As Benedict XVI has just completed his earthly life, the Pontifical Institute John Paul II joins in the sadness and thanksgiving of the whole Church for his ministry as a priest, a theologian, an archbishop in Germany and then in the Curia, and finally as Bishop of Rome.
Many of our former students who are now professors in one or other of the Institute’s international branches had the opportunity to continue their studies in Rome under his pontificate, to listen to his homilies and to be nourished by his teaching. Particularly attentive to the links between faith and the sacrament of marriage, Benedict XVI based his understanding of the Christian faith on the revelation, in Jesus Christ, that God is love, the title he wanted to give to his first encyclical.
An indefatigable reader of the Bible and a connoisseur of other religions, Benedict XVI wrote in his first encyclical about the unique value of eros in the biblical faith: “Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of God’s relationship with his people and vice versa: the way God loves becomes the measure of human love.
A servant of the Church even in the care he took in examining his own conscience, he relinquished his pontifical office almost 10 years ago, passing on the draft of an encyclical to his successor. Pope Francis completed the work, so that his first encyclical, entitled The Light of Faith, became the link between the two pontiffs. Benedict XVI then edified us with his willingness to seek God in silence and to pray for the boat of Peter.
With Pope Francis, let us give thanks for Pope Emeritus Benedict, entrust him to the Lord’s mercy and be sure that we can count on his intercession.
Mons. Philippe Bordeyne