A tribute to Pope Benedict XVI - Pastor, thinker, scholar and admirer of Saint Augustine

The Maltese Augustinian Province joins the Church in its sorrow for the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: faithful pastor; thinker; scholar and great admirer of our Holy Father Saint Augustine.

Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927, in the German city of Bavaria. He served the Church in various roles as priest, lecturer, bishop, cardinal and later Pope. Shortly before his appointment as Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had taken part in the pilgrimage with the remains of Saint Augustine in Rome. On Sunday 14 November 2004 he actually accompanied the pilgrimage to the city of Ostia, where he presided over the Solemn Eucharist in the Augustinian Church of Saint Aurea.

Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope in a conclave called after the death of the late Saint John Paul II in April 2005 and took the name of Benedict XVI. During the years he served as pastor of the Catholic Church, Benedict XVI showed his great admiration for Saint Augustine by often quoting his teachings. Several times he also reflected on his life in the catechesis of the Audiences on Wednesdays, and in homilies or documents he published.

On the 22nd April 2007 then as Pope, he made a pilgrimage to venerate the relics of Saint Augustine venerated in the Augustinian Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro in Pavia.

In June 2007, Pope Benedict canonized the first Maltese saint, St. George Preca, in a celebration held in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City. Between the 17th and 18th April 2010, Pope Benedict made a short but intense visit to Malta. This was actually the third visit of a Pope to our islands, blessed by the Apostle of the gentiles.

On 6th January 2012 Pope Benedict had announced the creation of our brother Prospero Grech O.S.A. as a cardinal in appreciation for his work and great contribution to the Church over the years. His creation was actually then made on 18th February 2012.

When his health began to decline, Pope Benedict felt he had to retire to a life devoted more to prayer and silence. He thus resigned on the 28th February 2013 and for almost 10 years he lived in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican City.

Pope Benedict XVI passed to eternal life today 31st December 2022. The Maltese Augustinian Province pays tribute to the memory of a faithful shepherd, and recommends his soul in our prayers.

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