Benedict “less a severe Defender of the Faith than a promoter God’s love,” says Forces Bishop

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Bishop Paul Mason, Catholic Bishop of the Forces, has issued a statement following the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

“With great sadness we pray today for the repose of the soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

“When thinking of Benedict it is often his intellect and clarity of thought which come to mind, gifts which were employed at the Second Vatican Council where he served as an “expert”. His interpretation of the Council as a continuation of the Church’s missionary work in harmony with its tradition was, and still is, of great significance. For Benedict the Council was not a revolution but an evolution of the Church’s outreach to the world in teaching the Good News.

“Sometimes caricatured as “God’s Rottweiler”, he was a gentle and quiet man. His UK visit in 2010 owed much of its success to his own personal qualities and warmth. I attended his speech at Westminster Hall in 2010 where he delivered some challenging words but in such a way as to promote discussion and open debate. He was less a severe Defender of the Faith than a promoter God’s love and joy which formed and informed his outlook. In this sense his orthodoxy was positive and affirmative. It was his focus on the person of Jesus and a desire always to return to the Son of God as the source of revelation which made his writing and his teaching so rich.

“Benedict may be a great loss to the Church and the world but he leaves it richer due to his love of God and his service to His Church.

“May he rest in peace…”