Benedict XVI remembered as ‘Pope of Charity’

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (VATICAN NEWS)

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has offered sympathies over the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, describing him as the “Pope of Charity.”

“Eternal rest grant unto Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him,” said CBCP President and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David in a statement on Saturday, Dec. 31.

“If Pope Francis is known as the Pope of Mercy and Joy, Pope Benedict will be remembered as the Pope of Charity,” said David.

David said that “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,” the prelate said.

David asked the faithful to pray for the soul of the former pope. “Let us commend him to the Lord and pray for his eternal repose,” he said.

“I wish to thank all of you who accompanied him in prayer and offered special Mass intentions for his peaceful passage into eternal life,” said David.

“We will fondly remember him, especially those among us bishops, who had been appointed by him to the episcopal ministry. (It was Pope Benedict XVI who appointed me bishop in July 2006),” he added.

Pope Benedict XVI, 95, died on Saturday at 9:34 a.m. (Vatican time) at the Mater Ecclesia Monastery in the Vatican as announced by Vatican Spokesman Matteo Bruni.

Last Dec. 28, Pope Francis urged the faithful to pray for Pope Benedict XVI as the latter was "very ill."

The former pontiff was chosen to become the 265th pope in April 2005—succeeding Pope John Paul II. He then stepped down as the head of the Catholic Church in February 2013, citing health reasons. It was reported that he became the first pope to resign in 600 years.

During his stint, Pope Benedict XVI “named 8 archbishops and 22 bishops to oversee the temporal affairs and accounts of local pastoral territories in the country,” the CBCP News said.