Pope Benedict XVI died at the age of 95 – he resigned from his role as pontiff back in February 2013 which made him the first pope to do so in 600 years. He lived his final days at the Vatican in a convent.
It was revealed earlier this week that he was ill, when Pope Francis said: “I’d like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Emeritus Pope Benedict, who, in silence, is sustaining the church, I remind you that he is very sick.
“Let’s ask the Lord to comfort him and sustain him in this testimony of love to the church to the very end.”
Who is the current Pope?
Francis, formerly named Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013 following the resignation of Pope Benedict.
According to Catholica, Pope Francis is the 266th Pope in the history of the Catholic Church but he is the first in different respects. For example, he is the first Pope originating from the Americas, the first to come from outside Europe in 1272 years and the first who took the name Francis (which originates from Saint Francis of Assisi).
Why did Pope Benedict resign?
Pope Benedict was elected on April 19, 2005, to succeed the globally popular Pope John Paul II who held the title for 27 years. Pope Benedict, formally known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, spent 25 years as the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (their doctrinal office).
Described as a theological conservative, his eight-year papacy was fraught with several controversies that harmed his public image such as reports that he insulted Islam by suggesting it was inherently violent. The BBC reports that Pope Benedict cited his ‘advanced age’ for his reason behind resigning as it prevented him from living up to the role properly.
However, others attribute his resignation to controversies like the 2012 ‘Vatileaks’ which were a series of leaked Vatican documents that exposed corruption behind the organisation, his resignation occurred in the year following.
When did Pope Benedict die?
Pope Francis asked people to pray for his 95-year-old predecessor Benedict as he revealed he was “very sick” to his weekly general audience at the Vatican.
The Vatican then made the announcement on the morning of December 31, 2022, that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had died.
A statement from Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said: "With pain I inform that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesia Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be released as soon as possible."