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His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan Reflects on the Life of Pope Benedict XVI

While broadcasting from Rome, Father Dave, Lino Rulli of SiriusXM’s Catholic Channel, and Timothy Cardinal Dolan reflect on Pope Benedict XVI’s life following his funeral.

Father Dave notes that Pope Benedict XVI named Cardinal Dolan to his current position in the Church in 2012, while serving as Archbishop of New York. Cardinal Dolan recalls, “I was on a retreat, and the [Papal] nuncio called. He said that you’ve been nominated a cardinal…actually, it’s providential that you mention it, because it was the eve of the Epiphany when I got the call, and that’s today here in Italy.” 

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They discuss different aspects of the funeral Mass for Pope Benedict XVI, which was held earlier in the day. “The readings, which Benedict chose, were beautiful,” Cardinal Dolan says and reflects on the gospel reading. “This doesn’t happen often in Catholic funerals, and I often wonder why, is the story of the death of Jesus on Calvary and the story of the good thief… At the end of his life, he found another disciple.” He also remembers a powerful homily that Pope Benedict XVI delivered on this reading. “He was a practical preacher, even though he was a towering intellect,” Cardinal Dolan notes. 

They also recall his wit in some personal stories, specifically when Cardinal Dolan introduced his mom to Pope Benedict. “I said, ‘Holy Father, this is my mom.’ And he looked and he said, ‘But you are too young to be the mother of a cardinal.’ And my mom without missing a beat said, ‘Holy Father, I’ve always believed you’re infallible.’ That was one of mom’s better moments.”

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Cardinal Dolan, Father Dave and Lino all note the importance of sharing joyful memories following a funeral, despite our sadness. Cardinal Dolan recalls a story that late-night host Stephen Colbert shared about his father’s death as a child. 

He retells the story saying, “[Colbert] said, ‘I was furious because my family was laughing. They were recalling good times about Dad. I thought, how can you be laughing now, Dad is dead.’ And he said, ‘Even as a child it dawned on me, well, they have hope. They have a sense of joy, God’s in charge.’ And that’s where we are now.”