ONE of the country’s most senior clerics has spoken of the “holiness and simplicity” of Pope Benedict XVI who has resigned from his post as leader of 1.2 billion Catholics.
Bishop of Cork and Ross, John Buckley, said he met Benedict on a number of occasions and his “virtues were evident to all who came in contact with him.”
“He was also, despite being one of the great theologians of our time, easily understood and remarkably clear,” Bishop Buckley said. “These qualities made him embrace the social media forums recently, including Twitter.”
Leaders of other religious including the Chief Rabbi had spoken of his efforts in reaching out to other religions, which was a “hallmark of his papacy”.
“His efforts for world peace have been recognised on an international stage by many politicians at home and abroad,” Bishop Buckley said. “He attached a huge emphasis to the fundamental questions of life that he kept before people, 'why are we here?' and 'where are we going?'
“These fundamental questions, he said, pervade the whole of human history. He said that we find these questions it in the Sacred writings of Israel, in the preaching of Buddha, in the writings of Confucius, in the philosophical writings of Aristotle and Plato. He regretted that these questions were being overlooked today. “
However, the pope had been disappointed at the move of European countries, which he called the ‘Heartlands of Christianity’, for moving away from their Christian roots. His designation of this year as 'The Year of Faith' was an attempt to encourage Catholics to Celebrate, inform and share their own faith. This was, for him, the biggest challenge facing all believers.
On the child sex abuse scandals, the Pope had instructed bishops across the world to put in place policies to protect and safeguard children.
“He was also responsible for a significant revision of the Church's own disciplinary process for those who offended against children. We now have procedures in this country and in this diocese for dealing with such matters that have been proven to work very effectively.”