Benedict XVI’s first death anniverssary held/ Pope praised Bededict’s wisdom

RELIGIONS NEWS AGENCY (REDNA) – Tributes were paid on Sunday the first anniversary of the death of Pope Benedict XVI. 

AP reported Pope Francis praised his love and wisdom and Benedict’s private secretary expressed hope he might one day be declared a saint.

Benedict, the first pope to retire in six centuries, died last Dec. 31 at the age of 95 in the Vatican monastery where he spent 10 years as a pope emeritus.

He is buried in the grottoes underneath St. Peter’s Basilica.

Speaking at the end of his weekly noon blessing, Francis said the faithful feel “so much love, so much gratitude, so much admiration” for Benedict.

He praised the “love and wisdom” with which Benedict guided the church and asked for a round of applause from the pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Francis frequently praised Benedict’s decision to retire as courageous and said he, too, might follow in his footsteps. But now that Benedict has died, Francis has reaffirmed the papacy is generally a job for life, and a consensus has emerged that the unprecedented reality of having two popes living side by side in the Vatican created problems that must be addressed before any future pope decides to step down.

Benedict, a noted conservative theologian who spent a quarter-century as the Vatican’s doctrine chief, remained a point of reference for conservatives and traditionalists, who have only increased their criticism of Francis in the year since he died. Francis, for his part, has appeared now to feel more free to impose his progressive vision of a reformed church now he is no longer under Benedict’s shadow.

Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni also praised Benedict as “a great man of history and a giant of reason, faith and the positive synthesis between the two.”

In a statement, she said his spiritual and intellectual legacy would live on even among nonbelievers because of its “profound civic value” and ability to speak to people’s minds and hearts.

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