Catholics in Scotland have been adding their voice to the global outpouring of grief for Pope Emeritus Benedict who died today aged 95.
The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said that ‘With the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict, we lose one of the leading Catholic figures of the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of our own’.
Bishop Gilbert recalled fondly his ‘memorable State visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 that began in Scotland’.
“The gentle and prayerful intelligence revealed during that visit disarmed his critics. He was often misunderstood, even caricatured. Contrary to a widespread perception, however, he was a resolutely contemporary “confessor of the faith”, deeply and critically engaged with modern thought, a lucid and unacademic preacher and pastorally sensitive.”
Bishop Gilbert said ‘His bold, independent spirit surprised us all with his decision to resign while in office, the first Pope to do so for centuries. He once wrote: ‘my basic intention has been to expose the real core of the faith underneath the encrustations, and to give this core its true power and dynamism. This has been the constant direction of my life’. His full stature will surely emerge increasingly. May he rest in peace.”
Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh said: “Pope Benedict was a Bavarian gentleman. I had the honour of working with him closely towards the end of his time as pope, and I got to see this for myself.
“He was a good priest and a meticulous scholar. He was also quietly kind and available to people. His scholarship and his writing will be remembered in time to come, as will his humility and his humanity.
“Benedict XVI came to Scotland in 2010, visiting Edinburgh before celebrating an open-air Mass in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow. That is a happy memory for many people in Scotland. He will be deeply missed.”
Archbishop William Nolan of Glasgow said: ‘The death of Pope Benedict will bring sorrow to Catholics around the world, but here in Scotland the memories of him are particularly fond’.
“He celebrated the first Mass of his 2010 visit to Britain in Glasgow and many people have happy memories of that day, his kindly manner and the clear message he delivered,” he went on “He will be remembered as a great theologian and teacher whose wisdom and humility were evident to all. May he rest in peace after a long life of devotion and service.”