National Mourning Day in Portugal – 5 January 2023

January 5, 2023

Photo Credits: Claudio Peri/EPA

Today, INL associates with the National Mourning day decreed by the Government of Portugal, one of our member-states, for the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Benedict, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, was ordained a priest in 1951 and named archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1977, the same year he became a cardinal. Four years later, Pope John Paul II summoned Cardinal Ratzinger to Rome, where he became the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office responsible for defending church orthodoxy, one of the Vatican’s most important positions. He led the office for nearly 25 years.

After John Paul II died in 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger was chosen as his successor. He took the name of a sixth-century monk, Benedict of Nursia, who had founded monasteries and the Benedictine order, helping spread Christianity in Europe.

Ultimately, Pope Benedict resigned — the first by a pontiff since 1415 — in 2013 due to ill health. He lived in retirement in a monastery on the Vatican grounds, mostly stepping back from public life and dedicating himself to prayer and meditation

The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa underlined that “throughout his eight years of Pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI remained a symbol of stability and defence of the values of the Catholic Church” such as “friendship, solidarity and support for the poorest and the most vulnerable and the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation”.

On 31 December 2022, Pope Benedict XVI died at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City at the age of 95.