CHICAGO — Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich honored and remembered the late Pope Benedict Saturday.

Benedict was the man who elevated Cupich to bishop of Spokane in 2010.

“Of course, I knew of him when I was a student of theology … because he was a world famous theologian, a first class theologian,” Cupich said. “And so I followed his career from that moment on.  And not only when he worked in the Vatican and became pope but before that.”

Benedict’s election as leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics came during a turning point in church reeling in a vast scandal of clergy abuse.

“And I know that he met with the representatives from the United States at that time and listened to them, gave them a lot of time when he was prefect for the congregation of doctrine to faith,” Cupich said. “So I think that it’s important, that he had a very singular contribution to that regard.”

Of those contributions is a legacy that broke a 600 year tradition of a pope serving until death, when he stepped aside, allowing a new pope to lead.

“There’s so much in continuity with that Benedict was doing and I think it’s noteworthy too, the way that Pope Francis has been so gracious in how he’s interacted with benedict during this time,” Cupich said. “It is an unprecedented situation. And I would think that it’s important to note how gracious Pope Francis was in this time. In the newness of having a retired pope living at the same time as one who is on the Throne of Peter.”

As Cupich makes plans to travel to Rome for the public funeral, he looks to Benedict’s time as leader as productive and transitional for the church… setting a precedent of a pope’s retirement for future pontiffs.

“I do think that it will open the possibility of resigning because of health or age and in fact Pope Francis is very forthright about saying that he would have no hesitation if he could not continue,” Cupich said.  “In fact, he noted that he has already signed his letter of resignation in the event he becomes incapacitated.”

Cardinal will preside of a Mass for Pope Benedict XVI at Holy Name Cathedral on Monday starting at 8 a.m. The Mass will be live-streamed on YouTube.

The Archdiocese of Chicago Parishes will also hold Masses of Remembrance for Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday and Thursday at the locations and times listed below.

Vicariate I:

  • Thursday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. at St. Theresa Parish, 455 N. Benton St., Palatine

Vicariate II:

  • Thursday, Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Church, 1747 Lake Ave., Wilmette

Vicariate III:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. at St. Hyacinth’s Basilica, 3636 W. Wolfram St., Chicago
    Mass will be said in three languages: English, Spanish and Polish. 

Vicariate IV:

  • Thursday, Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Cletus Church, 600 W. 55th St., La Grange
    Mass will be in English and Spanish.

Vicariate V:

  • Thursday, Jan. 5 at St. Albert the Great Church, 8000 S. Linder Ave., Burbank
    Mass will be said in three languages: English, Spanish and Polish

Vicariate VI:

  • Thursday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 5472 S. Kimbark Ave., Chicago