Pope Benedict will continue his long-running role as the patron saint of the Catholic Church after Pope Francis granted him a second four-year term as head of the church, Vatican sources say.
“My goal is to continue the work that I’ve started,” Benedict told reporters on Friday.
“And I will continue it with a focus on the church.”
The pontiff’s first year as pope was marked by some of the most serious scandals in recent history.
He is the first pope since the reign of St. John XXIII to have a second papacy.
Benedict was widely expected to succeed Francis after the current pope, Francis, was elected in June, but Benedict was also expected to remain in the Vatican after his term expired in 2021.
Benedict will retire in 2019, but the Vatican has said it wants him to continue his work as the church’s patron saint.
He has called himself the “savior of the world,” and he has been known to hold large mass events, including the weekly Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.
He also has an active ministry of “councilors of religion” and “missionaries of the Gospel.”
“Theology,” which was defined by Benedict in a 2012 encyclical, “The Joy of Faith,” is considered to be the most spiritual branch of Christianity.
“I do not see myself as a philosopher.
I see myself primarily as a missionary of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said in a recent interview with German magazine Der Spiegel.
Benedict has also said he will not seek to become pope again until the end of his current term.
The pontiffs last four-term term ended in 2020, and he was replaced by Pope Francis in January 2021.
The Pope has a reputation for being hard-nosed and a staunch supporter of religious freedom.
He was the first pontiff in nearly two centuries to resign after his second term expired, and Benedict said he was “totally unprepared” for the challenge of being pope.
“We did not expect this challenge, this difficult thing,” he told reporters at the time.
“But I am totally prepared, and I am completely ready, and my job is to do the work.”