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Tags: pope benedict xvi | legacy

Father Alar to Newsmax: 'Defense of Truth,' 'Big Heart' Benedict's Legacy

Pope Benedict XVI attends his final general audience in St. Peter's Square on Feb. 27, 2013, in Vatican City, Vatican.(Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 02 January 2023 11:30 AM EST

Former Pope Benedict XVI leaves a legacy not only of his "defense of truth" — but of his "big heart," Marian Father Chris Alar said Monday on Newsmax.

In an interview on Newsmax's National Report, the provincial superior of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in the United States and Argentina said Benedict will be remembered for his humanity.

"For so many of us Catholics, it's the legacy that he left behind, not only in his defense of the truth and his remaining steadfast in church doctrine, but [that] he was a real person," Alar said.

"A lot of people don't know the real side of Pope Benedict. We think of the staunch theologian, but he was such a big heart. He was known for his love of cats — he adopted a stray cat right out of the streets of Rome. He used to even keep a stuffed animal from his mom that was given to him when he was a child. … He actually was a pilot … also a famed pianist. What a legacy he leaves not just from the church doctrine standpoint, but from being a real person."

According to Alar, Benedict's resignation in 2013 was a "shock" to the entire world — but insisted it was not "forced."

"Now we know that he had clearly stated that he felt he could not serve in that capacity due to health reasons and the physical demands of his declining health," Alar said. "But that did cause a lot of questions in the church — was this a forced resignation? But he adamantly held to the fact that this was not forced but due to his health reasons."

And though canon law states he had no power as an "emeritus Pope — nonetheless, I think Pope Francis and many others still turned to him for direction throughout the last few years," Alar said.

Alar also defended Benedict amid criticism he did not forcefully fight sexual abuse by priests as dozens of scandals were made public during his tenure.

"At the time of Pope Benedict's retirement, the Catholic Church was embroiled in the largest sexual abuse scandal in decades," Alar noted. "His handling of the matter was heavily scrutinized in the press, but some might not realize he spent a good part of his career combating sexual abuse within the church."

Alar said the media "overlooked this."

"What were you don't read in the media, was the number of priests that he lay aside, actually had prosecuted," Alar said.

"Yes there was criticism, and he himself said he wished he could have done better. But when you look at his track record, and what he did, and how he did, it actually was very effective," Alar added.

Alar said "the whole world" will be at Benedict's funeral Thursday.

"This is the one beautiful thing about the office of the papacy," he said. "We see in it the whole world coming together. It really is a sign of unity, not the sign of division that many people point to between Protestants and Catholics, but rather a sign a unity."

"The Muslims, the Jews, even the Protestants, even Orthodox and others, even non-Christians all saw a good heart, a good man, a holy man, a man of God," Alar added.


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Former Pope Benedict XVI leaves a legacy not only of his "defense of truth" — but of his "big heart," Marian Father Chris Alar said Monday.
pope benedict xvi, legacy
Monday, 02 January 2023 11:30 AM
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