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CBCP remembers Benedict XVI as 'Pope of Charity'; Filipinos urged to pray for him

By NICK GARCIA Published Jan 01, 2023 12:04 pm

Benedict XVI will be remembered as the "Pope of Charity," the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said following the former pope's death on Dec. 31.

"Among the many charisms God had bestowed on him, he will be specially remembered as a great theologian, catechist, and musician," CBCP President Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said in a statement.

"He spent the last years of his life as an emeritus pope in solitude and contemplation, supporting the universal Church and Pope Francis spiritually with his prayers," David added.

Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula, meanwhile, on Radyo Veritas asked Filipino Catholics to include the pope in their Mass intentions.

"Let's join together in prayer, Holy Hour, and rosary for Pope Benedict," Advincula said. "May Pope Benedict XVI experience the presence of Jesus who is our Light and Savior during this holiday season. Let us entrust him to God and to the care of the Blessed Virgin."

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., for his part, on Twitter said the Philippines is in "deep sorrow" upon Benedict's passing. The country is predominantly Catholic and has the largest Catholic population in Asia.

"The Philippines is one in offering our prayers for the eternal repose of his soul. We keep his loved ones in our prayers," Marcos said.

Benedict was born Joseph Ratzinger on April 16, 1972, in Germany.

He was ordained as a priest in 1951, then as a cardinal in 1977. He resigned as pope in 2013 after an eight-year service due to poor health, the first pontiff to do so in six centuries after Gregory XII in 1415.

He lived a quiet life in a former convent inside the Vatican grounds since stepping down from his post. The Vatican on Dec. 31 announced that he died on Dec. 31 at the age of 95.

Benedict's successor Pope Francis will lead a "solemn but simple" funeral for him on Thursday, Jan. 5.