South Sudanese Catholic Archbishop Eulogizes Former Pope as “defender of doctrine, truth”

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin during Tuesday, January 3 Requiem Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Credit: ACI Africa

The Catholic Archbishop of Juba in South Sudan has eulogized Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who passed on in Rome on New Year 2023 eve as a defender of Catholic Church doctrine and the truth.

Speaking at a Tuesday, January 3 Requiem Mass for the former Pope, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin said Benedict XVI was a man of God who defended the poor and had a special love for Africa.

“Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI should be remembered as a defender of the Church, the doctrine, and the truth, especially in the world full of relativism,” Archbishop Ameyu said in his homily during the Holy Mass at St. Theresa Cathedral of Juba Archdiocese.

He added, “When Pope Benedict XVI talked about the dictatorship of relativism, he meant that relativism plays down the truth of God because nothing is true without God.”

“He suffered because of advocating for the truth in God,” the South Sudanese Archbishop said, and continued, Benedict XVI wanted us to commit ourselves as one family of God to ecumenism dialogue.”


Archbishop Ameyu went on to say that dialogue that the former Pontiff advocated for was the one “from the point of strength that all of us who believe in God should believe in the truth that God has given us.” 

“Benedict XVI was a person given to us by God to help us understand the truth about God,” the 58-year-old South Sudanese Archbishop further said, adding that the late Pope emeritus “advocated for the understanding of the cultures all over the world and defended the poor.”

Archbishop Ameyu also eulogized the former Pope as one who contributed to better human life. “God has given us this privilege of knowing and loving him and walking with him on our path of human life. In knowing him we have hopefully become better,” he said during his January 3 homily.

“We have catalog memories and experiences of this great man which are gifts from God to the Church,” the South Sudanese Archbishop further said, adding, “Benedict XVI was always a man who in a way represented the love of God, and had special love for Africa.”

The late former Pope, Archbishop Ameyu said, “always loved his God even in difficulties, affliction and trial.” 

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“As we mourn this great man, let’s put ourselves in the mood of prayer to recommend his soul to God,” the Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese said.

Born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, the late former Pontiff was elected to the papacy in April 2005, taking the name Benedict XVI.

This election came after decades of service to the Catholic Church as a theologian, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal, and one of the closest collaborators of St. John Paul II, whom he succeeded as Pope.

In February 2013, the then 85-year-old Benedict XVI shocked the world with a Latin-language announcement of his retirement, becoming the first Pope in 600 years to do so. He cited his advanced age and his lack of strength as unsuitable to the exercise of his office.

Widely recognized as one of the Catholic Church's top theologians, the pontificate of Benedict XVI was reportedly marked by a profound understanding of the challenges to the Church in the face of growing ideological aggression, not least from an increasingly secular Western mindset, both within and outside the Church. 


He famously warned about the “dictatorship of relativism” in a homily just before the conclave in 2005 that elected him Pope.

After his retirement in 2013, the late Pope emeritus resided in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, a small convent built in 1994 inside the Vatican City walls, dedicating himself to a life of penance and prayer.

Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.