Saturday, December 31, 2022

RIP Benedict XVI (1927-2022)

His Holiness Benedict XVI (née Joseph Ratzinger), who reigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of the State of Vatican City from 2005 to 2013, has died at 95, nearly four months after Queen Elizabeth II.

I particularly appreciated his love of classical music and concern for liturgical Beauty, without which in general I confess that it’s unlikely Christianity ever would have appealed to me. He cared, and understood. Aesthetics Matter. A highlight of his pontificate was his September 2010 visit to the United Kingdom. His delight at the Anglican choral tradition at Westminster Abbey was evident, and his pontifical mass at Westminster Cathedral was a musical feast of Byrd and Bruckner. 🇬🇧

Many commentaries will probably not mention that as a young man in 1951 he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber (1869-1952), a Bavarian monarchist who had also conducted the funeral of King Ludwig III (1845-1921) thirty years earlier and never abandoned his belief in the Monarchy. As the former Fr. Ratzinger was the last living priest ordained by Cardinal von Faulhaber, his death breaks a last living link with the Kingdom of Bavaria.

The undoing of his greatest accomplishment, the 2007 liberalisation of the Latin Mass, by his successor is a terrible tragedy.

I wish he hadn’t abdicated. But perhaps that’s not for us in this world to ever understand. May he rest in peace.

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