Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey Monforton reflects on Pope Benedict XVI
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - “Well, Pope Benedict was a father to us like Pope Francis is as well,” says Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey Monforton. “And it’s the loss of a dad, loss of a priest who became successor of Saint Peter and loved the church so well, but he also loved his priests.”
Bishop Monforton first met Pope Benedict XVI back in 1987 as a Semarian and Benedict serving as the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of The Faith.
He would later see him again in July of 2012 to be appointed as the Diocese of Steubenville Bishop with Benedict serving as Pope.
“Then, that September, we have after my ordination as a Bishop, I went to Rome to what we call ‘Baby Bishop School.’ All the Bishops who are ordained that year come for a series of conferences over the course of a couple of weeks,” says Bishop Monforton. “Well, at the end of those conferences, we have a chance to meet with the Pope one-on-one. And so, I had a chance to greet him. And we spoke in English. His English was excellent, much better than my German. And I’m grateful that we had a chance to visit, and it was the second time I had a chance to visit with him.”
And now, with Pope Benedict’s passing, Bishop Monforton says the pope will be moving on to “eternal life.”
Something that Bishop Monforton says was the Pope’s main focus.
“And so, he’s experiencing that,” says Bishop Monforton. “Which he has, of course, preached for us to keep our eyes on all along. We priests continue to do that in our ministry as well that what we see and hear in this world is perception. But it’s not complete reality. There’s much more to this life than what we see and hear.”
Bishop Monforton says what he will remember about Pope Benedict is his courage and humility in being the first Pope in six centuries to retire.
Also known as “Pope Emeritus.”
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