EXCLUSIVE: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has died at the age of 95

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died at the age of 95 in Rome on Saturday.

“I regret to inform you that the Honorable Pope Benedict XVI fell asleep today at 9:34 am. at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” the Press Office of the Holy See announced, according to Vatican News. “More information will be provided as soon as possible. From the morning of Monday, January 2, 2023, the body of the Pope Emeritus will lie in St. Peter’s Basilica so that the faithful can pay their respects.”

Pope Francis asked for prayers for the former pontiff on Wednesday after revealing he was “very ill”.

“I would like to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who supports the Church in silence,” Francis told a General Audience at the Vatican. “Remember him – he is very sick – asking the Lord to comfort him and support him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end.”

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Pope Francis will preside over his predecessor’s funeral on Jan. 5 at 9:30 a.m. CET in St. Peter’s Square, according to Vatican News.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, was elected to the papacy on April 19, 2005 and became the first pope in 600 years to resign when he resigned on February 11, 2013 citing age and health, according to Catholic News. Agency (CNA). Since his resignation he has been living in the Vatican gardens, according to the report. (RELATED: New Pope: How Benedict XVI Gave Me My Freedom)

“After repeatedly examining my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my powers due to advanced age are no longer adequate,” Ratzinger said when he retired, according to the Associated Press (AP).

A renowned theologian, Ratzinger participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) as a counselor and later became head of the formerly known Vatican Council for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II, according to CNA.

As pope, Benedict warned of a “dictatorship of relativism” and other ideological threats to religious faith in the modern world, the report continued. He also took action against the sexual abuse crisis plaguing the Church, overseeing revisions of canon law and dismissing many from the clerical state.

Born in 1927 in Bavaria, Benedict and his family lived for a time under Nazi occupation, during which he was forced to join the Nazi youth movement before finally leaving in 1945, according to the AP.

He was ordained a priest alongside his brother Georg in 1951, appointed bishop of Munich in 1977 and made a cardinal three months later by Pope St Paul VI, the report continued.

A famous writer, whose works included “Introduction to Christianity,” and a music lover, Benedict was known for his deep faith and learning, according to CNA.

“I am just a pilgrim beginning the last stage of his pilgrimage on Earth,” Benedict said in 2013, according to CNA. “Let us move forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *