The 95-year-old Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away in Vatican City after a period of ill health.
In a statement from the Vatican, Benedict, who was the first pope in almost 600 years to resign from office rather than keep it for life, passed away at 9:34 (08:34 GMT) on Saturday, December 30, 2022
News of his death came days after Pope Francis urged the people to pray for Benedict, stating that he was “extremely unwell.”
“I would like to request that everyone say a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who upholds the Church in his silence. He is gravely ill. Francis remarked during his general audience on Wednesday, “We implore the Lord to comfort and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church to the very end.
His health had been deteriorating for a while.
The retiring pope pledged to be “hidden” from the world in his goodbye speech, but he continued to speak up on religious issues in the years after his resignation, fueling divisions within the Catholic Church.
For many years, Benedict was a significant figure in the Catholic Church.
He was the son of a police officer and was born in Germany in 1927 as Joseph Ratzinger. He received his priestly ordination in 1951, was elevated to the rank of cardinal in 1977, and later worked as Pope John Paul II’s top theological advisor.
His appointment as head of the Vatican body that regulates “the teaching on the faith and morality throughout the Catholic world,” the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, in 1981 was one of his most major career advancements.
As a result of his efforts to repress the liberation theology movement, religious plurality, challenges to conventional beliefs regarding subjects like homosexuality, and calls to ordain women as priests, Ratzinger earned the nickname “Cardinal No.”
In April 2005, after the passing of Pope John Paul II, he was elected.
In comparison to his successor, Pope Francis, who has taken steps to soften the Vatican’s stance on abortion and homosexuality as well as taking more action to address the sexual abuse crisis that has engulfed the church in recent years and tarnished Benedict’s legacy, he was known to be more conservative.