Pope Benedict XVI sent a sobering message at the funeral of Cardinal Joachim Meisner today, saying he was moved at the dubia cardinal’s ability to “live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.”
The Church “stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think the faith with determination,” Pope Benedict said in a message read by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, his personal secretary and head of the papal household. Because of this “pressing need,” Meisner “found it difficult to leave his post.”
“What moved me all the more was that, in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing,” the pope emeritus concluded.
Meisner, who was 83, was one of the four cardinals who sent Pope Francis a dubia, consisting of five questions, asking if Amoris Laetitia is aligned with Catholic morality. He died still awaiting the pope’s response. Although Pope Francis hasn’t answered the dubia, he has given his approval to interpretations of the controversial exhortation that say those living in adulterous unions may receive Holy Communion.
Pope Benedict also mentioned in his statement that he had spoken to Cardinal Mesiner on the telephone the day before his death.
Canon lawyer Kurt Martens said Pope Benedict’s message was an “amazing yet diplomatic form of support for [the] dubia Cardinals.”
In June 2017, Pope Benedict met new cardinals alongside Pope Francis. He had a brief message for them: “The Lord wins in the end.”
Meisner died holding his breviary, about to offer Mass.
- Pope Benedict’s SOS
- Four Cardinals Formally Ask Pope Francis for Clarity on ‘Amoris Laetita’
- Benedict XVI Statements at Meisner Funeral
- Cardinal Joachim Meisner Dies at 83
- Full Text & Explanatory Notes of Cardinals’ Questions on ‘Amoris Laetitia’