.
        He is the guy with the black thumb nail from a granite block he dropped when he built the Cathedral. He’s the guy who gave his paper route money to help buy a new, now antique monstrance. He’s the guy who fasted before Sunday Mass and didn’t notice the hardship. He’s the guy who learned his Latin, and considered it an honor to serve the Mass as a boy. He is from an earlier time when there was such a thing as right and wrong.

        He is a disgruntled church militant, who is pissed off at a church that acts like the war against The Faith is over. He is impatient with the post Vatican 2 church that walks, looks and quacks like a protestant. He asks questions that nobody dares to answer and offers answers that nobody wants to hear.

        I hope BCI can hold back whiner nation, and continue to welcome Mr. O’Malley’s thoughts. This is a Catholic public arena of ideas, Jack’s strong old school perspective adds to the flavor for sure.

    • Jack O’Malley,
      You’ve gone a bit far and extreme with your comments on this post. The original post was a tribute to Benedict XVI, and we asked readers to comment with their own tributes. If you do not care about who the College of Cardinals elects or do not care about the papacy, that is your prerogative. But that is not what BCI is about, and your comments starting with “I frankly don’t give a flying feck…” essentially say that you are writing off the papacy. That is not productive–and certainly not here. Surely you must know by now, BCI is not the place to be discussing a lack of fundamental belief in the papacy. Though you may have an apocalyptic view of the future of the Catholic Church, again, BCI is not the place for that topic.

      • tryingtofigurethisout says:

        BCI, Again, if the goal here ( in general ) is to get some people to pay attention to the main issues that you try and bring out here like fiduciary abuses and fidelity abuses in the RCAB, then you are not helping in any way accomplish that by letting this guy post… You have brought to light so many good points and issues that need to be addressed by the RCAB….But no one in Braintree or anywhere else for the most part is going to take anything on this site seriously if posts like that are allowed to be associated with your Blog’s name or if a nut job like him is allowed to continue to stain the name of the Blog… Just about ever ranting out of this guy’s mouth is an apostacy and he is nothing short of a blasphemer.. Do you really think anyone from the RCAB with any influence is going to refer to anything with any seriousness that can be tied to this guy.? look at his posts .. he goes on and on renouncing just about everything and still can’t help himself by commenting on who the next pope will be… He is , in addition to all of the above, a narcissist… Cut this guy off for the good of the blog.. he contributes nothing

  7. Michael says:

    Jack, I think I agree with you generally. But one thing that I don’t agree with is your comment … “The Supreme Court has decreed that there is a right to abortion. However specious the foundation of that ‘right’ is constitutionally, it is the law of the land.” St. Thomas Aquinas said: an unjust law is no law at all. So even if the legislature had passed an actual law allowing abortion – it would not be “the law of the land.” But the Court, which has no legislative authority, could not create “a law” and thus likewise again, their opinion is not “the law of the land” no matter how many times they or the enslaved claim that it is. The specious foundation of the “right” is precisely why it is not actually a “right” but in fact a wrong and illegal under natural law – which is all that really matters. So I say disenfranchise and excommunicate all Catholic politicians who don’t understand or can’t comply.

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      Michael, I am not a constitutional lawyer. By “specious” I meant that there is not a “right” to abortion in the US Constitution, however broadly or strictly one construes it.

      I agree completely with your remarks about St. Thomas Aquinas. But in a secular republic, one should not be astonished that not every citizen accepts the Angelic Doctor’s wisdom as a legal criterion. Hence my observation that Catholic politicians would be disenfranchised by the bishops were they to be held to the Magisterium in their secular legislative or juridical votes. I guess this boils down to “if you think abortion is wrong, don’t have one.”

      Were I the pope, I would excommunicate almost anyone whose name appeared favorably in the popular liberal press and I would suppress forthwith the novus ordo masonic service. So you probably don’t want me as the long-shot candidate for the shoes of the Fisherman. 🙂

      But to a profounder theologic point: were those shoes Pradas?

  8. Jack Davenport says:

    Jack O’Malley is enjoying his few minutes of attention. Safe to say he does have a bit of an odd hobby.

  9. Carolyn says:

    Crazy idea but my comment has to do with praise for Benedict XVI…

    He learned a lot as pope. It seemed that from his desk at the CDF things looked different — so very black and white. As pontiff, he realized, I think, that clergy and laity have really suffered for a long time. He realized that cardinals don’t have all the answers. He realized that he didn’t have all the answers.

    JP2 chose “not to come down from the Cross.” This meant he also couldn’t go abroad and see the Church for himself any longer. Once Benedict was pope, he saw through the eyes of the universal pastor, and began to understand both the universality of the Church and her diverse challenges. It seemed to this one Catholic in the backwater called Boston that Benedict began to see, in every sense of the word. He saw the need for intense prayer, and he saw the need for the Church to plead for forgiveness to all those whose wounds were still fresh. He saw the need to get out the cleaning supplies and clear up the odious elements in the Vatican.

    When first I heard that Ratzinger was elected pope, I wasn’t thrilled. Like others, it seemed to me that the Church ached for a dynamic presence in its pontiff again. But the decision of the electors to rely on Benedict to hold the reins during a tumultuous period now makes sense to me. Back in 2005, I don’t think anyone realized just how rocky the seas would be for those eight years, and not just in the Vatican.

    When BXVI mentioned that the seas had been rough and at times it seemed Jesus was asleep, it was clear that the man who came out from behind the desk at the CDF had learned a great deal, and accomplished more than we may ever know.

  10. Jack O'Malley says:

    Good Lord! I perceive a tempest of protest has arisen consequent to my little anti-encomium of Pope Benedict XVI (Emeritus). It is said that de mortuis nil nisi bonum, but Papa Ratzinger is not dead and, God willing, will remain in vivis ad multos annos. Since he has merely abdicated, why should his actions not be subject to criticism? Eum laudabo mortuum (si vivus ero).

    I will mention en passant that I was elated when Ratzinger was elected. Though I knew him to be tainted by his V2 rôle as Frings’ peritus, I had thought that a couple of decades in the CDF would have mellowed him. They had to a degree; but not enough in my estimation. He was still the V2 peritus seeking an illusory, what he called, « hermeneutic of continuity. »

    I will pass over the potentially deleterious ramifications of his “resignation”. That is for another day and, indeed, beyond the scope of BCI’s self-imposed charter.

    As to the profligacy of my invective, I can agree somewhat. I don’t have the skill of a Chrysostom, whose acid verbiage etched and disfigured the countenance of his enemies. Nor do I have the time to measure my rhetoric for the paltry and ephemeral medium of a combox.

    But I will agree I went beyond the beyonds in at least one respect: I retract the allusion to Bishop Fellay. Were he to be appointed to the CDF I would buy a one-way ticket to Rome and stand daily in la Piazza San Pietro until I had been successful in kissing the Fisherman’s Ring and then attend the True Mass in the Basilica di San Pietro till my dying day.

    As to the comments about my denial of the papacy or the Magisterium, including those made by the blog authors, I exhort them to read the last sentence of my comment. You do me an injustice. I in no wise deny either. I look for a pope who will match words with deeds. This Ratzinger did not do, much to my disappointment.

    As to Jack Davenport, he is right. I indeed have an odd hobby. I am learning to grow hops. I pray to the holy mystic St. Hildegard von Bingen as she was the first to recognise the amarifacient, aromatic, preservative and soporific effects of hops. And my wife prays to her as well as she was the first accurately to describe the female orgasm and its inducement. The Church has a long history of the cultivation of the good of the physical gifts du Bon Dieu in this life. It is due to the genius of this Doctor of the Church that we owe this scientific knowledge. Some of the Jansenists commenting on this blog might benefit from reading Her history. Note the capital ‘H’. One can’t assume the claque will actually read a comment with understanding before expectorating its collective bilious faux exegesis.

    Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine / there’s always laughter and good red wine. / At least I’ve always thought it so, / Benedicamus Domino. Hilaire Belloc was a good guy and an eminently amusing poetaster.

    • BettyDraper says:

      Jack O’Mally

      Your writing is so beautiful, it is almost like a symphony!
      Good for you!

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