VATICAN CITY (CNS) – It is “intolerable” that conflict and wars are still raging in Ukraine and other parts of the world, Pope Francis said on World Peace Day.

People throughout the world are crying out, “No to war! No to rearmament! May resources go to development, health, food, education and jobs,” the pope said Jan. 1 after praying the Angelus with some 40,000 visitors in St. Peter’s Square.

St. Paul VI inaugurated the first World Day of Peace in 1968 as a day to be dedicated to prayer and reflection for world peace, he said.

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Jan. 1, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Today, decades later, it is even more strongly apparent how “intolerable the conflict of war, which in Ukraine and other regions sows death and destruction,” is, the pope said.

“However, we do not lose hope because we have faith in God, who in Jesus Christ has opened for us the way of peace,” he said.

“The experience of the pandemic teaches us that no one can save himself alone, but that together we can walk the path of peace and development,” he said.

With the Jan. 1 celebration of the World Day of Peace, he said in his address before reciting the Angelus, “Let us regain awareness of the responsibility that has been entrusted to us to construct the future in the face of the personal and social crises we are living, in the face of the tragedy of the war.”

It can be done, he said, “if we take care of each other and if, all of us together, take care of our common home.”

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – In accordance with Pope Benedict XVI’s wishes, his funeral and moments of prayer surrounding it will be simple, according to the Vatican press office.

The 95-year-old pope’s body will stay at his private residence, where he passed away Dec. 31, until early Jan. 2, during which time “no official visits or public prayers are planned,” the press office said in a statement Dec. 31.

The body of the late Pope Benedict XVI lies in the chapel of the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery at the Vatican Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Benedict died Dec. 31 at the monastery at the age of 95. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

His remains will then be brought to St. Peter’s Basilica, where, starting at 9 a.m., people will be able to pay their last respects and offer their prayers from Jan. 2 to Jan. 4, it said.

The funeral Mass, presided over by Pope Francis, will be in St. Peter’s Square Jan. 5 starting at 9:30 a.m. Rome time. And the only official delegations to be present will be from Germany and Italy, the Vatican said.

After the funeral Mass, the coffin will be taken to St. Peter’s Basilica and then to the Vatican grotto for burial. It was widely reported before his death that his burial site would be in the chapel where St. John Paul II’s body rested until his beatification in 2011.

In death the body of Pope Benedict XVI was dressed in a red chasuble, a tradition for deceased popes, but photos provided by the Vatican Jan. 1 showed he was not wearing a pallium, the woolen band the pope and archbishops wear to symbolize how they carry their flocks on their shoulders. He was wearing black shoes – not the red ones he was known for as pope – and was holding a crucifix and rosary.

After his death, the late pope’s body was moved into the chapel of the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens. Pope Benedict had moved into the building shortly after retiring in 2013.

Photos shared on social media showed cardinals and friends of the late pope praying next to his body in the chapel.

Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said the reception of the body into St. Peter’s Basilica would be a private ceremony.

Just a few hours after Pope Benedict died at 9:34 a.m. Dec. 31, Bruni told reporters that Pope Benedict wanted his funeral and related events to be carried out “in a sign of simplicity.”

Bruni also said the retired pope received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick Dec. 28, the day Pope Francis told people Pope Benedict was “very sick” and in need of prayers.

“Ask the Lord to console him and sustain him in his witness of love for the church until the very end,” Pope Francis had said at the end of his general audience.

WASHINGTON (OSV News) – Across the U.S., Catholic bishops called on the faithful to unite in mourning for retired Pope Benedict XVI, who died on the eve of the new year.

“While we grieve that he is no longer with us here, I join Catholics everywhere in offering my profound gratitude to the Lord for the gift of Pope Benedict XVI and his ministry,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Together we beg our Lord to grant him eternal rest.”

Pope Benedict XVI appears on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica after his election April 19, 2005. Pope Benedict died Dec. 31, 2022, at the age of 95 in his residence at the Vatican.(CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

Benedict XVI (1927-2022) passed away Dec. 31 at 95 years old, nearly a decade after resigning the papacy — an event not seen in 600 years. He led the Catholic Church as pope from 2005-2013, previously served under Pope St. John Paul II for more than 20 years as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and was one of the last living participants at the Second Vatican Council.

Archbishop Broglio, who also heads the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, said Benedict’s passing “sounds contrasting notes of sorrow and gratitude in my heart.” The Dec. 31 statement noted the late retired pope was “a superb theologian” and “effective teacher of the faith” who left a wealth of learning for the whole Church.

“As a priest, university professor and theologian, archbishop and cardinal, his voice in deepening an authentic understanding led all of us to a more profound love of truth and the mystery of God,” he said.

The USCCB president also praised Pope Benedict XVI for his decision to retire from the papacy in 2013 – a move that “shocked the world” but “continued his teaching about courage, humility and love for the Church.”

Even in retirement, he said, Pope Benedict XVI “continued to teach us how to be a true disciple of Christ, while still contributing to his legacy.”

From coast-to-coast, tributes to Pope Benedict XVI from U.S. Catholic bishops kept pouring in, reflecting on his legacy, virtues, and his love of Christ.

“His long life included not only his ecclesial contributions, but his impassioned pleas for world peace, human understanding, and global solidarity,” Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, said in a statement praising Benedict’s distinguished and generous life in service to Catholicism and humanity.”

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, whom Pope Benedict XVI made a cardinal in 2006, and president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors since its establishment in 2014, said in a statement that he always found the late pope to be “an engaged leader, thoughtful in his decisions and always committed to the mission of the Church.”

Cardinal O’Malley recalled Pope Benedict XVI’s “deep pastoral care for the survivors” when the cardinal accompanied survivors of clergy sexual abuse to a meeting with the pope in Washington during the pontiff’s 2008 pastoral visit to the United States. He said it was “perhaps the most moving experience for me.”

The pope “recognized the pain experienced by survivors and all persons impacted by the abuse crisis,” Cardinal O’Malley said. “He was then, and at all times remained, committed to the Church supporting their journey toward healing and doing all that was possible to ensure the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults.”

Bishop J. Mark Spalding of Nashville, Tennessee, noted Pope Benedict XVI was “well prepared to serve when elected to lead the Church as successor to St. John Paul II,” and that his “strength and compassion … carried the world through periods of moral, political, and societal challenges on the firm footing of the depth and breadth of Catholic teaching.”

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, called on his diocese to both “unite in prayer” for the retired pope as they mourn and also give thanks to God for Benedict’s “example and witness.”

“A devoted student of the Word of God and steeped in the Church’s liturgical and theological tradition, he was able to engage the modern world with intellectual clarity and pastoral charity,” Bishop Burbidge said.

As a scholar and churchman his whole life, Pope Benedict XVI “showed us what it means to fulfill the ancient command to love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago.

“As the last pope who attended the Second Vatican Council, he has served as a bridge to the future, reminding us all that the reform and renewal of the church is ongoing,” the cardinal said in a Dec. 31 statement.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston also noted Pope Benedict XVI’s “first-hand” knowledge of Vatican II’s teaching, and said his scholarly work will shape the church for years to come. His statement said the former pope’s “keen intellect invigorated the New Evangelization by drawing hearts and minds into the mystery of our redemption in Christ, and inspiring countless men and women to spread the Gospel by the example of their lives.”

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco said Pope Benedict XVI’s passing “marks the loss of one of the world’s greatest theologians and pastors of souls of the 20th and early 21st centuries.”

“Many generations to come will benefit from the breadth and depth of his understanding of our faith tradition and ability to communicate it clearly and effectively,” he said in a statement provided to OSV News by his communications office. “For those of us who have had the great blessing of interacting with him on a personal level, we will always be inspired by his gentleness, kindness, wit and ability to listen with respect and compassion.”

Many U.S. bishops also reflected on how Pope Benedict XVI’s intellectual contributions and humility went hand-in-hand, rooted in a life of following Jesus Christ.

Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison, Wisconsin said one found in Pope Benedict XVI “a remarkable convergence of the soul, intellect, heart and will of a man radically convicted of the truth of the Gospel and fully dedicated to serving the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.”

“He knew who he was before the Lord, without pretense or artifice,” Bishop Hying said in a statement. “This humility grounded him through the trials, difficulties, and controversies of his varied and demanding life, poured out for Christ and the saving truth of our beautiful Catholic faith.”

Pope Benedict XVI also was a “man of true humility” who radiated “quiet, authentic joy in Christ,” said Ukrainian Catholic archbishop Borys Gudziak of Philadelphia in a Facebook post written originally in Ukrainian. “In an age of flaunted raw ambition, he did not cling to power. He lived eucharistically. He witnessed a spiritual peace, a focus on the Lord, a profound goodness, forged by the capacity to say ‘I am sorry.'”

Cardinal Robert W. McElroy of San Diego also reflected on Pope Benedict XVI’s death with “sadness and gratitude,” saying he served God “with sacrifice and courage, brilliance and wisdom, humility and kindness for his entire life.”

“He was a theologian of immense depth, a caring pastor and a prayerful servant who unswervingly sought to follow the pathway to which God was calling him,” Cardinal McElroy said.

“In loving Jesus Christ he brought grace to the Church and ennobled or world.”

A man holds a copy of the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano newspaper announcing the death of Pope Benedict XVI, in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 31, 2022. Pope Benedict died at the age of 95 in his residence at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Highlighting Pope Benedict XVI’s great intellect, love and kindness, many of the world’s political and religious leaders voiced their appreciation for the late pope.

The German pope died Dec. 31 at age 95, after more than eight years as pope from 2005 to 2013 and nearly 10 years of retirement.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he and his wife “join Catholics around the world, and so many others, in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.”

“I had the privilege of spending time with Pope Benedict at the Vatican in 2011 and will always remember his generosity and welcome as well as our meaningful conversation,” the president said.

Pope Benedict, he added, “will be remembered as a renowned theologian with a lifetime of devotion to the church, guided by his principles and faith. As he remarked during his 2008 visit to the White House, ‘the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity.’ May his focus on the ministry of charity continue to be an inspiration to us all.”

Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, said Pope Benedict was “a man in love with the Lord. A Christian, a shepherd, a theologian: a great figure that history will not forget.”

“He was a great man of faith and reason,” who spoke and will continue to speak “to the hearts and minds of people with the spiritual, cultural and intellectual profoundness of his teachings,” she wrote.

Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella said the pope’s death is a time of mourning for all of Italy.

“His kindness and wisdom benefited our community and the entire international community,” and even in his retirement, the president said, he continued to serve the church “with humility and serenity.”

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted, saying his “thoughts go out to Catholics in France and around the world.” The retired pope “worked with all his soul and intelligence for a more fraternal world.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, tweeted, “He was a great theologian whose UK visit in 2010 was an historic moment for both Catholics and non-Catholics throughout our country. My thoughts are with Catholic people in the UK and around the world today.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz tweeted that Pope Benedict was “a special church leader for many, not only this country.”

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier highlighted the pope’s dedication to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, seeking dialogue “with Jews and Muslims as well as all Christian denominations worldwide.” He also understood “the great suffering of the victims (of sex abuse) and the immense damage to the credibility of the church,” he added.

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said, “No pope before him visited as many synagogues, and he made a point of meeting with local Jewish community representatives whenever he visited foreign nations.”

As pope and cardinal, he gave “the Catholic-Jewish relationship solid theological underpinning and enhanced understanding,” Lauder said, adding that he was “deeply moved” by the late pope’s “affection and friendship for the Jewish people, his commitment to remembrance of the Shoah and his unambiguous condemnation of Holocaust denial in any form.”

Abu Bakr Moretta, president of the Italian Islamic Religious Community, offered the condolences of Muslims in Italy in a message recalling the late pope’s visit to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2006, and his various meetings with Muslim heads of state and theologians.

“We recall his theological stature, which during the years of his pontificate provided the occasion for an intellectual debate between Christians and the Islamic world,” Moretta wrote in a statement Dec. 31.

He quoted Pope Benedict as telling the Catholic-Islamic Forum in 2009: “I am aware that Muslims and Christians have different approaches to questions concerning God, however, we can and must be worshippers of the one God who created us and who cares for every person in every corner of the earth.”

Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury said, “Pope Benedict was one of the greatest theologians of his age — committed to the faith of the church and stalwart in its defense,” showing clearly “that Christ was the root of his thought and the basis of his prayer.”

Pope Benedict XVI has left a legacy of ecumenical dialogue, the World Council of Churches said. Its acting general secretary Rev. Ioan Sauca said that “within a short time of Benedict becoming pope, long-standing grievances that had prevented meetings of the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue commission were swept aside.”

“The commission had drawn up the ‘Ravenna Declaration’ as a first step toward overcoming the thousand-year disagreement on the role of the papacy,” he said, and the late pope “demonstrated courage as much in his leadership, his writings and his pronouncements.”