Benedict XVI, who sat on the Throne of St. Peter for a little less that eight years before resigning, died on December 31, 2022, at the age of 95. This was only the second time that the Church saw a pope resign since St. Celestine V, who had only reigned for 5 months in 1294.
Born in 1927 in Bavaria, Germany, Joseph Ratzinger was ordained a priest on June 29, 1951. He became Bishop of Munich and Freising in 1977 and was created cardinal the same year. In 1981, he was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position he held for more than 23 years. He was elected to the sovereign pontificate on April 19, 2005.
History will remember his pontificate for its attempt to reconcile the Second Vatican Council with the Tradition of the Church, an attempt marked by the “hermeneutic of continuity,” as opposed to the “hermeneutic of rupture.” During the years that passed after his resignation, Benedict XVI witnessed the failure of this attempt play out under the pontificate of his successor.
History will also remember his 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which, despite its shortcomings, affirmed that the traditional Latin Mass had never been abrogated and was instrumental in making this Mass more widely available to Catholics all over the world.
Fr. Davide Pagliarani, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, invites all the members of the Society and the lay faithful to pray for the repose of the soul of Benedict XVI, and to entrust him to the mercy of God.
Requiescat in pace