The Catholic Church is a boat “on the verge of capsizing,” said Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in a personal message for the funeral Mass of his close friend, Cardinal Joachim Meisner on Saturday.
Given his inability to travel, the usually silent retired Pope delivered the message in writing, and had it read aloud in the Cologne Cathedral by his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who also serves as Prefect of the Papal Household for Pope Francis.
In the text, Benedict said that Cardinal Meisner “found it difficult to leave his post, especially at a time in which 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.”
What moved me all the more, Benedict said, 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.”
Notably, Cardinal Meisner was one of the four cardinals who presented a series of questions, or “dubia,” to Pope Francis last September, asking him to clarify five serious doctrinal doubts proceeding from his 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) concerning Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried, the indissolubility of marriage, and the proper role of conscience.
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