Former Pope Benedict XVI dies in Vatican aged 95


Pope Francis paid tribute to his predecessor on Saturday, after Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died in a Vatican monastery at the age of 95.

“We are moved as we remember him as such a noble, kind person and we feel such gratitude in our hearts, gratitude to God for giving him to the church and to the world,” Francis said in the basilica. St. Peter while leading the traditional tradition. Vespers ceremony before New Year’s Day.

“Thankfulness to him for all the good he has done and above all for his testimony of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his life. Only God knows the value of his sacrifices for the good of the Church,” Francis added.

Benedict XVI, who was the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to step down from his post, rather than hold office for life, died on Saturday, according to a Vatican statement.

“With sadness, I inform you that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died today at 9:34 a.m. at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican,” said the director of the Holy See’s press office, Matteo Bruni.

The funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will take place Thursday in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City at 9:30 a.m. local time, Bruni said. The funeral will be conducted by Pope Francis.

The former pope’s body will be laid out in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican from Monday for the faithful to bid farewell, Vatican News reported. Per the pope emeritus’ wishes, his funeral will be “simple”, Bruni said.

News of Benedict XVI’s death came days after Pope Francis asked the faithful to pray for him, saying he was “very ill”.

His health had been declining for some time.

Benedict XVI stunned Catholic followers and religious experts around the world on February 11, 2013, when he announced his intention to step down as pope, citing his “advanced age.”

In his farewell address, the outgoing pope vowed to remain ‘hidden’ from the world, but he continued to speak out on religious issues in the years since his retirement, contributing to tensions within the Church Catholic.

Benedict has been a powerful force in the Catholic Church for decades. Born Joseph Ratzinger in Germany in 1927, he was the son of a policeman. He was ordained a priest in 1951, made a cardinal in 1977, and later served as chief theological adviser to Pope John Paul II.

One of his most important milestones came in 1981 when he took over as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that oversees “doctrine on faith and morals in the Catholic world. “, according to the Vatican.

Ratzinger became known as “Cardinal No” because of his efforts to suppress the liberation theology movement, religious pluralism, challenges to traditional teachings on issues such as homosexuality, and calls to ordain women priests.

He was elected pope in April 2005, after the death of John Paul II.

He was known to be more conservative than his successor, Pope Francis, who took steps to soften the Vatican’s stance on abortion and homosexuality, as well as to do more to address the sexual abuse crisis that has engulfed the church in recent years and clouded Benedict’s legacy.

The former pope, pictured September 9, 2007, was known to be more conservative than his successor, Pope Francis.

In April 2019, Benedict XVI addressed the sexual abuse crisis in a public letter, saying it was partly caused by the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the liberalization of the Church’s moral teachings.

In January 2020, Benedict was forced to distance himself from a book widely seen as undermining Francis as he considered whether or not to allow married men to become priests in certain cases. The book, “From the Bottom of Our Hearts,” argued for the centuries-old tradition of priestly celibacy within the Catholic Church. Benoît was initially listed as a co-author, but later clarified that he contributed only one section of the text.

A year later, Benedict came under fire for his tenure as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, between 1977 and 1982, following the publication of a Church-commissioned report into abuses by Catholic clergy there. .

The report found that during his tenure he was made aware of four cases of sexual abuse involving minors – two of which occurred during his tenure – but failed to act. It also revealed that Benedict had attended a meeting about an abuser identified as Priest X. Following the release of the report, Benedict pushed back against accusations that he knew in 1980 that this priest was an abuser.

In a letter released by the Vatican amid the fury, Benedict wrote that he was “in good spirits” as he faced the “final judge of my life”, despite his shortcomings. He also issued a general apology to survivors of abuse.

World leaders paid tribute to the former pope after his death. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England, said he was “mourning” the former pope.

“Pope Benedict was one of the greatest theologians of his time – committed to the faith of the Church and staunch in its defense,” Welby said in a statement on Saturday.

“In all things, especially in his writings and his preaching, he looked to Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God. It was perfectly clear that Christ was the root of his thought and the basis of his prayer.

“In 2013, Pope Benedict made the courageous and humble decision to resign from the papacy, the first pope to do so since the 15th century. By making this choice freely, he recognized the human frailty that affects us all,” he added.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said he will remember the former pope with “love and gratitude”.

“Sad to learn of the death of His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” European Parliament President Roberta Metsola tweeted on Saturday.

“Europe mourns him. May he rest in peace.”

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Cyril, told Pope Francis on Saturday that he received the news of Benedict’s death with “sadness”, according to the message shared on the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate.

“His Holiness’s many years of life marked an entire epoch in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, which he led through a difficult historical period, associated with many external and internal challenges,” Kirill told About Benedict XVI.

Kirill added that relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church had “developed considerably” during Benedict’s tenure, with the aim of “overcoming the sometimes painful legacy of the past.”

“On behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church, I offer my condolences to you and to the flock of the Roman Catholic Church,” he continued.

US President Joe Biden said the late pontiff “will be remembered as a renowned theologian, with a life of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and his faith.”

Biden, the second Catholic to serve as U.S. president, recalled meeting Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2011, saying he remembered “his generosity and hospitality and our meaningful conversation.”

“As he remarked during his visit to the White House in 2008, ‘the need for global solidarity is more urgent than ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity.’ May his focus on the ministry of charity continue to be an inspiration to us all,” Biden added.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also paid tribute. “I am saddened to learn of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” Sunak tweeted on Saturday.

“He was a great theologian whose visit to the UK in 2010 was a historic moment for Catholics and non-Catholics across our country.

World leaders paid tribute to the German-born former pope, pictured September 12, 2006.

The Archbishop of Canterbury greeted the former pope, pictured November 30, 2005, as

The new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has expressed his admiration for the former pope. “Benedict XVI was a giant of faith and reason. He put his life at the service of the universal Church and spoke, and will continue to speak, to the hearts and minds of men with the spiritual, cultural and intellectual depth of his Magisterium,” she tweeted on Saturday. .

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is leading Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, has called the former pope “a fervent defender of traditional Christian values”.


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