The Catholic Church of India has expressed admiration for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as a “great intellectual giant” and an “erudite and knowledgeable theologian,” who has contributed immensely to the Universal Church and the world. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, the secretary general the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) has issued a message in view of the retired pontiff’s 90th birthday on April 16, Easter Sunday, regarding him as a “great man” who “enthralled the Church and the world with his simplicity, humility and his ardent efforts for peace in the world.” The message describes Pope Benedict XVI as holy man who brought lots of blessings to the whole Church as well as humanity.
Bishop Mascarenhas noted that the former Pope has contributed immensely to the Universal Church through his teaching and example. “He influenced the people across barriers of nationalities, regions, languages and cultures through inspirational appeals, pleading regularly for prayers and restoration of the faith and peace in the world.” Hailing Pope Benedict XVI’s “gentleness and affability” that touched people all around the world, Bishops Mascarenhas said he always lived what he preached. The CBCI official also recalls Pope Benedict’s advice to a group of Indian bishops in 2011 to remain the friend of the poor and pledges the Church’s continued service to India and its people.
Pope Francis paid a visit to his predecessor on April 12 to wish him in anticipation for his 90th birthday on Easter Sunday. Pope Benedict lives at Mater Ecclesiae monastery inside of Vatican City. The Vatican stamp and coin office also anticipated the pope emeritus’s birthday with the release of stamps marking important events in the life of the church spanning almost 2,000 years. The stamp sheet by the Philatelic and Numismatic Office features a drawing of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict embracing, while the actual stamps show the retired pope praying his rosary. Pope Benedict reciprocates Pope Francis sending him wishes every December 17. Last December, on Pope Francis’s 80th birthday, the Pope emeritus sent a “very affectionate” written message that was “particularly appreciated” by the current pontiff, the Holy See press office said. (Source: Mattersindia)