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Fr. Stephen Burr reflects on the legacy Pope Benedict XVI

"I thank God for the cooperation Pope Benedict XVI displayed in his ministry."

by Very Reverend Stephen Burr

The death of Pope Benedict XVI at the end of 2022 gave the world pause to reflect upon the impact his life and ministry had on the Church. At the beginning of his papacy, following the dynamism of St. John Paul II (succeeding a saint is a tough act to follow), Benedict XVI was criticized for not being John Paul II. Some individuals commented that the vibrancy of the papacy became dimmed with the German pope. To the contrary, Pope Benedict XVI was a humble scholar and witness to the love of Christ to his last breath. 

The gift Pope Benedict XVI has left for the Church is an abundant library of encyclicals, apostolic letters, lectures, addresses, homilies, and many additional works. From the many works, he lived his episcopal motto—“Cooperatores Veritatis” (Cooperators of the Truth)—by shedding a divinely inspired light on the connection between faith and reason, liturgical theology, and seeing the face of Jesus Christ. His inspired publications imparted how the Holy Father cooperated with Jesus Christ for the sake of God’s people. If his three-part series, Jesus of Nazareth, had been Pope Benedict XVI’s only work, we would still marvel at the gift! What a beautiful text that has enriched the faith of so many individuals around the world. My prayer benefited from this series as Pope Benedict XVI supplied an opportunity to seek the face of the Lord (Psalm 27.8) and foster a living relationship with God. I am forever grateful.

The divine shining light that gleamed through the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI may have surpassed our ability to receive the bounty offered by his ministry. I thank God for the cooperation Pope Benedict XVI displayed in his ministry. We have benefited and will continue to benefit as we reflect on his life and work. I pray that this edition of Mosaic expands our appreciation of the blessed papal ministry of Benedict XVI and, as he would want, make us cooperators of the truth of Jesus Christ. 

by Very Reverend Stephen Burr

Very Reverend Stephen Burr


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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.