Skip to main content

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leads his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 11, 2009

Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters

"The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves. … Every day new sects are created and what St. Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw people into error. Having a clear faith today is often labelled 'fundamentalism.'"

–Remarks in 2005 at a mass the day before his nomination as pope, while he was still Cardinal Ratzinger

"To speak in this place of horror, in this place where unprecedented mass crimes were committed against God and man, is almost impossible – and it is particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a pope from Germany. In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can only be a dread silence – a silence which is itself a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent?"

Story continues below advertisement

–Speech at Auschwitz-Birkenau, 2006

"There is a strongly felt need ... for a reform of the United Nations organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth. … There is urgent need of a true world political authority."

Comments in his third encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, or Charity in Truth, in 2009

"You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. … I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel."

Pastoral letter to Irish Catholics in March, 2010, the first statement by the Vatican on the sexual abuse scandals

"In his choice of the hermit life might there not have been individualism or an escape from responsibility? This temptation does of course exist. But in the experiences approved by the Church, the solitary life of prayer and penance is always at the service of the community, open to others." –Speech in July 2010, referring to Celestine V, the 13th-century pope who was the last to choose to retire

Gay marriage destroys the "essence of the human creature. … People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves."

Story continues below advertisement

–A pre-Christmas address in December, 2012

Wire services and

Report an error Licensing Options

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨