Pope Benedict XVI Requiescat in Pace – Statements from UK Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops

Image Credit: CBCEW

On hearing the news, Cardinal Nichols wrote: ‘I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Pope Benedict. He will be remembered as one of the great theologians of the 20th century.

‘I remember with particular affection the remarkable Papal Visit to these lands in 2010.

‘We saw his courtesy, his gentleness, the perceptiveness of his mind and the openness of his welcome to everybody that he met. He was through and through a gentleman, through and through a scholar, through and through a pastor, through and through a man of God, close to the Lord and always his humble servant.

‘Pope Benedict is very much in my heart and in my prayers. I give thanks to God for his ministry and leadership.’

Bishop Nicholas Hudson will celebrate a Requiem Mass in Westminster Cathedral this evening (Saturday 31st December) at 6pm. 

Cardinal Nichols

Bishop Patrick McKinney, on learning of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, writes:

An abiding memory I will have of Pope Benedict is how his quiet humility, warm charm, gentle eloquence, and love of Christ won over the hearts of the British people during his visit to the UK in 2010. May he rest forever in God’s merciful love.

On behalf of the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham, I wish to express our sadness at hearing of the death of Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI. May Christ Jesus, whom he served so generously, give him rest after his labours. Prayers and Masses will be offered for his happy repose in God’s eternal and merciful love.

+Patrick McKinney
Bishop of Nottingham

As we mourn the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict and give thanks to God for the blessings bestowed upon the Church and the world through this successor of S. Peter, may he know through the love of God and the birth the Good Shepherd among us be brought by Him to the glory of the heavenly Kingdom.​

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace. Amen.​

+ Peter Brignall
Bishop of Wrexham

The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, has offered prayers and condolences after the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

“I pray for the repose of the soul of His Holiness Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI as his long life of devoted service comes to a close. May he now enjoy forever the company of the saints and the reward of all the Lord’s good and faithful servants.

“I recall with gratitude the warmth and impact of Pope Benedict’s presence during his State Visit in 2010 and especially during his visit to Birmingham for the Beatification of Cardinal Newman. He showed us the love of the pastor’s heart which had guided his ministry as priest, as bishop and as Supreme Pastor.

“I am grateful for the prayerful way that he supported his successor Pope Francis, continuing to promote the unity and mission of the Church.

“On behalf of the clergy, Religious and all the faithful of the Archdiocese of Birmingham I offer our condolences and pray that Emeritus Pope Benedict may rest in peace with his risen Lord.”

+Bernard Longley
Archbishop of Birmingham

Bishop Terry has issued the following message following the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict at the age of 95.

“Over the last few days we have heard the news of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s deteriorating health.

“Even so, it is with sadness that we heard of his death at 9.34 am this morning, 31st December. He has returned home to his Father and we pray that he will rest in peace. 

“He will be remembered for many things, not least his abundant writings. They are a legacy and a treasure into which the Church will delve and from which it will profit for ages to come.

“Nor can we ignore his courage and integrity when he resigned from the Petrine Ministry on account of his health and physical vulnerability, the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.

“His funeral will take place on 5th January in St Peter’s Basilica. We pray for his eternal repose, the intentions of Pope Francis and for the whole Church.

“Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen”

+Terence Drainey
Bishop of Middlesbrough

As we mourn the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict and give thanks to God for the blessings bestowed upon the Church and the world through this successor of S. Peter, may he know through the love of God and the birth the Good Shepherd among us be brought by Him to the glory of the heavenly Kingdom.​

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace. Amen.​

+ Peter Brignall
Bishop of Wrexham

The Diocese of Arundel and Brighton has expressed deep sadness at the death of His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI this morning.

Speaking earlier today Bishop Richard Moth said:

“We are deeply grateful for the life and service of Pope Emeritus Benedict. While we mourn his loss, we are thankful for his steadfast witness and legacy.

“His firm resolve during eight years of papal ministry saw the Pope Emeritus broaden opportunities for dialogue with people and groups outside of the Catholic Church.

“More locally, many in our community will have been touched by his gentle presence during his visit to these shores in 2010, not least in his meeting with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the time of prayer in Hyde Park and the Beatification of St. John Henry Newman.”

“Masses for the repose of the Pope’s soul will be offered across the churches of our Diocese in the coming days. We entrust Pope Benedict to the Father of all mercies and prayer for the repose of his soul.

“Please remember Pope Francis in your prayers also, in his continuing Petrine Ministry.”

Statement issued by The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool, on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

“Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is in my thoughts and prayers as I remember a gracious, kind and gentle man who was courteous and welcoming to all he met. Qualities which shone through his Papal ministry and in his years of prayerful support for the Church following his retirement in 2013. He was a great theologian who opened the words of scripture to many.

“His visit in 2010 will be remembered for the joy he brought to the Church and the support which he gave to people throughout our country.

“May the Lord now reward his servant for his faithful ministry among us.”

Our diocese joins Catholics around the world in mourning the death of the former Pope, who served as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church between April 2005 to February 2013, when he became the first Pope in 600 years to resign from his post.

Pope Emeritus Benedict’s funeral will take place at 9:30am (8:30am UK time) on Thursday, 5 January 2023, in St Peter’s Square presided over by Pope Francis.

Bishop John Arnold has shared a message of sorrow following the news of Pope Benedict’s death, and invites us to reflect on the enormity of his role as leader and guide of the Catholic Church.

He said: “There is much for which we need to give thanks for the leadership and gentle shepherding of the Church achieved by Pope Benedict in his eight years as our Pope and spiritual father.

“In a time of many political challenges and social change, Pope Benedict remained constant in his promotion of Gospel values, building up the family of the Church in all its diversity throughout the world.

“His was the constant invitation and encouragement to us to be true to the model and example of Christ. His life was dedicated to encouraging us with his scholarship, holiness, and prayer.”

Christians believe that life is a journey, where each one of us is learning about the person and ministry of Jesus: the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

All followers of Christ learn to be his ambassadors in the way we live our daily lives and Bishop John reminds us that in  a global Church of an estimated 1.3 billion Catholics, that journey will have many different paths and turns for people living in such different contexts around the world.

Through all of this, Pope Benedict led the global Church in its journey for eight years, helping and encouraging all its members to remain focussed on Christ, whoever and wherever we may be.

+John Arnold
Bishop of Salford

Bishop Peter Collins has paid a personal tribute to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died this morning, 31 December, aged 95.

News of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has saddened the Universal Church and the entire world. Since his resignation from the Papacy in February 2013, Benedict XVI had been resident in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery within the grounds of the Vatican. His entire life was dedicated to Christ and his Church.

Joseph Ratzinger was baptised on the day of his birth, April 16, 1927, at Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, near the border with Austria. In 1943, aged just 16, Joseph was conscripted into the German Army. In 1945 he entered seminary formation and was ordained to the priesthood, together with his brother Georg, on June 29, 1951. For the next 25 years, alongside pastoral responsibilities, he dedicated himself to university teaching and academic research. Joseph Ratzinger will be remembered and honoured as one of the great theologians of the twentieth century.

Pope St Paul VI appointed Professor Ratzinger as Archbishop of Munich in 1977, and he became a Cardinal in the same year. Pope St John Paul II appointed him as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981. Cardinal Ratzinger remained in this post until the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005.

Many attempted falsely to depict Cardinal Ratzinger as some kind of harsh enforcer. Whilst he was duty-bound to robustly defend the theological integrity and rational coherence of the Church’s teaching, Cardinal Ratzinger always fulfilled his responsibilities with calm exactitude and a most caring courtesy.

As Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Ratzinger was Celebrant at the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Just a few days later, on April 19, 2005, his fellow cardinals elected him as the 265th Successor of St Peter and he remained as Supreme Pontiff until February 2013.

In the midst of our sadness, it is with joy that we recall the Papal Visit to the United Kingdom undertaken by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. We remember the impact of his words as he addressed parliamentarians under the ancient beams of Westminster Hall, speaking of the legitimate role of religion within the public square and the contribution of faith in service to the common good of humanity.

I was privileged to be present at Westminster Cathedral when Pope Benedict celebrated Mass, during which he blessed a newly erected mosaic of St David. Together with so many others, I then travelled from London to Birmingham to join Pope Benedict for the celebration of Mass in Cofton Park during which he beatified the great nineteenth century English theologian, Cardinal John Henry Newman – later canonised as a Saint by Pope Francis.

It is worthy of note that Cardinal Ratzinger visited the Diocese of East Anglia in 1988, coming to deliver the annual Fisher Lecture at the Catholic Chaplaincy in Cambridge. The title of his address was ‘Consumer Materialism and Christian Hope’. When the chaplaincy was raising funds for a new chapel in 2005, Ratzinger, by then Pope, sent a donation of £2,000 from his own pocket.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lived his life to the full in Christ. Through the union of faith and reason, Joseph Ratzinger explored the depths of Divine Revelation and has helped us all to navigate our own journey through the wondrous expanse of God’s providential love. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Requiem Mass in Norwich

There will be a Requiem Mass for the Pope Emeritus on Monday, 2 January at 6pm at St John’s Cathedral in Norwich. In advance of the funeral on Thursday, Solemn Vespers will be celebrated at the Cathedral on Wednesday 4 January, at 6pm – ecumenical and civic representatives will be invited.

The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, has paid tribute to Pope EmeritusBenedict XVI who died earlier today (Saturday 31 December 2022).

“With the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict, we lose one of the leading Catholic figures of the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of our own. By nature a shy and scholarly man and by profession a priest-theologian, he found himself drawn ever more into public life as Archbishop of Munich, as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome and finally as Pope – the first German since the end of the 2nd World War to attain world pre-eminence. His memorable State visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 began in Scotland. The gentle and prayerful intelligence revealed during that visit disarmed his critics. He was often misunderstood, even caricatured. Contrary to a widespread perception, however, he was a resolutely contemporary “confessor of the faith”, deeply and critically engaged with modern thought, a lucid and unacademic preacher and pastorally sensitive. His bold, independent spirit surprised us all with his decision to resign while in office, the first Pope to do so for centuries. He once wrote: “my basic intention has been to expose the real core of the faith underneath the encrustations, and to give this core its true power and dynamism. This has been the constant direction of my life.” His full stature will surely emerge increasingly. May he rest in peace.”

Archbishop Nolan: The death of Pope Benedict will bring sorrow to Catholics around the world, but here in Scotland the memories of him are particularly fond.  “He celebrated the first Mass of his 2010 visit to Britain in Glasgow and many people have happy memories of that day. He will be remembered as a great theologian and teacher whose wisdom and humility were evident to all. May he rest in peace after a long life of devotion and service.”

Reflection on Pope Benedict XVI RIP

Having been chosen by Pope Benedict as Bishop of Argyll and Isles, his mandate for my Episcopal Ordination was read to those assembled in St Columbia’s Cathedral Oban on 8th December 2008 and I was duly ordained Bishop of the Diocese. It is right therefore for me personally to feel a special affection for Pope Benedict and recall with gratitude his part in my life and the communion in the Lord that linked me, and all bishops, so closely with our Holy Father and Brother Bishop.

Just over a year later, in February 2010, I had the privilege of meeting Pope Benedict in person during the Scottish Bishops’ Ad Limina Visit to Rome. Each of us got to speak with the Holy Father privately, and I recall these precious few minutes as the softly-spoken Pontiff asked me about the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. Of course his English was very fluent and the conversation quite relaxed. I remember he was particularly interested in Catholic Schools and the teaching of our faith in them. Later in his address to all of the Scottish Bishops after our private audiences he recalled that our Ad Limina Visit was taking place during the Year of the Priest and proposed St John Ogilvie as a courageous model for all Scottish Priests. He commended our work in promoting the on-going formation of priests and the promotion of Vocations to the priesthood and religious life. For Pope Benedict holiness of life, attained through a loving personal relationship with the Lord, was the essential element in the life of all the baptised – the lay faithful, religious and clergy.

Later in 2010 Pope Benedict made his State Visit to UK, beginning with the meeting with the Queen in Edinburgh on the morning of 16th September. That afternoon he celebrated Mass with the Catholics of Scotland at Bellahouston and he recalled with emotion that his predecessor, St John Paul II, had also celebrated Mass in the Park on 2nd June 1982, with 250,000 present. Pope Benedict spoke of the long Christian tradition in Scotland, the witness of our Scottish saints, and the call to us all to live holy lives in our own time, in order to keep the flame of faith alive in our land. As a Scottish Bishop it was a privilege to be with Pope Benedict that day and to concelebrate Mass with him, and then to accompany him on the rest of his Visit over the next few days in London and Birmingham. Again the Concelebrated Masses in Westminster Cathedral and in Birmingham for the Beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman hold a special memory for me, particularly the strong sense of the communion of all the bishops with the Bishop of Rome in the service of the Lord and his Church. My particular memory of what Pope Benedict said during his time among us was again his emphasis on the call to holiness, and especially his inspiring words to the young people of the Church – “Be the Saints of the 21st Century”. Indeed the Pope’s encouraging words to the young, and his appeal to them, were an important part of the visit. The good number of Vocations to the Priesthood in recent years in the Diocese of Motherwell may be a fruit of the Pope’s presence and clear teaching.

A month after Pope Benedict’s Visit, in October 2010, I was privileged to accompany the Scottish pilgrims to Rome for the Canonisation of the St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, the First Australian to be canonised. Those of us from the Highlands are particularly proud of her Scottish connections and it was wonderful to be at Mass with Pope Benedict when he proclaimed Mary a saint of the Church. Once again it was very special for me as a Scottish Bishop with a family connection to St Mary MacKillop to be invited to be one of the concelebrants at the Mass of Canonisation. Again at this Mass Pope Benedict spoke of the power and beauty of holiness as exemplified in the lives of St Mary MacKillop and the others being canonised, and highlighted her vocation as an outstanding teacher, especially of poor and disadvantaged children.

The call to us all to live holy lives, and so grow and remain in deep friendship with the Lord, and by doing so to give faithful witness to Him, was always at the heart of Pope Benedict’s preaching. He himself was a good teacher and his legacy of that teaching and his clarity of vision are an outstanding treasure he has left to the church to be pondered upon and valued by coming generations.

May he now share, along with Mary, Joseph, and all the Saints, through the Lord’s resurrection, in the fullness of God’s life in heaven, in which he firmly believed and placed all his hope. May he rest in peace.

+Joseph Toal

Bishop of Motherwell

Bishop John Keenan Via Facebook

Pope Benedict XVI has gone home to the Father’s House.

We thank GOD for his lifelong ministry as a humble worker in the LORD’s vineyard and commend Him to the rich mercy of GOD. May he rest in peace.

We will update this page when we receive further statements.


Benedict XVI was Pope for less than eight years – 19 April 2005 to 28 February 2013 – and became generally known in Britain as the second pope in history to visit the UK in 2010. The first such visit had been by Pope John Paul II to England, Wales and Scotland, in 1982.