Saturday, 15 July 2017

Benedict XVI's Message at the Funeral of Joachim Cardinal Meisner

The Funeral of Joachim Cardinal Meisner occurred this morning, Saturday July 15, in the magnificent Cologne Cathedral. The Mass was celebrated by Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki, Metropolitan Archbishop of Cologne. Péter Cardinal Erdő, Metropolitan Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, a close friend of the deceased Cardinal preached the sermon. A message from Pope Francis was read out by Archbishop Nikola Eterović, Apostolic Nuncio to Germany. To the surprise of those present, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, and Personal Secretary to Benedict XVI, read out a message by the Pope Emeritus.



Below is my translation of the beautiful message of Benedict XVI at the Funeral of his close friend Cardinal Meisner. Original German here:

At this hour, when the church of Cologne and faithful from further a field gathered to say goodbye to Cardinal Joachim Meisner, my heart and thoughts are with you also, and gladly accepting the invitation of Cardinal Woelki, I wish to address a word of remembrance to you.

When I heard of the death of Cardinal Meisner last Wednesday, I did not want to believe it. The day before we had talked on the phone. His gratitude for the fact that he had been on vacation after he had participated in the beatification of Bishop Teofilius Matulionis in Vilnius on Sunday before (June 25) was clear in his his voice. The love for the Church in the neighboring countries in the East, which had suffered under the Communist persecution, as well as the gratitude for the withstanding the sufferings of that time, shaped his life. And so is it is no coincidence that the last visit to his life was one to a Confessor of the Faith in those countries.

What particularly impressed me in that last talk with the retired Cardinal, was the loosened joy, the inner joy, and the confidence he had found. We know that this passionate shepherd and pastor found it difficult to leave his post, especially at a time in which the Church stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think the faith with determination. However, what moved me all the more was that, in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.

Two things in recent times which pleased him more than anything:
  • On the one hand, he has always told me how deeply he in the Sacrament of Penance, how young people, especially young men, are experiencing the grace of forgiveness - the Gift, they have found the life that only God can give.

  • The other thing that has always touched him and gave him joy, was the quiet growth of Eucharistic Adoration. At the World Youth Day in Cologne yhis was a central point for him - that there was Adoration, a silence in which only the Lord spoke to the heart. Some Pastoral and Liturgal experts felt that such silence in looking at the Lord can not be achieved with such a huge number of people. Some were also of the opinion that Eucharistic Adoration was overtaken as such, by the Mass, since the Lord would be received in Eucharistic bread and not be looked at. But that this Bread can not be eaten like any food, and that the Eucharistic sacrament "welcomes" all dimensions of our existence - that reception must be worship, has now become very clear. Thus, the time of Eucharistic Adoration at the Cologne World Youth Day has become an interior event, which remained unforgettable to the Cardinal.

When, on his last morning, Cardinal Meisner did not appear at Mass, he was found dead in his room. His Breviary had slipped out of his hands: he was praying as he died, looking at the Lord, talking to the Lord. The death that was given to him, shows once again how he lived: looking at the Lord and talking to him. So we can confidently recommend his soul to the goodness of God. Lord, we thank thee for the testimony of thy servant Joachim. Let him be an intercessor for the Church of Cologne, and on the whole world! Requiescat in pace!
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You can watch the Requiem Mass for the Funeral of Cardinal Meisner below:

26 comments:

  1. I love you Pope Benedict. Thank you for your courageous and beautiful words! Peace be with you.

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    1. Awesome words. A true pastor. May the Barque of Peter refrain from capsizing.

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    2. Awesome words. A true pastor. May the Barque of Peter refrain from capsizing.

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    3. May this holy man of the church fully enjoy the freedom which death brings. Even though the Cardinal would never complain of it, he was persecuted within his own church. Thank you Papst Benedict for your words of encouragement and for remaining with us.

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  2. God Bless Cardinal Meisner RIP.Thank you Pope Benedict!

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  3. http://fideminterra.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/benedict-xvis-message-at-funeral-of.html?m=1

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  4. our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVl speaks openly and honestly of a good and faithful servant. I believe also he gives us all faith to hold to the truth even when it appears the boat is sinking. Keep looking to the Lord, keep adoring the Lord and receiving his Sacraments. Thank you, now we can go up and onward. God bless him. Oremus pro Invicem.

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  5. Yes the boat has taken on much water and is on the verge but God is faithful in His servants! Thank you Pope Benedict Emeritus - Stay with us we need you!

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  6. I was at World Youth Day in Cologne. I was amazed & gratified to see the huge crowds of young people at Eucharistic Adoration. I also had the opportunity to attend Mass at the cathedral early in the morning. The bishop who traveled with our group was scheduled to say Mass but the archbishop decided to instead. What a great. Rest in peace Your Eminence & thank you for your leadership & love for Christ's church here on earth.

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  7. I miss Pope Benedict so very much

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    1. Me three!!!

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    2. Me four. What a humble and sweet soul.

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    3. We all miss Pope Benedict! -- Remembering what Parish priest once commented : The Memory of one absent can be more powerful than someone who is present.

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  9. May God bless Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Please stay with us a lot longer, I also pray to the Giver and Taker of Life, Our Lord Jesus Christ

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  10. Thank you for such gracious remarks about the deceased obviously holy Cardinal, to whom the Lord destined as gift,conversing with Him as his soul was taken up. May Cardinal Joachim M.now intercede for us.

    Thank you, Papa Benedict XVI- our beloved father and Teacher, for these consoling tribute, and also about the Lord's abiding presence in and with His Church. Your words always cut to the heart, and read like Scripture. May your life, teaching, and entire witness continue to vivify us all. Please, keep humanity in your prayers. We need you!

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  11. Thank God for your wonderful Holy teaching through your writings. Your thoughts and teachings were always with us and meant for the whole world. What a beautiful person you are. Valerie from Canada

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  12. Why did this Man step down?

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  13. I believe he was forced too to make way for the more "progressive" Pope Francis as I do believe also that the Vatican is trying to secularize our Catholic faith

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  14. I love Pope Benedict very much. His books are the best of all. Thank you for all you have done to the Catholic Faith!
    We love you! Pray for us! Lucia

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  15. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, we miss you and please PRAY for all the Catholics around the world, so we may be faithful to the gift of faith we have received.

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  16. May your pathway to heaven ,be a joyous and wonderfull journey dear cardinal Joachim ,a great reward ,for your truly wonderful work ,that you did for our lord ,thankyou pope Benedict xv1,for those wonderfull words ,you are allways in our prayers and thoughts ,god bless you allways ,

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  18. We are so blessed to have Father Benedict still with us. He always knows just how to frame his thoughts and comments so as to nail an important and inspirational insight. What an extraordinary teacher. Thanks be to God for this great servant!

    Thanks be to God, as well, for the courageous and humble pastor, +Cardinal Meisner. May he claim the eternal reward promised by Christ to faithful servants who persevere in spite of trial. Requiescat in pace!

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  19. Pope Bergoglio is causing a capsizing

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