WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) — Across the U.S., Catholic bishops called on the faithful to unite in mourning for retired Pope Benedict XVI, who died on the eve of the new year. “I join Catholics everywhere in offering my profound gratitude to the Lord for the gift of Pope Benedict XVI and his ministry,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Together we beg our Lord to grant him eternal rest.” The late pope was “a superb theologian” and “effective teacher of the faith,” Archbishop Broglio said in a Dec. 31 statement. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, recalled accompanying survivors of clergy sexual abuse to a meeting with Pope Benedict in Washington, D.C. in 2008 during the pontiff’s pastoral visit to the United States, saying it was “perhaps the most moving experience for me.” The pope “recognized the pain experienced by survivors and all persons impacted by the abuse crisis,” he said. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, called on his diocese to both “unite in prayer” for the retired pope as they mourn and also give thanks to God for Benedict’s “example and witness.”
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