A letter written by the Pope Emeritus was published on the website of the Cistercian Monastery of Wilhering.
Newsroom (20/10/2021 08:30, Gaudium Press) Benedict XVI responded to the death of Fr. Gerhard Winkler, a Cistercian friend, in a moving letter sent to the monastery. Here is the translation of the letter, dated 2 October:
“Dear Father Abbot!
The news of the death of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Winkler, which you have transmitted to me, has deeply impressed me. Of all my colleagues and friends, he was the closest to me; his joy and deep faith always attracted me. Now he has reached the afterlife, where many friends surely await him. I hope to be able to join them soon. In the meantime, I am united in prayer with him and the monastic community in Wilhering.
Warm greetings and blessings,
Gerhard Bernhard Winkler was born in Wilhering in 1931, entered the monastery in 1951 and was ordained a priest in 1955.
The priest worked with Pope Benedict XVI – then Professor Joseph Ratzinger – from 1974 to 1983 as a full professor of Church History at the University of Regensburg. From 1983 to 1999, he was professor of Church History at the University of Salzburg.
Since October 2018, Fr. Gerhard Bernhard Winkler had been living in a retirement home run by religious sisters, where he was lovingly cared for.
With information from CNA Deutsch
Compiled by Sandra Chisholm