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Bishop Knestout’s Reflection on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

For Immediate Release: December 31, 2022

Bishop Barry C. Knestout Statement on the Death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (April 16, 1927 – Dec. 31, 2022)

Served as the 265th Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church

Elected pope April 19, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, became the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church succeeding Saint Pope John Paul II and selecting the name Benedict XVI. He resigned as the bishop of Rome Feb. 28, 2013, after serving eight years citing his decision due to advanced age and declining strength.

(RICHMOND, Va.)  – Today, Bishop Knestout issued the following statement after his death was announced Dec. 31, 2022. He has also directed every parish to pray for the repose of the soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict at Masses this weekend, the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Photo Credit: Vatican Media 2009

 “We grieve with the rest of the world at the passing of His Holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He will be remembered for many accomplishments in his papacy, but perhaps, his most notable success we will look back and remember him for is his accomplishment as president of the Commission for Drafting the Catechism of the Catholic Church in which he immersed himself for six years of intense work.

“I have a special bond to the retired pope as much of my early formation of my episcopacy is linked to him. Pope Benedict named me an auxiliary bishop for Washington and my episcopal motto “Christ Our Hope” I chose was also the theme of his papal visit in 2008 to Washington. It was an immense honor for me to meet him and co-chair the committee that planned his papal visit 14 years ago. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have met him.

“As I mentioned when I first came to the diocese, I found Pope Benedict to have been a witness to hope, a virtue that is especially needed in our present age.

“Although, he is known as an academic and theologian, his writings, especially those reflecting on the life of Christ, offered practical and widely appreciated pastoral reflections. His pastoral sensitivity and ability to communicate with a wide audience were gifts that went hand in hand with his theological and doctrinal expertise.

“I admired him for his gentle spirit, and his dedication to the life and good of the church as well as his clear love for Christ. I ask all in the diocese to join me in prayer for Pope Benedict XVI and the repose of his soul.”