Retired Pope Benedict XVI is dead.
Eko Hot Blog reports that Pope Benedict XVI, the eminent German theologian who shocked the Roman Catholic church when he resigned in 2013, has died.
The Vatican disclosed that Benedict died on Saturday at the age of 95.
“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” a declaration by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, reads.
“Further information will be provided as soon as possible.”
Declaration of the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni
“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican.
Further information will be provided as soon as possible.”
— Holy See Press Office (@HolySeePress) December 31, 2022
Benedict was the first pope to resign in 600 years. He led the office for nearly 25 years.
His resignation shook the Roman Catholic church to its core, putting the institution in little-charted territory.
Before Benedict’s election as pope on April 19, 2005, his supporters saw him as their intellectual and spiritual north star, a leader who, as a powerful Vatican official, upheld church doctrine in the face of growing secularism and pressure to change to get more people into the pews.
Benedict, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, was ordained a priest in 1951, and named archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1977, the same year that he became a cardinal.
Four years later, Pope John Paul II summoned Cardinal Ratzinger to Rome, where he became the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office responsible for defending church orthodoxy, one of the Vatican’s most important positions.
After John Paul II died in 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger was chosen as his successor. He took the name of a sixth-century monk, Benedict of Nurcia, who had founded monasteries and the Benedictine order, helping spread Christianity in Europe.
Ultimately, Pope Benedict bowed out during a period of scandals and immense pressures. He cited his declining health, both “of mind and body.” He had said that he resigned freely, and “for the good of the church.”
He lived in retirement in a monastery on the Vatican grounds, mostly stepping back from public life and dedicating himself to prayer and meditation.
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