The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences joins the prayers of the whole world in suffrage for the soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died today at the age of 95.

The President of the CCEE, H.E. Archbishop Gintaras Grušas, recalls in particular the “European magisterium that Benedict XVI developed during his pontificate, emphasizing the importance of Europe’s Christian roots and highlighting a necessary return to Christ and to the evangelization for the construction of a civilization of love”.

The bishops of Europe, adds the CCEE President, “will continue to develop the European Magisterium of Benedict XVI, in the certainty that only Christ is the hope for a Europe in conflict”.

Benedict XVI’s interventions regarding Europe were manifold. In particular, addressing the presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe meeting in their plenary session in 2012, the Pope Emeritus invited them to reflect “on the perennial task of evangelization with renewed urgency”.

In 2008, Benedict XVI, sending a message for the Study Day dedicated to the theme “Cultures and Religions in Dialogue” as part of the Year of Intercultural Dialogue promoted by the European Union, underlined: “Contemporary Europe, which is overlooks the third millennium, is the fruit of two millennia of civilization. It has its roots both in the huge and ancient heritage of Athens and Rome and, and above all, in the fertile ground of Christianity, which has shown itself capable of creating new cultural heritages while incorporating the original contribution of every civilization”.

The CCEE Presidency joins Pope Francis in mourning the late emeritus and asks all the ecclesial communities in Europe for prayers to accompany Benedict XVI on his last pilgrimage and to invoke Heaven from the Lord for his good and faithful servant.

Saint Gallen, 31 December 2022