The theology of Pope Benedict in 12 simple quotes

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Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI arrives for a rally with young people outside St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., April 19, 2008. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

In a preface to a collection of previously written essays by Pope Benedict XVI, published in 2018, Pope Francis wrote that the writings of his predecessor “can help all of us not only to understand our present and find a solid orientation for the future, but they also can be a real source of inspiration for political action that, by placing the family, solidarity and equality at the center of its attention and planning, truly looks to the future with foresight.”

Throughout his service to the Church — as a young priest, then cardinal and, later, pope — Pope Benedict’s wisdom shone brightly, bringing the person of Jesus Christ to the forefront of the Church’s teachings. Below is a collection of quotes from the late Holy Father.

Each of us is loved

“We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”
— Homily at Mass on the Occasion of the Beginning of his Petrine Ministry, St. Peter’s Square, April 25, 2005

Being a Christian

“Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”
Deus Caritas Est, Dec. 25, 2005

To young people

“Friends, again I ask you, what about today? What are you seeking? What is God whispering to you? The hope which never disappoints is Jesus Christ.”
— Meeting with young people and seminarians, St. Joseph Seminary, Yonkers, New York, April 19, 2008

On heaven

“Our serenity, our hope and our peace are based precisely on this: in God, in his thoughts and in his love, it is not merely a ‘shadow’ of ourselves that survives but rather we are preserved and ushered into eternity with the whole of our being in him, in his creator love. It is his Love that triumphs over death and gives us eternity and it is this love that we call ‘Heaven’: God is so great that he also makes room for us.”
— Homily for Holy Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Thomas of Villanova Parish, Castel Gandolfo, Aug. 15, 2010

On hope

“We need the greater and lesser hopes that keep us going day by day. But these are not enough without the great hope, which must surpass everything else. This great hope can only be God, who encompasses the whole of reality and who can bestow upon us what we, by ourselves, cannot attain.”
Spe Salvi, Nov. 30, 2007

Make haste for the things of God

“It is probably not very often that we make haste for the things of God. God does not feature among the things that require haste. The things of God can wait, we think and we say. And yet he is the most important thing, ultimately the one truly important thing.”
— Homily for Midnight Mass, St. Peter’s Basilica, Dec.r 24, 2012

On faith

“To believe is none other than, in the obscurity of the world, to touch the hand of God and thus, in silence, to hear the Word, to see Love..”
— Address at the conclusion of the annual Lenten retreat held for the Roman Curia, Chapel of the “Redemptoris Mater,” Feb. 23, 2013

On truth

“Truth — which is itself gift, in the same way as charity — is greater than we are, as Saint Augustine teaches. Likewise the truth of ourselves, of our personal conscience, is first of all given to us. In every cognitive process, truth is not something that we produce, it is always found, or better, received.”
Caritas in Veritate, June 29, 2009

The cross

“The new weapon that Jesus places in our hands is the Cross – a sign of reconciliation, of forgiveness, a sign of love that is stronger than death. Every time we make the Sign of the Cross we should remember not to confront injustice with other injustice or violence with other violence: let us remember that we can only overcome evil with good and never by paying evil back with evil.”
— Homily for Palm Sunday, St. Peter’s Square, April 9, 2006

On the priesthood

“​​The priesthood, then, is not simply ‘office’ but sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be, through us, present to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings – who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead – this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word ‘priesthood.'”
— Homily for the Conclusion of the Year for Priests, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Peter’s Square, June 11, 2010

Finding happiness

“Consequently, the more we imitate Jesus and remain united to him the more we enter into the mystery of his divine holiness. We discover that he loves us infinitely, and this prompts us in turn to love our brethren. Loving always entails an act of self-denial, ‘losing ourselves,’ and it is precisely this that makes us happy.”
— Homily for the Solemnity of All Saints, St. Peter’s Basilica, Nov. 1, 2006

God is love

“God is not, let’s say, a ruling power, a distant force; rather he is love and he loves me-and as such, life should be guided by him, by this power called love.”
— “Last Testament,2016

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