ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Vatican Press announced this morning that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died at this home at 95. Dr. Andrew Wilson is a professor of Scriptural Studies at the Unification Theological Seminary. He says that Pope Benedict XVI had an amazing intellect and, as a theologian, was involved with setting the course for the catholic church.

“He believed that by affirming traditional theology and strengthening it against liberalizing tendencies…he can defend the faith and keep it strong,” he said.

Dr. Wilson also says that since he was the first Pope to retire from his position in 600 years, Pope Benedict XVI had the opportunity to converse with Pope Francis- despite conflicting views. Pope Benedict XVI was more traditional and conservative, while Pope Francis wanted to keep the door open and accept more modern trends.

“It’s not like they were clashing with each other about the essence of faith; they were both strong Catholics,” Dr. Wilson said. “But it was a difference of approach- a difference of attitudes towards how the Catholic church can operate.”

Bishop Edward Scharfenberg from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany shared the following statement:

Like Saint Joseph, Papa “Benedetto,” as the Italian children would chant to him at audiences I attended, always put his family first. You could feel his love some might call grandfatherly, intimate yet disciplined. More contemplative as he aged, even mystical, he was not distant or otherworldly, and with an almost impish sense of humor, never cranky. Not easy for a German!

For me, personally, he was always the priest, keeping Jesus at the center of his life, Mary-like. I will always admire his sacrificial humility. I am reminded of a prayerful plea of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, Doctor of the Church, towards the end of her short life, “I want to spend my eternity doing good on earth.”

May the immense good Papa Benedetto did on earth also go with him, leaving an abundance behind, even as he journeys before us. We pray for him and with him as brothers and sisters in the Communion of Saints. Requiescat in pace.

Dr. Wilson also says that whether people believe that Pope Benedict XVI was right or wrong…, only history will judge. But the most important aspect to notice is that both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have been able to work together.

“The fact that he and Pope Francis were in a good cordial relationship shows the power of faith to bridge ideological and theological differences,” he said.

Vatican officials are reporting that the body of Pope Benedict XVI will be laid to rest at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.