Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, passed away at his home in the Vatican. He was 95.
The Holy See made the disclosure in a brief statement that was released early on Saturday morning.
“With regret, I tell you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, in an email to reporters. Benedict XVI had been in poor health for some time. “Additional details will be made available as soon as they become available.”
The Vatican also said that Benedict’s bones would be interred at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome beginning on January 2 so that “the faithful” may pay their respects there.
According to a report from The New York Times on Saturday, which cited a Vatican spokesman, his funeral will take place on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. local time in St. Peter’s Square, and it will be presided over by his successor, Pope Francis. The spokesman added that the service would be a “solemn but sober funeral.”
On Wednesday, December 28, Pope Francis made the first public disclosure at the Vatican on his predecessor’s illness by stating that Benedict was “extremely sick” and requesting “a specific prayer” on his behalf from the congregation he was addressing.
According to NBC News, the Vatican subsequently acknowledged that Benedict’s health had “deteriorated owing to age.” This information was provided by the Vatican.
Beginning in 2005, shortly after Pope John Paul II passed away in April of that year, Benedict assumed the role of leader of the Catholic Church in Vatican City and remained in that capacity for close to eight years.
Joseph Ratzinger, a former cardinal who was one of the oldest people ever to be elected Pope at the age of 78 when he accepted the post, was born in Germany and was one of the oldest people ever to become Pope.
In 2013, Benedict made news when he abruptly stepped aside from his job, becoming the first pope to do so in over 600 years. He was the first person to do so in nearly 600 years.
In his statement, Benedict emphasized his “old age,” stressing that “both vigors of intellect and body are essential” to lead the Church.
According to the BBC, he stated at the time, “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.” “I am well aware that this ministry must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.”
At the age of 85, Benedict celebrated his last mass as Pope in February 2013. In front of more than 55,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Francis expressed his gratitude to all who supported him for understanding his choice.
When asked about it at the time, he said that “to love the church also involves having the fortitude to take tough choices.”
However, scandals involving the sexual a.b.u.s.e. of children cast a shadow on Benedict’s papacy. According to the BBC, in 2009 there were two different investigations that detailed the amount of a.b.u.s.e that had occurred inside the Irish Church. A few years later, Benedict removed the priestly ordination of around 400 individuals.
An investigation that was commissioned by the church and released in January of this year found that Benedict had neglected to punish priests in at least four instances of sexual misconduct during his time serving as the archbishop of Munich, Germany.
At least 497 victims, most of whom were young guys, were determined to have been molested between the years 1977 and 1982, and it is thought that there were other victims who did not come forward with their stories.
Benedict was accused of mismanaging the a.b.u.s.e cases and, in at least some instances, without adequately punishing the clergy implicated. This accusation was leveled against Benedict. According to NBC News, the former Pope denied any misconduct that was alleged in the article.