Pope Benedict's legacy to Church includes promotion of faith
Devotion to 'new evangelisation' key to Benedict's papacy27 February, 13:35
His arguments on behalf of the faith will be one of the legacies that Benedict leaves for the church when he departs for Castel Gandolfo to begin his retirement.
For example, his remarks to the Roman Curia - the central governing body of the Catholic Church - in December 2011 in defence of faith struck a chord with so many that Britain’s The Guardian newspaper extracted a portion to publish for its readers.
"The essence of the crisis of the church in Europe is the crisis of faith," wrote Pope Benedict, in calling for a "new evangelisation".
"If we find no answer to this, if faith does not take on new life, deep conviction and real strength from the encounter with Jesus Christ, then all other reforms will remain ineffective," continued the pope.
"Where doubt over God becomes prevalent, then doubt over humanity follows inevitably," he added. "We see today how widely this doubt is spreading. We see it in the joylessness, in the inner sadness, that can be read on so many human faces today. "Only faith gives me the conviction: it is good that I exist. It is good to be a human being, even in hard times".
The 85-year-old German pontiff shocked the world on February 11 when he revealed that he would step down at the end of the month from what is usually a position held for life.
He said he would step aside for the good of the Church as he lacked the mental and physical strength to keep leading the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
Benedict's interest in promoting the faith also led him, in October 2011, to declare a Year of Faith to begin one year later, in October 2012.
There were several precedents for such declarations as both Benedict and his predecessor Pope John Paul II called for several particular "years" to highlight particular themes and celebrations important to the individual pope.
That has included the Year of the Rosary, the Year of Saint Paul, and most recently, the Year of the Priest. But the current Year of Faith seemed to have a particular importance to Benedict, who has focused on expanding the Catholic faith.
With lectures around the world during his tenure, Benedict also attempted to promote his arguments about the importance of faith to the individual and to the world.
Yet, despite his obvious passion for lectures and debate as well as study, Benedict has insisted that he will go quietly into his retirement, living a life of prayer and contemplation rather than speaking out on issues.
Benedict XVI will be called "pope emeritus" or "Roman pontiff emeritus" after he steps down as the head of the Catholic Church, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said earlier this week.
The title was chosen by Benedict, in consultation with others including the Cardinal Secretary of State and Camerlengo Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy See's Secretariat of State and the College of Cardinals, said Lombardi.
Befitting his new position, Benedict will continue to wear a simple white papal cassock, minus the mozzetta - the short cape that covers his shoulders.
Lombardi also said that in retirement, Benedict will wear brown shoes given to him by Mexican cobblers during a visit last year rather than the distinctive red ones he has worn during his papacy that were made by Italian craftsman Adriano Stefanelli. "The pope really liked the gift of the shoes made for him by the artisans of Leon, Mexico, and he will continue to use them," Lombardi said.
Benedict's papers have been split between documents regarding the government of the Church, "which will go to the competent archives", and his personal notes, which will stay with him.