Honoring the Legacy

Pope Benedict XVI (1927-2022)

Statements from Ignatius Press and its authors on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

“I don’t believe being pope is a proof of sanctity, nor is it sufficient grounds for canonization. But being Joseph Ratzinger is. I don’t know anyone who has worked closely with him who does not recognize his holiness and his brilliance. In addition to hoping for santo subito, I look forward to his being declared a doctor of the Church.”

Joseph Fessio, S.J.

Founder and editor, Ignatius Press; doctorate directed by Professor Joseph Ratzinger, University of Regensburg

“Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI will be remembered above all for his literary and scholarly output. His writings on a vast spectrum of theological and philosophical topics have a clarity and a depth that make his theology inspiring and therefore liberating. His theology also stimulates further scholarly research, since all he could ever do was sketch the contours of the truth. Future generations of all walks of life will find inspiration in his homilies and in his pastoral writings as Pope; his encyclicals on love and hope must rank among the most outstanding ever to come from the pen of a Pope. It will come as no surprise to me, if in the future, he will be declared a Doctor of the Church.”
Father D. Vincent Twomey, SVD

Former doctoral student and longtime friend of Joseph Ratzinger; and Professor Emeritus of Theology, St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth, Ireland:

“Pope Benedict XVI blessed the Church by exemplifying what faith seeking understanding looks like in postmodernity. Humbly complementing his friend and predecessor, Pope Saint John Paul the Great, he showed how the Second Vatican Council faithfully applied the Word of God and the gospel proclamation as the way for us to navigate the crisis of truth we now face. I particularly think his Encyclical Letter on Hope, ‘Spe Salvi,’ was prophetic. He spoke of the hope that challenges us to give up comfort in order to embrace the cross, striving forward for the hope Christ has stored up for us in heaven. I pray he may now realize the hope he cherished and the hope he challenged the Church to hold to above all others.”
Tim Gray

President of the Augustine Institute

“Pope Benedict XVI was one of the most learned men ever to occupy the Petrine Office. I believe that future generations will honor him with the title of Church Doctor. His intellectual legacy is immense and at least on par with St John Henry Newman, one of the intellectual heroes of his youth. He never lost the faith of his Bavarian boyhood and he defended it intellectually on the stage of the world. He understood the theological roots of the cultural crisis of the Western world better than any world leader of his generation.”
Professor Tracey Rowland

John Paul II Chair of Theology at the University of Notre Dame (Australia)

“Benedict XVI was a major figure in Church history and world history. He was one of the great theologians and churchmen of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Along with Pope John Paul II, he served the Lord and his people mightily by helping the Catholic Church faithfully embrace reform in continuity, rather than either radical rupture or an uncritical return to the past. He was a major force for evangelical fidelity and engagement with the modern world. He was a man of God, a disciple of Jesus, and bearer of the Holy Spirit, who helped keep us on the right path. Thanks be to God for Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.”
Mark Brumley

President of Ignatius Press

“Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, was one of the most creative Catholic theologians of modern times and arguably the greatest papal preacher since Pope St. Gregory the Great. In the more than thirty years I knew him and was in conversation with him, I found him to be a consummate Christian gentleman, a man of deep faith and sweet temper. It has been my privilege to have been taught by and to work with many brilliant men and women; no one I’ve ever met had a more lucid or orderly mind than Joseph Ratzinger. He believed that the truth of the Gospel was the truth of the world, and he bent every effort to help others understand that truth.”
George Weigel

Distinguished senior fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies, Ethics and Public Policy Center

“All of us must die, and the passing of most of us is of little consequence in the vast sweep of sacred history. But Pope Benedict’s death marks the end of a monumental life that changed the Church — and the world — and will continue to do so for many years to come. In his brilliance, imagination, humility and steady faith, he resembled the Church Fathers, whom he loved and studied and brought to bear on our troubled age. He belongs in their company and should be named a Doctor of the Church. God grant him the eternal reward that he so richly merits.”
Robert Royal

President of the Faith & Reason Institute

“Pope Benedict XVI was a gift of God, one of the very best teachers we have ever had, an equal to Gregory the Great, Leo the Great, and Leo XIII. A shoo-in for Saint and eventually a Doctor of the Church.”
Dr. Peter Kreeft

Professor of philosophy, Boston College; author of "Wisdom From the Psalms"