Together with the whole Church in Poland, I thank the Lord God for the beautiful life and pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, trusting that they are already bringing a blessed harvest now and will bring a blessed harvest in the future,” wrote the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki in his condolences following the death of Pope Senior Benedict XVI.
„It is with great sadness, but also with deep faith in eternal life, that I received the news of the passing to the House of the Father of Benedict XVI – Pope Emeritus, one of the most outstanding successors of St. Peter in recent centuries, a man of deep faith, a brilliant theologian, a long-time collaborator of St. John Paul II, a devoted friend of Poland and the Poles,” wrote the President of the Bishops’ Conference.
Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference
We publish the full text of the condolences:
December 31, 2022.
Beloved Holy Father,
It is with great sadness, but also with deep faith in eternal life, that I have received the news of the passing to the House of the Father of Benedict XVI – Pope Emeritus, one of the most outstanding successors of St. Peter in recent centuries, a man of deep faith, a brilliant theologian, a long-time collaborator of St. John Paul II, a devoted friend of Poland and the Poles.
An outstanding person passes on to another life. It is impossible to embrace all dimensions of his extraordinary life and ministry – professor of theological sciences, lecturer at the universities of Bonn, Münster, Tübingen and Regensburg; at the time of the Second Vatican Council – theological advisor to the Archbishop of Cologne, then Archbishop Metropolitan of Munich and Freising, since 1977 a cardinal; President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, President of the International Theological Commission, member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for Catholic Education, and the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. Catholic Education, the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; finally, a long-time prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, dean of the College of Cardinals, tender shepherd of the Universal Church and faithful teacher of the Gospel of Christ to the people of God, humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard, devoted collaborator with the Truth, who served the Church with courage and humility in silence, prayer, and suffering, even after the announcement of his decision to abdicate.
An author of hundreds of scholarly publications on dogmatic and fundamental theology, especially on Christology, anthropology, soteriology, ecclesiology, eschatology, and ecumenism. Author of three encyclicals, four apostolic exhortations, and other papal documents, countless homilies, speeches, and lectures. During his pontificate, he proclaimed 44 saints and 289 blessed, including his predecessor John Paul II, Simon of Lipnica, Maria Merkert, and Michael Sopoćko. Following in the footsteps of St. John Paul II, he became a pilgrim of the world, making 24 apostolic trips abroad, including to Poland in 2006, and 33 trips in Italy.
Already today, the life, theological legacy, and pontificate of this great Pope – filled with boundless love for Christ and the Church – are an inspiration to new generations of Christ’s disciples, providing a profound, clear, and vivid commentary on the deposit of the apostolic faith, of which he has been a guardian and trustee over the years.
„Those saddened by the certainty of dying might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come. Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.” (Preface on the Dead, 86). Therefore, together with the entire Church that is in Poland, I thank the Lord God for the beautiful life and pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, trusting that they are already bringing a blessed harvest now and will bring a blessed harvest in the future.
Through the intercession of the Lady of Jasna Gora, I ask the Good God for mercy for the Deceased Pole, while assuring the prayers of the Church in Poland in his intentions.
May he rest in peace!
✠ Stanislaw Gądecki
Archbishop Metropolitan of Poznań
President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference
(Translation: Sr. Amata J. Nowaszewska / Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference)