A man who stood out for his intellectual brilliance and for his humility

Farewell to Benedict XVI: a great Pope who sent us this warning on his last visit to Spain

This morning, at 9:34, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City, at the age of 95.

The 'Salve Marinera' that the Spanish Navy sang before Pope Benedict XVI in Santiago

Benedict XVI was a great Pope who stood out for his intellectual brilliance and, at the same time, for his humility. He repeatedly showed his love for Spain on various official visits. In the last one, in 2011, his farewell speech before the King and Queen of Spain, stated: "Spain is a great Nation whose soundly open, pluralistic and respectful society is capable of moving forward without surrendering its profoundly religious and Catholic soul."

Joseph Ratzinger was a man who dedicated his life to God and also to showing the harmony between faith and reason. He did so by defending Good and Truth rigorously and without concessions, which is why he was the target of hatred and attacks from those who gave in to evil and lies. On his last visit to Spain in 2011, one year after the approval of the current abortion law, Benedict XVI warned us:

"Indeed, there are many who, creating their own gods, believe they need no roots or foundations other than themselves. They take it upon themselves to decide what is true or not, what is good and evil, what is just and unjust; who should live and who can be sacrificed in the interests of other preferences; leaving each step to chance, with no clear path, letting themselves be led by the whim of each moment. These temptations are always lying in wait. It is important not to give in to them because, in reality, they lead to something so evanescent, like an existence with no horizons, a liberty without God. We, on the other hand, know well that we have been created free, in the image of God, precisely so that we might be in the forefront of the search for truth and goodness, responsible for our actions, not mere blind executives, but creative co-workers in the task of cultivating and beautifying the work of creation. God is looking for a responsible interlocutor, someone who can dialogue with him and love him. Through Christ we can truly succeed and, established in him, we give wings to our freedom. Is this not the great reason for our joy? Isn’t this the firm ground upon which to build the civilization of love and life, capable of humanizing all of us?"

From Spain, from this great Nation to which the Pope Emeritus showed his affection, I thank Benedict XVI for his life, for his example and for the great intellectual legacy he has left us.

Rest in peace.

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