Benedict XVI paid tribute to German Cardinal Joachim Meisner, describing him as a “passionate Pastor” and a “spiritual Father,” on the occasion of his funeral, held at Cologne, Germany, on July 15, 2017.
Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and private secretary of the Pope Emeritus, read the Pope Emeritus’ words, reported in Italian by Vatican Insider. The Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Cologne, died on July 5 at the age of 83.
“For him, passionate Pastor and spiritual Father, it was difficult to leave his post at this moment when the Church is in need of Pastors of conviction who are able to resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the times . . . but he learned to let go in the last period of his life, and he was able to live it with the profound certainty that the Lord does not abandon His Church,” wrote Benedict XVI.
Benedict XVI, who recently had a telephone conversation with Cardinal Meisner, said: “What impressed me most in these last conversations with the deceased Cardinal was his relaxed serenity, his interior joy and the trust he found.”
The Pope Emeritus recalled the circumstances of his death. “The Breviary fell from his hands; he died while he was praying, looking at the Lord and talking with Him,” which shows “how he lived: in the presence of the Lord and in conversation with Him. We must entrust his soul with certitude to the goodness of God.”
He also recalled that the deceased “had a great love for the Churches of Central Eastern Europe, which suffered so much from Communist persecution.”