Former Pope Benedict XVI dies age 95

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has died in Vatican City at the age of 95 due to ill health.

Benedict, the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign rather than take up a tenure, died Saturday, according to a statement. Vatican.

“It is with great sadness that we inform you that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away at 9:34 today at the Convent of Mater Ecclesia in the Vatican,” said Matteo Bruni, Vatican Press Secretary.

“Further information will be provided as soon as possible.”

His obituary came days after Pope Francis said Benedict was “very ill” and asked his followers to pray for Benedict.

“I would like to ask a special prayer for Pope Benedict, who supports the Church in silence. He is very ill. I ask that you comfort and support me,” Francisco said at a general audience on Wednesday.

For some time his health had deteriorated.

Benedict surprised Catholics and religious experts around the world on February 11, 2013, when he announced plans to step down as pope, citing his “old age.”

In his farewell address, the outgoing pope promised to “hide” from the world, but he continued to speak out on religious issues for years after retirement, heightening tensions within the Catholic Church.

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 and a cardinal in 1977, and later Pope John he served as chief theological advisor to Pope Paul II.

According to the Vatican, one of his most significant steps came in 1981 when he became head of the Congregation for Faith and Doctrine, the Vatican office that oversees “the doctrine of faith and morality throughout the Catholic world.”

Ratzinger stems from his efforts to crack down on liberation theology movements, religious pluralism, challenges to traditional teachings on issues such as homosexuality, and calls for the ordination of women as priests. ” became known as

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

He has moved to soften the Vatican’s position on abortion and homosexuality, and has done much to address the sexual abuse crisis that has engulfed the church in recent years and has overshadowed his successor, Pope Francis. was also known to be conservative.Benedict’s legacy.

In April 2019, Benedict discussed the sexual abuse crisis in an open letter, blaming it in part for the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the liberalization of moral teachings in the church.

In January 2020, Benedict was forced to distance himself from a book widely viewed as disrespectful to Francis as he considered whether to allow married men to become priests in certain cases. The book, From the Deepest of Our Hearts, endorsed the centuries-old tradition of clerical celibacy within the Catholic Church. Benedict was initially listed as a co-author, but later revealed that he contributed only his one section of the text.

A year later, during his tenure as archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982, Benedict was denounced after the publication of a church-commissioned report on abuses by Catholic clergy.

According to reports, he had received four reports of sexual abuse involving minors during his tenure, including two that occurred while he was in office. , took no action. It is also revealed that Benedict attended a conference on an abuser identified as Priest X. After the report was published, Benedict refuted accusations that he knew the priest was an abuser in 1980.

In a letter published by the Vatican, Benedict wrote that despite his shortcomings, he was “cheerful” when he faced “the final judgment of my life.” He also issued a general apology to abuse survivors.

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