Statement on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict

Today we join with the church throughout the world, and especially with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and all in the Catholic Church, in mourning the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. 

While many people associate Pope Benedict with his traditional approach to Catholic teaching, we also want to remember his commitment to the ecumenical dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion. When he visited Lambeth Palace in 2010 as part of his State Visit to the United Kingdom, he told a gathering of Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops that he gave thanks, "for the remarkable progress that has been made in so many areas of dialogue during the forty years that have elapsed since the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) began its work”. The Pontiff added, “Let us entrust the fruits of that work to the Lord of the harvest, confident that he will bless our friendship with further significant growth". 

He had great esteem and clear affection for our former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Bishop David, the Anglican Co-Chairman of IARCCUM, the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, said, “I was encouraged by the acknowledgement of Pope Benedict and Archbishop Williams, who stated together that ‘our fellowship in the service of Christ, promoted by IARCCUM and experienced by many of our communities around the world, adds a further impetus to our relationship’“. As bishops in this diocese, we are grateful for his reminder to all Christians of our ecumenical responsibility to press forward in our dialogue and relations. As he once said, "There is too much at stake to turn back".

Pope Benedict XVI was an outstanding theologian and teacher and a man of deep faith. May he now be welcomed into the joys of Christ's kingdom and in the company of all the saints into life everlasting.