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U.S. Catholic bishops mourn Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Some Catholic Bishops in the U.S. Saturday mourned the death of His Holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who died at the age of 95.

Rt. Rev. Robert Brennan, Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn, in a statement, said Pope Benedict made tremendous contributions to the Second Vatican Council as a priest and theologian.

“Many of his contributions made their way into the documents of the council, which charted the course for the Church in the modern era.

“Pope Benedict XVI had a great mind, and his books have inspired me.

“He was a great teacher who helped us to understand and live our faith more profoundly,’’ he said.

Also in a statement, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, described Pope Benedict as a “superb theologian” and “effective teacher of the faith.

“As a priest, university professor and theologian, archbishop, and cardinal, his voice in deepening an authentic understanding led all of us to a more profound love of truth and the mystery of God,” Broglio, head of the U.S. military archdiocese said.

“It will take many years for us to delve more deeply into the wealth of learning that he has left us.”

Archbishop Broglio also highlighted Pope Benedict’s decision to resign, and the decision “continued his teaching about courage, humility, and love for the Church.”

“He recognised the great demands made of him as the chief shepherd of the Universal Church of a billion Catholics worldwide and his physical limitations for such a monumental task.

“Even in retirement, retreating to live out a life in quiet prayer and study, he continued to teach us how to be a true disciple of Christ while still contributing to his legacy.”

According to him, generations will continue to be enriched by his books, discourses, and homilies. They all reveal a depth of learning and reflection that is essential both in our time and in the future.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the New York Archdiocese said in a statement that the “human family grieves the passing of this erudite, wise, and holy man, who spoke truth with love.”

Benedict was the first pope in 600 years to resign. Benedict had become increasingly frail during his almost 10 years of retirement.

Benedict’s decision in 2013 to resign paved the way for the conclave that elected Pope Francis.

The two popes then lived side-by-side in the Vatican gardens in an unprecedented arrangement that set the stage for future “popes emeritus” to do the same.

The Vatican said that Pope Francis would celebrate the funeral Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday.

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