Dec. 31, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters,
Early this morning, we learned of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and we in the Diocese of Duluth join the whole Church in mourning. The retired pope was not only one of the preeminent theologians of our time and a Successor of St. Peter but also a shepherd who proclaimed the Christian life to be rooted in an encounter with a person — Jesus — and His love for us, and our way of life one of ongoing friendship with Him.
In a homily near the beginning of his papacy, Benedict said this: “... Only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The task of the shepherd ... can often seem wearisome. But it is beautiful and wonderful, because it is truly a service to joy, to God’s joy which longs to break into the world.”
In his many years of serving the Church, the pope emeritus left us great encyclicals on love and hope and Catholic social teaching, but I find myself particularly grateful for his book series on Jesus of Nazareth. I invite you to encounter once again the writings of this gifted theologian and teacher. And I ask you to join with the whole Church in praying for the repose of his soul.
With blessings of healing, hope, and joy in Jesus,
+ Bishop Daniel