Benedict XVI, the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died at 95, the Vatican announced Saturday.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away today at 9:34 at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
Since he stepped down in February 2013, the German pope emeritus had been living a quiet life in a former convent inside the Vatican grounds.
Despite his declining health for a long time, the Vatican revealed on Wednesday that his condition had worsened, and his successor Pope Francis asked for prayers.
Two “men in white” — Benedict and Francis — coexisted within the walls of the tiny city state before his death.
There’s no rulebook for former popes, but Francis will preside over Benedict’s funeral at the Vatican.
One million people, including heads of state, attended the funeral mass for John Paul II, the last pope to die, in St Peter’s Square in 2005.
Infighting and scandal
He had almost completely withdrawn from public view, his health was shaky, and the few photos of him showed his fragility.
Earlier this year, he became the first pope since 1415 to resign from the job as head of the worldwide Catholic church, citing his declining health.
He was a brilliant theologian, but his papacy was beset by Vatican infighting and a scandal over clerical sexual abuse of children that rocked the Catholic Church, in which he was criticized for not leading.
His final months were overshadowed by the abuse scandal after a damning report for the German church accused him of not stopping four predatory priests in the 1980s.
He denied wrongdoing and the Vatican defended his record for apologising for the scandals, expressing his own “deep remorse” and meeting with victims.
In April 2005, Benedict became the first German pope since John Paul II, born April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria.
Later, he said it felt like a guillotine.
In a previous role as chief doctrinal enforcer, Benedict was dubbed “God’s Rottweiler” in contrast to his successor Pope Francis, a Jesuit who loves to be with his flock.
The pope’s papacy was dogged by controversy, from comments that angered the Muslim world to a money-laundering scandal at the Vatican bank and a personal humiliation when his butler leaked secret papers.
After his resignation, he repeatedly intervened on key Church issues through books, interviews, and articles despite saying he’d live “hidden from the world.”
In January 2020, he said priests shouldn’t get married. Years earlier, he blamed clerical abuse scandals on the 1960s sexual revolution and a collapse in faith.
In March 2021, he said “there is only one pope,” but acknowledged “fanatical” supporters.
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