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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI; 95

by Jericho Zafra

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has passed away in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery Vatican, a spokesman for the Holy See said Saturday.

He was 95.

“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 AM in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” the Vatican Press Office said in a written statement.

Prior to his death, the Holy See reported Friday that the former pontiff’s health condition remains stable, adding that the former pope had a good rest and also participated in a Mass celebrated in his room, according to the Vatican News.

Pope Benedict XVI served as the Head of the Church and the Vatican City State from April 19, 2005, until he resigned on February 28, 2013.

He was succeeded by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was elected the 264th successor of Saint Peter on April 18, 2005, and he adopted the name Benedict XVI for himself after being given the position.

Early life

Joseph Ratzinger was christened on the same day he was born in the town of Bavaria, Germany, on April 16, 1927. The minor Ratzinger entered the seminary in 1939, according to the United States Conference for Catholic Bishops.

Under the law, one must join the “Hitler Youth” at the age of 14 before being drafted into the German army at 16. He entered the seminary after leaving the military in 1945 with his brother Georg.

He studied philosophy and theology at the Herzogliches Georgianum, a theological school affiliated with the University of Munich, from 1946 to 1951, as well as the Higher School of Philosophy and Theology in Freising.

In 1951, he was ordained priest at the Diocese of Munich and earned his Doctorate in Theology at the University of Munich two years later.

From 1986 to 1992, he worked as the president at the Preparatory Commission for the Catholic Church’s Catechism, where Pope John Paul II promoted him to the College of Cardinals’ Order of Bishops and gave him the suburbicarian (titulary) see of Velletri-Segni a year after.

In 2002, Cardinal Ratzinger was given the title of Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia by Pope John Paul II, who endorsed his selection as the Dean of the College of Cardinals.

Three years later, he was elected as pope and chose the name, Pope Benedict XVI.

Benedict’s Papacy

Early in his pontificate, Benedict traveled to a number of nations, including Turkey, where he met the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. His goal was to foster better ties between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. According to Britannica, he published the encyclicals Deus Caritas est (2005; “God Is Love”) and Spe Salvi (2007; “Saved by Hope”) and established new guidelines enabling increased use of the Latin mass—the order of the mass used prior to the changes of the Second Vatican Council.

Allegations of sexual and physical abuse by parish priests and at parochial schools in 2010 brought Benedict and his involvement in Germany under media criticism. Benedict chastised Irish bishops for poor leadership in a pastoral letter, according to the report. 

Benedict was accused of being responsible for a policy of covering up cases of sexual abuse while he was serving as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Vatican responded by calling this accusation “false and calumnious,” and stating that Benedict’s handling of the cases demonstrated “wisdom and firmness.”

His strict views on Catholicism and issues like birth control and homosexuality are what made him most well-known during his stint as a pontiff.

In 2013, he was the first pope in the history of the Catholic Church to resign in 600 years, citing old age and health concerns.

The retired pontiff was accused of failing to properly handle at least four allegations of clerical sexual abuse while serving as the archbishop of Munich in an investigation ordered by the archdiocese in 2022. Although Benedict denied any fault in the cases, he begged for pardon for how he handled them. 

Banner Photo Credit: Vatican News



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