Benedict spoke with clarity and courage amid the confusion of our times

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The Right Reverend Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, said that during the visit to Britain by Pope Benedict in 2010 the country met “a gentle and serene pastor, a man of great learning and understanding of the modern world who spoke with clarity and courage amid the confusion of our times.”

Bishop Davies said: “I was appointed Bishop of Shrewsbury by Pope Benedict and will always remember the 15 minutes I spent discussing the situation of the Shrewsbury Diocese with him.

“He spoke that day of the need of courage in giving witness to Christ. This was the courage we saw in Pope Benedict himself who was by nature reserved yet called to undertake great responsibilities in the Church and to give witness before the world. This witness will be enduring. May he rest in peace.”

The German pope died at 9.34am on 31 December 2022, in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, his residence, after his health deteriorated sharply.

His body is lying in state at St Peter’s Basilica until his Requiem Mass on Thursday, 5 January, celebrated by Pope Francis, his successor.

The Pope used his general audience on 28 December to reveal to the world the declining health of Benedict and to request prayers for him, saying he was “very ill”.

The Emeritus Pope received the Sacrament of the Sick later that day.

It later emerged that he was losing consciousness, and his decline was attributed to old age. He rallied later in the week and by Thursday had become sufficiently strong to participate in a Mass from his bed.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 95 years.