February 2, 2023

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For conservative Catholics in the United States, the death of Pope Benedict is the loss of a hero

He simply added, “I will miss Pope Benedict.”

Cardinal Dolan called on every parishioner in the Archdiocese of New York to offer Mass “For the mercy of the Lord upon his generous soul, and in thanksgiving for his calling as successor to St. Peter’s. May the angels lead him to Heaven!”

As a young priest and theologian in the 1960s, Benedict attended the Second Vatican Council, where he was seen as a relative liberal at a time of radical change in the Church’s rituals, rituals, and approach to the secular world. He was later disturbed by what he saw as a left-wing theological deviation in the church, although he said his theological positions had not changed.

“You could say this is the final curtain-drawing on Vatican II,” said Bishop Robert Barron of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester in Minnesota and the influential founder of Catholic media organization Word on Fire.

The fact that the papacy after Benedict’s papacy lasted nearly a decade surprised many observers, said Bishop Barron, describing Benedict as an essentially introverted intellectual. “The way he’s lived the last 10 years has probably been the way he wants to live his life,” he said.

Benedict’s retirement, unprecedented in modern times, was a bombshell that set off over time. “For a lot of Catholics, he may be a very distant figure,” said Bishop Barron.

For others, the loss is that of an intellectual titan and beloved pastoral figure.

Helen Alvari, associate dean at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law, has been studying Benedict’s work since the 1980s.

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She said she was just reading this week’s “Truth and Forgiveness,” a compilation of Joseph Ratzinger’s earlier lectures on Catholic teaching in the context of contemporary world religion.