Pope Benedict XVI Has Passed. Full Details Of Funeral..

Almost a decade after stepping down due to ill health, former Pope Benedict XVI passed away at the age of 95.

In 2013, he became the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415. He led the Catholic Church for less than eight years.

Benedict died at 09:34 (08:34 GMT) on December 31, 2022, after spending his final years at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery within the walls of the Vatican.

The funeral will be officiated by Pope Francis, his successor, on January 5.

The Pope Emeritus’s body will be moved to St. Peter’s Basilica on January 2 for “the greeting of the faithful,” according to the Vatican.

Following the announcement of the former pope’s death, a single bell could be heard ringing from St. Peter’s Square in Rome and a cathedral in Munich.

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Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who is in charge of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, described Pope Benedict as “one of the great theologians of the 20th century.”

He said in a statement:

“I remember with particular affection the remarkable Papal Visit to these lands in 2010. We saw his courtesy, his gentleness, the perceptiveness of his mind and the openness of his welcome to everybody that he met.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the former pope “a great theologian whose UK visit in 2010 was an historic moment for both Catholics and non-Catholics throughout our country”.

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French President Emmanuel Macron said Pope Benedict “worked with soul and intelligence for a more fraternal world” and said his thoughts went out to Catholics in France and around the world.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Pope Benedict “was a giant of faith and reason”.

“He put his life at the service of the universal Church and spoke, and will continue to speak, to the hearts and minds of men with the spiritual, cultural and intellectual depth of his Magisterium.”

The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said for many, not only in Germany, Pope Benedict was “a formative figure of the Catholic Church, a controversial personality and a clever theologian”.

Irish President Michael D Higgins said the former pope will be remembered for “his untiring efforts to find a common path in promoting peace and goodwill throughout the world”.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said Pope Benedict was “one of the greatest theologians of his age – committed to the faith of the Church and stalwart in its defence”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Pope Benedict as a “defender of traditional Christian values,” in his New Year address to the nation.

Annamaria, 65, and Patrizia, 64, visiting from the northern Italian city of Bologna, said they went there immediately as soon as they heard about the death.

“We came here to pray. He was a great pontiff, certainly very different from Francis, he was a great intellectual and scholar. Like the rest of the Church we will always remember him,” Annamaria told the BBC.

Barbara Bernadas, a tourist from the Spanish city of Barcelona, said she and her boyfriend felt a sense of bewilderment when they heard the news.

“We learned of his death just as we were in St Peter’s Square. A tourist guide was just telling us where Benedict lived, it feels surreal. What will happen now? This situation is unprecedented; there are no protocols to follow for what will happen now. Certainly it is an unprecedented historical moment,” she said.

Even though the former pontiff had been ill for some time, authorities at the Vatican said that his condition had gotten worse as he got older.

Pope Francis asked his final audience of the year to “pray a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict,” which he said was very ill, on Wednesday at the Vatican.

Benedict, who was born Joseph Ratzinger in Germany, became one of the oldest popes ever elected in 2005 at the age of 78.

The Catholic Church was confronted with allegations, legal claims, and official reports regarding decades of priestly child abuse throughout his papacy.

The former pope acknowledged earlier this year that, while he was archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982, he had made mistakes in handling cases of abuse.

Credit: BBC

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