Former Pope Benedict XVI Dies At 95

Former Pope Benedict XVI died at the age of 95, almost a decade after he stepped down because of his poor health.

He was Pope for less than eight years until he resigned in 2013. He was the first Pope to step down since Gregory XII in 1415. Benedict spent his last years at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery inside the Vatican walls, where he died at 8:34 a.m. Saturday (08:34 GMT).

On January 5, Pope Francis, who is his successor, will be in charge of the funeral.

The Vatican said that the body of the former Pope would be put in St. Peter’s Basilica on January 2 so that “the faithful” can say goodbye to him. After the death was announced, bells began to ring in Munich, and a single bell could be heard in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

Former Pope Benedict XVI Dies At 95
Former Pope Benedict XVI Dies At 95

In his first public comments since the news of Pope Benedict’s death came out, Pope Francis called him a gift to the church and said he was a noble and kind man. At a New Year’s Eve service at the Vatican, he paid tribute to his “dearest” predecessor, focusing on “his sacrifices for the good of the church.” Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who is in charge of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, called Pope Benedict “one of the great theologians of the 20th century.”

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He said in a statement: “I remember the amazing Papal Visit to these lands in 2010 with a lot of love. We saw his kindness, how gentle he was, how smart he was, and how he welcomed everyone he met with open arms.”

Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, said that“a great theologian whose UK visit in 2010 was an historic moment for both Catholics and non-Catholics throughout our country”.

King Charles III said that  “he received the news of Pope Benedict’s death “with deep sadness” and recalled “with fondness” meeting the him during a visit to the Vatican in 2009.

“I also remember how hard he worked to spread peace and goodwill to everyone and to strengthen ties between the worldwide Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.”

Joe Biden, only the second Catholic to serve as US president – said Pope Benedict “will be remembered as a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and faith”. Mr Biden singled out the pope’s remarks during a 2008 visit to the White House in which the former pontiff said “the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that Pope Benedict “worked with soul and intelligence for a more brotherly world” and that he was thinking of Catholics in France and all over the world.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Pope Benedict “was a giant of faith and reason”.

“He put his life at the service of the whole Church, and with the spiritual, cultural, and intellectual depth of his Magisterium, he spoke to the hearts and minds of men and will continue to do so.”

Olaf Scholz, the chancellor of Germany, said that the former pope would be remembered for “his untiring efforts to find a common path in promoting peace and goodwill throughout the world”.

Michael D. Higgins, the president of Ireland, said that the former pope would be remembered for “his tireless efforts to find a way to promote peace and goodwill around the world.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said that Pope Benedict was “one of the greatest theologians of his time” who was dedicated to the faith of the Church and steadfast in defending it.

In his New Year’s speech to the country, Vladimir Putin said that Pope Benedict was a “defender of traditional Christian values.”

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