Cardinal Tobin honors Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at memorial Mass

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NEWARK, NJ — Though some might feel saddened while reflecting on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s death, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, archbishop of Newark, told those attending a Jan. 12 memorial Mass that they should actually “grieve his death in hope” because the late pontiff has finally attained the peace God promised to all faithful. 

“The crucifixion of Jesus displays God’s initiative in opening for the human race unimpeded access to the divine life, to the divine presence,” Tobin said to an intimate gathering of clergy and Catholics in Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. “Humanity is now free to go to God, and God’s tent is pitched forever among us.

“Benedict’s death,” he continued, is “the fulfillment of hope that does not disappoint — a hope that illuminated his shepherding of the Church, a hope that is renewed in us each day.”

Later in his homily, Tobin commended Benedict’s kindness and nobility, stating that Catholics throughout the world should be grateful for the former pope’s devout faith as well as all the good he accomplished. The cardinal also reminded those in attendance that Benedict never viewed being a Christian as “an ethical choice or a lofty idea.” Instead, he said the pope emeritus believed people should live their faith by sharing the love God gifted to humanity.

The Jan. 12 Mass in Newark was the latest in a long line of global tributes honoring Benedict, who died Dec. 31 at the age of 95 following a period of illness. The pope emeritus was the pontiff who appointed Tobin as the secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as the archbishop of Indianapolis.

Photos Courtesy of Joe Jordan and Sean Quinn of the Archdiocese of Newark