Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Vigneron issue statement on death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Benedict, the first pope in over 600 years to resign the papacy, died December 31 in Vatican City. He was 95.

In response to news of the December 31 death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron shares his “great gratitude to God for the great gift he was to the Church."

Pope Emeritus Benedict died December 31 at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City. Archbishop Vigneron, who Benedict appointed as Archbishop of Detroit in 2009, recalls the many gifts of Pope Emeritus Benedict:

“While his many gifts have long been evident—his penetrating intellect, his piety, his courage—what most resonates with me now is his profound humility and the gentleness with which he exercised his ministry.

“God was good to his Church in Our Holy Father Pope Benedict, and he was generous to us in his service. Let us return the favor by praying fervently for him, that he may be welcomed quickly into the kingdom.

“Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.”

Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 29, 1951. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1977 by Pope Paul VI.

Upon the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, Ratzinger was elevated to the papacy on April 19, taking the name Benedict. In February 2013, Pope Benedict became the first pope in centuries to resign from his post, stating, “ order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

As Pope Emeritus, he spent much of his resignation away from the public eye and serving the Church through a life of prayer.

Pope Emeritus Benedict’s funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Square on January 5, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. Central European Time (3:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time).