The Vatican has announced the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the former pope who held the office between 2005 and 2013.
Born Joseph Ratzinger, the German died in the early hours of Saturday, December 31st 2022. He was 95.
“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.” the Holy See Press Office revealed in a statement.
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.”
— Holy See Press Office (@HolySeePress) December 31, 2022
Pope Benedict XVI had been ill recently, with Pope Francis recently calling for prayers for his predecessor.
For nearly 25 years, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict was the powerful head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, then known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
Conservatives in the Church have looked to the former pope as their standard bearer and some ultra-traditionalists even refused to acknowledge Francis as a legitimate pontiff.
Like his predecessor John Paul, Benedict made reaching out to Jews a hallmark of his papacy. His first official act as pope was a letter to Rome’s Jewish community and he became the second pope in history, after John Paul, to enter a synagogue.
In his 2011 book, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Benedict made a sweeping exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Christ, explaining biblically and theologically why there was no basis in Scripture for the argument that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for Jesus’ death.
He came to office to replace Pope John Paul II and faced controversies throughout his papacy, particularly for his handling of the church’s child s*x abuse scandal during his tenure as head of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation, once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition.
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