Bishop Deeley's remarks on the Passing of Pope Benedict XVI

Excerpts from the bishop's homily during New Year's Day Mass (the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God) at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.

As we gather as Church this morning, though we begin a new year, with all the expectation and hope that is part of that celebration, we also are saddened as a community, as the family of the Church, by the loss of a great man, priest, and leader of the Church. I speak, of course, of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who died yesterday morning. It is not surprising given his age of 95 and we had been told he was in a weakened condition, but it is sad, nonetheless.

It was my privilege to work with Pope Benedict when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger and assisting St. John Paul II by directing the office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Pope Benedict’s influence on the Church has been profound for the last 60 years. He began as a young influential theologian at the Second Vatican Council, and he continued through his 24 years of leading the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to strengthen the Church and make known the Good News of the Gospel. Then he was called to lead the Church as pope...

...When I think of this great man, I am touched by the way his great theological scholarship always led those who listened to him deeper into a knowledge of God. Pope Benedict spoke to us of God, and, in particular, God in Jesus Christ. While he was pope, for example, he managed to write a three-volume study of the Gospels and the life of Christ. The final volume was a slim one on the birth of Christ. In the introduction to that volume, he summarized in his own humble way what I think was his life work: “My hope is that this short book, despite its limitations, will be able to help many people on their path toward and alongside Jesus.”

In the kindness of his own life, he showed us what peace a relationship with Christ can bring. With Pope Francis, we can offer our profound gratitude to the Lord for the gift of Pope Benedict XVI and his ministry. In charity to his memory we also prayerfully beg our Lord to give this loyal servant of the Church eternal rest.