Vatican: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who served as leader of the Catholic Church from 2005 until his resignation in 2013, has died at the age of 95. Pope Benedict is the first pope to resign in 600 years.
The death comes after Pope Francis announced during his weekly audience on December 28 that “Benedict was very sick.”
“With sorrow, I inform you that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible,” the Vatican spokesman Mr. Matteo Bruni shared.
According to the Vatican statement, the body of the Pope Emeritus will be placed in St. Peter’s Basilica on January 2 for “the greeting of the faithful.” Pope Francis will lead the funeral on January 5 in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
The former Pope spent his final years at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery within the walls of the Vatican.
The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, remarked that “Pope Benedict was one of the great theologians of the 20th century.”
“I remember with particular affection the remarkable Papal Visit to these lands in 2010. We saw his courtesy, his gentleness, the perceptiveness of his mind, and the openness of his welcome to everybody that he met,” Cardinal Vincent added.
British Prime Minister Mr. Rishi Sunak called the former Pope “a great theologian whose UK visit in 2010 was an historic moment for both Catholics and non-Catholics throughout our country.”
Italian Prime Minister Ms. Giorgia Meloni shared that “Pope Benedict was a giant of faith and reason.”
“He put his life at the service of the universal Church and spoke, and will continue to speak, to the hearts and minds of men with the spiritual, cultural, and intellectual depth of his magisterium,” the Italian Prime Minister added.