Former Pope Benedict XVI Has Died at the Age of 95

Since his shocking resignation in February 2013, the German pope emeritus, whose birth name was Joseph Ratzinger, had been leading a tranquil life at a disused convent on the premises of the Vatican.

Nearly ten years after becoming the first pope to step down in six centuries, the Vatican announced on Saturday that former pope Benedict XVI had passed away at 95.

“With sorrow, I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

Since his shocking resignation in February 2013, the German pope emeritus, whose birth name was Joseph Ratzinger, had been leading a tranquil life at a disused convent on the premises of the Vatican.

His condition had been deteriorating for some time. Still, the Vatican announced Wednesday that it had worsened, and his successor, Pope Francis, urged Catholics worldwide to pray for him.

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Two “men in white,” Benedict and Francis, coexisted within the gates of the tiny city-state, which was an exceptional arrangement that ended with his death.

Although there is no set protocol for past popes, Francis is anticipated to preside over Benedict’s funeral at the Vatican.

John Paul II, the last pope to pass away, was laid to rest in St. Peter’s Square in 2005 before his burial mass, which was attended by a million people, including heads of state.

Scandal and internal strife Benedict had reportedly almost wholly withdrawn from public view, and the rare images that did surface of him revealed his weakness.

He became the first pope to resign from his position as leader of the Catholic church since 1415 in 2013, citing his deteriorating physical and mental health.

Although he was a great theologian, Benedict was criticized for his lack of leadership during the scandal involving clerical s*xual abuse of children, which rocked the Catholic Church worldwide.

_Pope Benedict XVI Has Died
_Pope Benedict XVI Has Died

A damning investigation by the German church accused him of personally failing to stop four predatory priests in the 1980s. At the same time, the archbishop of Munich, the abuse crisis clouded his final months.

He denied any misconduct, and the Vatican defended his record as the first pope to apologize for the abuses and meet with victims while expressing his “deep regret.”

The first German pope of the modern period, Benedict, was 78 years old when he succeeded the long-reigning and well-liked John Paul II in April 2005. Benedict was born on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria.

Later, he claimed that his victory felt “like the guillotine.”

Benedict was a conservative academic dubbed “God’s Rottweiler” in a previous position as primary doctrinal enforcer, in contrast to his successor Pope Francis, a Jesuit who enjoys being among his flock.

His papacy was marred by controversy, including remarks that infuriated the Muslim world, a money-laundering scandal at the Vatican bank, and a humiliating incident when, in 2012, his butler disclosed classified documents to the media.

He declared that he would live “hidden from the world” after resigning, although he continued to speak out on important Church matters through books, interviews, and essays.

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He voiced his opposition to allowing priests to be married in January 2020. A year prior, he attributed the clerical abuse scandals to the s*xual revolution of the 1960s and a decline in Western faith.

In an interview in March 2021, he said, “there is only one pope,” but acknowledged “fanatical” supporters who refused to accept his resignation.

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