Pope Benedict has died at the age of 95 in his residence in the Vatican. The news was announced in a short official statement on New Year’s Eve morning.
“It is with pain that I inform you that Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 a.m. in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” wrote Mattea Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office. The Vatican added that the body of Benedict XVI will rest in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome from January 2 for “the greeting of the faithful.”
It was Pope Francis who first revealed that Benedict was seriously ill just days ago during his Dec. 28 audience when he told those gathered in the Vatican that his predecessor was “very ill” and asked for “a special prayer.” . The Vatican later confirmed that his condition had “worsened due to age” and that he was receiving constant medical care, NBC reported.
Benedict made history in 2013 when he became the first pope in more than 600 years to resign, citing “advanced age” and failing health amid the clerical sex abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church. He himself was also accused of failing to act on child sexual abuse by priests when he was Archbishop of Munich.
He had been Pope for eight years after the death of Pope John Paul II in April 2005.
Former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, Benedict was born in 1927 in Marktl, Bavaria. He was ordained in 1951 and rose through the ranks of the Catholic Church to become pope in 2005 at the age of 78.
He remained largely out of the public eye after his retirement, but in February 2022 he said in a statement: “I can only express to all victims of sexual abuse my deep shame, my deep pain and my sincere apology for forgiveness. I have had great responsibilities in the Catholic Church. All the greater is my pain for all the abuses and horrors that occurred in those different places during the time of my mandate.
Benedict, who defended the views of the Catholic Church on issues such as abortion and contraception, was played by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the 2019 film. The two potatoes. The film was a fictional account of the relationship between Benedict and Pope Francis, played by Jonathan Pryce.