VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVII has died. Greg Palkot, senior international affairs journalist for Fox News, looks back on the former Pope’s life and legacy.
John Paul II died after more than 25 years as Pope, and the cardinals convened to choose his successor. It only took them two days to hire a 78-year-old German. A scholarly man who didn’t appear to be interested.
John Paul II turned to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for advice on Catholic doctrine for many years. Earning a reputation as a diehard conservative. The idea behind Pope Benedict’s fight against relativism was that what is true for one person may not be true for another.
Pope Benedict’s 2008 journey to the United States will be remembered not only for his birthday party in the White House, but for a number of other reasons as well. Following a visit at Ground Zero, a mass was held at Yankee Stadium. But also by the candor with which he handled the sex abuse crisis.
Nonetheless, sexual abuse would follow him throughout his career. As the European crisis erupted, opponents accused Benedict of having a spotty record on abuse. There were other issues as well. Benedict upset Muslims by implying that Islam is a violent religion in his address.
And he sparked international outrage by lifting the excommunication of four dissident bishops. Richard Williamson, one of them, turned out to be a Holocaust denier.
Benedict had never been a politician. The pope was an intellectual and a priest first and foremost. He became interested in both as a child in southern Germany. Pope Benedict never imagined himself to be anything more than a priest and a university professor, but that all changed when he was elected Pope.
Benedict went to many places, such as Germany, Australia, and Portugal, where he was praised. In 2010, Pope Benedict made the first state visit by a pontiff to the United Kingdom, with all the hoopla that entails, including a meeting with the Queen.
The Pope delivered an address to dignitaries and lawmakers in Westminster Hall—a large gathering in a key site. The exact location was over 500 years ago. Thomas More, a Catholic saint, was executed.
Despite the fact that he was approaching 85 at the time and had only recently begun to use a cane in public. On March 20, 2012, Pope Benedict also visited Mexico, one of the world’s largest Catholic countries, and Cuba. The church’s activities in the island nation have been severely restricted, and the pope has begged that Catholics be permitted to run their schools there at the very least.
In one of the most crucial judgments of his pontificate, Benedict the 15th put John Paul the Second on the fast track to sainthood. Deciding that his predecessor should be “blessed,” the final step before he is formally declared a saint.
Benedict stepped down as the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church in 2013 due to his age and failing health. Pope Benedict XVI was the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to retire in nearly 600 years, shocking Catholic faithful around the world.