Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was laid to rest in Rome last Thursday, following a simple but beautiful funeral Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Before he was elected Pope in 2005, Benedict (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) served as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope St. John Paul II. During his many years in that position, and during his years as pope, he was often disdainfully referred to as “God’s Rottweiler” by his vocal (and usually heterodox) critics.
The title was certainly meant to be an insult, but in point of fact it can also be viewed as a tremendous compliment. After all, Rottweilers are best known for protecting and defending their owners and all that their owners hold dear — which is precisely what all popes, bishops and priests are supposed to do with respect to Jesus Christ and his Gospel! As St. Paul wrote to St. Timothy, “Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.”
In other words, St. Timothy, “Be a Rottweiler — and be a good one!” Pope Benedict XVI was — and for that many of us are eternally grateful.