Pope Benedict XVI, who became the 265th pontiff following the death of Pope John Paul II, has died at the age of 95, Vatican officials have confirmed. Concerns over the health of the former head of the Catholic church had been circulating throughout the week, despite officials claiming as recently as Friday he was in a “stable condition”.
Taking to social media, the Holy See Press Office, the official press office of the Vatican, wrote “Declaration of the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni. With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible.”
One of the oldest pontiffs to take the role of Pope, the former Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger’s appointment to the role in 2005, however his dogmatic nature towards religious doctrine raised the eyebrows of many modern religious scholars. However, such was the strength of Pope Benedict XVI’s theological academia that he rose to the position ahead of other younger candidates.
Pope Benedict XVI stepped down from his position in 2013, the first pope in 600 years to step away from the role, citing age and health concerns and was subsequently succeeded by current pope, Pope Francis. Benedict XVI’s tenure as pontiff was one of the shortest in history.