“Ecce homo,” “Behold the man!”
These were the words spoken by Pontius Pilate when he presented a scourged Jesus Christ to a hostile mob shortly before his crucifixion.
The same words aptly apply today to Pope Benedict XVI, as he is being held up to unprecedented ridicule and scorn by a hateful press and a world so out of touch with its spiritual nature and moral being. One can almost hear Jesus saying to the peaceful and benevolent pope: “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first” (John 15:18).
The world wants to see the death of the church because it knows the church is the mother of all saints. It knows that the Catholic Church is the last bastion of hope against a materialistic world that craves immorality at every step including homosexuality, same-sex marriage, easy divorce, abortion, radical feminism, contraception, embryonic stem-cell research and cloning. Contrary to his critics, Pope Benedict will be remembered not for the scandals of a few priests but for his intense suffering in protecting the faith from wolves in sheeps’ clothing. He will be known as one of the greatest of Catholic martyrs.
The Holy Father was an inspiration and a model witness to the life of Christ; a shepherd of truth constantly guarding his flock so that Christ might find faith on earth when He returns.
Immersed in profound humility and immense love for both God and man he has always been a source of strength, encouragement, confidence, optimism and enlightenment not only to Catholics but to all men of good will.
A champion of the poor and ardent exponent of Christian unity, the German Pontiff was, in many and such capacities as teaching, governing and sanctifying, both a beacon of light and salt of the earth. He has never ceased to offer fresh hope for defeating the forces of tyranny, cynicism and moral relativism hovering like a dark cloud on the horizon.
Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ, he was the world’s most influential and uncompromising defender of the dignity of human life. His tenacious pleas for the development of a “culture of life” and parallel denunciations of the “culture of death” have been instrumental in rallying opposition to the immorality of war, terrorism, abortion, euthanasia, divorce, contraception, homosexuality and embryonic-tissue research.
May the Lord of all graces and giver of every gift bless Pope Benedict XVI.