Bongbong Marcos, bishops mourn death of Pope Benedict XVI
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. joined the world’s political and religious leaders in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Saturday.
In a tweet late Saturday, the President said the country is praying for the repose of the late retired Pope’s soul.
“We are in deep sorrow upon learning of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI today. The Philippines is one in offering our prayers for the eternal repose of his soul. We keep his loved ones in our prayers,” Mr. Marcos said.
The 95-year-old former pontiff passed away on Saturday at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City, a few days after he was reported to be gravely ill by Pope Francis.
Elected in April 2005, Benedict resigned in February 2013, citing his deteriorating strength due to old age and the physical and mental demands of the papacy. He was the first Pope to resign in nearly 600 years.
It was Pope Benedict who canonized St. Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino saint, in October 2012.
Benedict also created two successive Manila archbishops as cardinals: Gaudencio Rosales in March 2006; and Luis Antonio Tagle in November 2012.
In January 2013, Benedict appointed the last Filipino prelate of his reign: Bishop Buenaventura Famadico of San Pablo.
Church officials and lay Catholics in the Visayas have also expressed grief over the death of Pope Benedict.
Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cebu, said the late pontiff had touched the hearts of many while serving the Catholic Church as Pope from April 2005 to February 2013.
“Pope Benedict left us a powerful testimony of the beauty of silence amidst life’s turmoils and confusion as a way of grounding us all on the deeper reality of the Spirit,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
Tan said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma will lead Cebuanos in praying for Benedict’s eternal repose through a Requiem Mass on Jan. 2, at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
For Cebuanos, the former Pope would always be remembered for giving the Visayas its first saint and second Filipino saint, Pedro Calungsod, in 2012.
In Eastern Visayas, the social accounts of the Archdiocese of Palo headed by Archbishop John Du, and the dioceses of Calbayog, Borongan, Catarman, Maasin, and Biliran posted a photo of the late German Pope along with their prayers for the former supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.
Bishop Crispin Varquez of the Borongan Diocese said he would forever be grateful to Benedict XVI for appointing him as bishop in 2007. —With reports from Ador Vincent Mayol, Carla P. Gomez and Joey Gabieta INQ