(ConservativeHub.com) – In February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI became the first pontiff to resign in roughly 600 years. Religious scholars noted at the time that since Pope Pius IX’s reign, a pope’s final illness has served as an example for Christians to follow when confronting their own deaths. As fate would have it, it appears Benedict XVI has an opportunity to fulfill that sacred duty despite his resignation.
On October 20, reports emerged detailing a letter Benedict wrote to a German priest the first week of October. Benedict thanked the unidentified priest for telling him about the recent death of the Rev. Gerhard Winkler, a Cistercian priest and former academic colleague of Benedict’s.
— The Hill (@thehill) October 20, 2021
Benedict began his letter stating Winkler was the “closest” to him of all his “colleagues and friends.” Continuing, the former pope wrote that Winkler “has reached the afterlife, where many friends certainly await him. I hope I can join them soon.”
This letter offered one of the only glimpses into the former pope’s life since his resignation. He has greeted a few visitors at his residence in a converted monastery located in the Vatican gardens but has largely stuck to an earlier promise to remain “hidden to the world.”
Although the thought of Benedict’s passing is solemn, perhaps his words can serve as a testament to his faith for others as church tradition dictates.
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