Reflections on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

As many of you heard, on Dec. 31, 2022, the final day of the year (and Feast day of a Saintly Pope, St. Sylvester), the retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away.

I thought I’d share with you some well-articulated thoughts from some from our own Archdiocese.

First, some thoughts from our own Archbishop Jackels:

“Some may remember that I worked in the office led by Cardinal Ratzinger before he was elected Pope Benedict XVI.

During those eight years, I rarely had contact with him. He knew who I was, but he didn’t know me (very small fish, really big pond). I likewise didn’t know him, except for what I observed, which is this:

True, he loved our holy Catholic Faith, and thought and fought that Jesus’ disciples should follow the Master. But what I observed was a Christian gentleman …

Humble and loving, as a friend of Jesus should be; kind and gentle in his speech and behavior towards others, even those who pushed the doctrinal envelope; and very cultured and well-mannered as is befitting a gentleman.

He was super smart and holy … I had great respect for him …

His last words were said to be: ‘Jesus, I love you.’ How beautiful.”

Furthermore, one of our newly ordained priests of Dubuque, Fr. Ben Valentine, happened to be visiting Rome when Pope Benedict passed, and was interviewed for an article for the Jan. 2, 2023 National Catholic Register:

Fr. Ben Valentine of Dubuque, Iowa, who was ordained to the priesthood earlier this year, said it was in the seminary that he began to learn more about Pope Benedict XVI, and in particular, his theological works.

“For me, I just see him as someone with so much depth to his theology,” he said. “He unfolds the riches of the church in a way that’s so attractive, so beautiful.”

Valentine recalled a quote from Benedict’s inauguration as pope in 2005 – after the former German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope by the cardinals following the death of Pope John Paul II – where the-then new pontiff told those gathered in St. Peter’s Square: “Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything.” Valentine said, “I’ve repeated that line so many times, that’s my experience in life.”


– Fr. Kevin

PS: I, Fr. Kevin, will be gone to a conference Jan. 9-13, therefore no daily Masses this week.

PPS: Also a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone for the kindly Christmas cards, the Christmas treats, and the generous gifts!