Date of publication: 31/12/2022

The Pope of the dialogue between faith and reason


He was one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century

Touched, but comforted by the hope in the Risen Christ, we have received the sad news that this Saturday, 31 December 2022, the fruitful existence of His Holiness Benedict XVI, the Pope Emeritus of the Holy Church, has come to an end.

On behalf of the Council General International of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, we express our deep condolences to the Holy Father Pope Francis and the Holy See. We remember with affection the pontificate of Benedict XVI, highlighting his contribution to the salvation of souls.

An admirable intellectual and theologian of great depth, Benedict XVI was also a simple, humble, sensitive, and very thoughtful man. His writings and teachings are a reference for the Church. “Love – caritas – will always be necessary, even in the most just society,” he taught us in his first encyclical, when he emphasized that the Church “cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments or the Word.”

After his brief but fruitful pontificate, the Pope Emeritus spent the last years in recollection, between studies and prayers, praying for the good of the people of God. He preached beforehand “the Church can never be dispensed from the practice of charity as an organized activity of believers, just as there will never be a situation where the charity of each individual Christian is not needed, because man, besides justice, has and will always have need of love”.

Pope Benedict has been an outstanding figure in the history of the Church. His encyclicals have a formidable spiritual content and constitute extraordinary documents of catechesis and evangelization: “Deus caritas est” (2005), “Spe salvi” (2007) and “Caritas in veritate” (2009). He knew, like no one else, how to promote the dialogue between faith and reason.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and the Vincentian Family throughout the world praise God for the rich magisterium of Benedict XVI. We Vincentians are especially thankful that Benedict XVI has raised to the altars during his pontificate six members of our Society: Saints Alberto Hurtado and Rafael Arnaiz Baron, Blessed Giuseppe Toniolo and John Joseph Lataste, and the martyrs Prudencia Cañelles Ginesta and Teresa Cejudo Redondo.

He, by the way, taught that “the saints are the true bearers of light within history, because they are men and women of faith, hope and charity. Let us pray that the Lord will now receive this dedicated worker of his harvest and grant him the reward for his labors for the Kingdom of God. May you rest in divine peace, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI!

Paris, December 31, 2022

Brother Renato Lima de Oliveira

16th President General of the SSVP

On behalf of the entire Council General International


Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927 in the city of Marktl (Germany). From a humble family, he entered the seminary at the age of 12. He was fluent in several languages, including Greek and Latin. He was ordained a priest in 1951. Later, he earned a doctorate in Theology at the University of Munich. In 1978, he took over as archbishop of Munich, and was also named cardinal (he participated in conclaves that elected John Paul I and John Paul II). He was chosen as the 265th pope on April 19, 2005, after the death of John Paul II. In February 2013, at the age of 85, Benedict XVI resigned his post due to health issues. Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio, our Pope Francis, succeeded him.


Below we publish a beautiful testimony, authored by brother Juan Manuel Buergo Gomez, 3rd Vice President General Deputy, which represents, with fidelity, what all of us members of the SSVP are feeling at this moment.