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Cardinals and bishops see funeral as befitting Benedict XVI’s personality

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Bishops present at the funeral of Benedict XVI have highlighted the sobriety of the ceremony and the appropriateness of the liturgy, in a pope who paid special attention to the deep meaning of the liturgy. Thus, in declarations to Europa Press at the conclusion of the ceremony, Cardinal Juan José Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona and President of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), stressed that the funeral “was dignified and profound”. “A funeral is not to go launching rockets, but to go internalizing the great mystery of the resurrection of Jesus,” he stressed.

In this sense, he affirmed that “it has been a really prayerful context”. “It was what Benedict XVI always asked, that the liturgy leads us to the mystery, not folklore. And here we have lived the mystery of Christ, expressed in a liturgy that Ratzinger loved so much. Respectful, profound and with symbols”, he added.

Cardinal Omella emphasized that Pope Francis’ words “have placed us on the path that was Benedict’s”. “We are on our way to the Father’s house, we are witnesses of the good news of Jesus, and witnesses of hope,” he said.

In his opinion, if he could sum up Benedict’s life in one word, it would be “hope.” “And the Pope has given us today that cry of hope from the Gospel. In his words today he spoke of hope, welcome and mercy. And having the idea that we are witnesses here, we cannot live disincarnated from this world,” he stressed.

For his part, Spanish Cardinal Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also told Europa Press that his “feeling” is that the Lord is with them and that Pope Benedict “enjoys Him in heaven”. In addition, he has valued the work of Joseph Ratzinger as his predecessor for many years at the head of the Congregation.

Another Spaniard with a position in the Roman Curia, Luis Marin de San Martin, noted that, in his homily, the Pope reflected something fundamental in Benedict’s message: “the centrality of Christ.” “The entire Christian life, all the theological work of Joseph Ratzinger has Christ at the center,” added the undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops. The ceremony was very dignified. The fire was in the hearts of those present, not in the temperature,” he said, referring to the unseasonable morning experienced by the thousands of faithful present at the ceremony.

Marín de San Martín pointed out that “Benedict was a discreet, simple, humble man, but with the fire of Christ in his heart”. “I believe that all of us who participated have Christ in our hearts and we have lived a very intense moment, of solid spirituality, not so much fireworks but of experience, as has been the whole life of Joseph Ratzinger,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Burgos, Mario Iceta, another of the Spanish ecclesiastics present at the farewell to Benedict XVI, agreed that the Holy Father’s homily seemed to him “really beautiful, profound, with the elements that identify a pastor dedicated to his Church. He started from the Gospel, speaking of the care of the people of God. I liked it very much and I find it very accurate,” he said.

For the Archbishop of Burgos, the ceremony reflected the spirit of Pope Benedict, in the sense that it was “sober, profound and beautiful, with a very significant climate of gratitude and respect”. “Pope Benedict, in that care for the liturgy, in that living of the liturgy is today what we have lived in a simple and solemn way. The whole square was in that harmony of gratitude to God for the life and teaching of the Pope Emeritus,” he said.

Iceta also said that this ceremony meant for him “to accompany him in this last step in his journey on earth”. I have followed his magisterium very closely and I think it was a sign of affection and gratitude to God for the great gift of his life and the care of the Church during eight years as Pope and his immense dedication to the Church as a priest, as a theologian, as a professor,” he said. It has been a life fully dedicated to the Lord, with fidelity, humility and simplicity».

In addition, he considers that “intellectually he has been a giant of thought” and a reference to know the thought of the second half of the twentieth century and of the XXI century. In this sense, he sees in Ratzinger “merits to be declared doctor of the Church”. “His teachings have been broad and deep, and of encounter and dialogue with contemporary culture. It is not a timeless thought, but responds to the challenges that the world lives today. It is of an extraordinary theological and thought height”, he assured.

In this sense, the Italian Cardinal Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Council for Social Communications, emphasized his gratitude to the Pope Emeritus, because he was the man who called him to communication». “He gave me this task: when he launched the first tweet in the world he wanted me to be at his side. He was very conscious and very wise in knowing that you had to talk to people in today’s language, in the world of digital communications. He was a man of great wisdom, who knew how to guide the Church and to accompany her and, in this last time, to accompany her with his presence and prayer. It is the testimony of a man faithful to his word,” he said.

The also Italian Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, pointed out that it was a “Christological” homily, very much in keeping with the celebration that was taking place. ” think it is very beautiful what he said about being in the hands of Jesus crucified, who welcomes him. This spiritual aspect is very significant, even more so in the context of what the death of a man who has spoken a lot about Jesus, and who now goes to meet him, really means,” he stressed.

For his part, the Uruguayan Guzmán Carriquiry agreed that «it was a solemn, simple ceremony”. “The atmosphere of silence and prayer throughout the ceremony was striking,” he said. Carriquiry, a Uruguayan layman who was vice-president of the Commission for Latin America and of the Council for the Laity, at the end of the funeral Mass for Benedict XVI, said he was “grateful to the Pope Emeritus and moved.”

“We had a personal friendship. He knew us, he knew the names of our children He will be a doctor of the Church, because he knew how to combine tradition with novelty, to introduce us to the great mystery of the faith. And we have experienced the relationship of continuity between his magisterium and that of Pope Francis,” he concluded. (EUROPA PRESS)



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