Former Pope Benedict XVI Dies at 95

The Holy See Press Office has announced Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away on Saturday – three days after Pope Francis informed the world he was gravely ill – in his residence at the Vatican's Mater Ecclesiae Monastery at the age of 95.

Former Pope Benedict XVI Dies at 95
Image credit: Getty Images [via Forbes]

Facts

  • The Holy See Press Office has announced Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away on Saturday – three days after Pope Francis informed the world he was gravely ill – in his residence at the Vatican's Mater Ecclesiae Monastery at the age of 95.
  • The Vatican announced that the former pope's body would lie in state in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City from Monday to allow the faithful to pay respects, adding Pope Francis would preside at Benedict's funeral in St. Peter's Square on Thursday.
  • Born Joseph Ratzinger in Germany, Benedict was elected pope in 2005. He led the Catholic Church until 2013 when he stepped down because of ailing health and became the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.
  • Benedict served in the church for decades and was known to be more conservative than his successor. He was ordained as a priest in 1951 before becoming a cardinal in 1977.
  • After being made cardinal, Benedict served as a right-hand man to his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. He headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for 24 years, a position that earned him the nickname "God's rottweiler."
  • He shaped the Catholic Church's theology for more than a quarter century, but during Benedict's papacy, allegations of decades of child abuse in the church reached their peak, which saw him be the first pope to hold an official summit to address the scandals.

Sources: Vatican News, CNN, BBC News, Guardian, and CBC.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by The Economist. Pope Benedict was a revered teacher, a theologian, and a resolute conservative. His shock resignation in 2013 was an extraordinary act of humility, which humanized the papacy. Not only will he be remembered as the first pope to step down, but also the first pope who tackled sexual abuse scandals in the church. After his resignation, Benedict remained a powerful conservative influence and continued to give his soul to a legacy that would forever stand.
  • Narrative B, as provided by BBC News. Pope Benedict's death could reshape the Catholic Church. The Vatican has had a pope and an ex-pope since Benedict retired in 2013. With Benedict's passing, a sitting pope will preside over his predecessor's funeral, and the Church will not elect a pontiff — a first. Eventually, the Church may have to normalize the resignation of a pope and set new protocols in the event of an ex-Pope's demise.