People can often learn a lot by listening to their elders. That’s especially true if the man speaking is 90-years-old, and one of the leading religious leaders on the planet.
A previous pope has just broken his usual silence, and has issued a stern warning to the Catholic Church.
According to Breitbart News, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI delivered a personal message during the funeral mass for fellow Catholic leader and personal friend Cardinal Joachim Meisner.
Benedict’s statement was written in his native language of German, and read aloud to the crowd by his personal secretary.
Most of the former pope’s comments focused on kind words for his deceased friend. However, Benedict also warned listeners about the tough situation facing the church.
“[T]he boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing,” said the retired pope, referring to the church as a whole.
While that phrasing painted a dire picture of the Catholic church, Benedict made it clear that he believed the challenges could be overcome.
He described the current situation as “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.”
During his time as pope from 2005 until 2013, Benedict was directly involved in taking on those challenges. Like the former pope, Cardinal Meisner asked serious questions about the church and its teachings even in his final months.
“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,” Breitbart explained.
Both Meisner and Benedict were concerned about the role of the church in the modern world, and had questions about the path of Catholicism.
Stating that the church is “on the verge of capsizing” in the sea of challenges is certainly an alarming stance. However, Benedict made it clear in an earlier speech this spring that he is optimistic about the future.
“There have also been trials and difficult times, but through it all He has always led me and pulled me through, so that I could continue on my path,” he said on Easter Sunday, which was also his birthday.
Despite that optimism, one thing is obvious: In the 21st century, the Catholic church faces an uphill battle, and only time will tell if it prevails or “capsizes” completely.
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