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Montana priest reflects on the death of Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict
Posted at 11:40 AM, Jan 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 13:40:26-05

HELENA - Pope Benedict XVI passed away on Dec. 31, 2022.

Father Bart Tolleson of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena followed Benedict when he was actively Pope and shared what Benedict XVI meant to the religion.

Pope Benedict XVI passed away just before the New Year began at the age of 95, within the walls of the Vatican.

Benedict XVI was selected as pope in 2005 but stepped down in 2013 due to health concerns. He was the first pope to do so in almost 600 years.
Father Tolleson — who has been a member of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena for years — says Pope Benedict XVI was a critical leader of the religion.

"Pope Benedict was just an amazing scholar. He brought the scriptures to life. He brought so many saints to life in his writings and his thinking and really brought so much ideas, so many ideas in the church to life for me. So it was a very much of a life faith, a joyful faith, a faith that wasn't just stuck in books, but really was lived in the heart," said Tolleson.

Pope Benedict XVI inspired many priests, and Tolleson reflected on Benedict's legacy ahead of the funeral.

"I think he leaves us a great legacy in his writings, in his thinking. I think also a just a real love for the faith, a real love for Jesus Christ, not only as a kind of an idea but as a person," said Tolleson.

Tolleson added that Pope Benedict XVI's writing will be continued to be studied long after his death, "his writings, his thought will be studied in seminaries for centuries to come. I have no doubt."

The current pope, Francis, will oversee Benedict's funeral in St. Peters Square on Thursday.