‘Humble worker in vineyard of the Lord’: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is dead; aged 95
Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, has died, aged 95, about ten years after he resigned from the position of the Pope because of ailing health.
The former Pope led the Catholic Church for fewer than eight years until, in 2013, he became the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.
A statement by The Holy See Press Office announced that the Pope Emeritus died at 9:34 AM on Saturday morning in his residence at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, which the 95-year-old Pope emeritus had chosen as his residence after resigning from the Petrine ministry in 2013.
“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. Further information will be provided as soon as possible. As of Monday morning, 2 January 2023, the body of the Pope Emeritus will be in Saint Peter’s Basilica so the faithful can pay their respects.”
His successor Pope Francis will lead the funeral on 5 January.
Already for several days, the health conditions of the Pope Emeritus had worsened due to advancing age, as the Press Office had reported in its updates of the evolving situation.
Pope Francis himself publicly shared the news about his predecessor’s worsening health at the end of the last General Audience of the year, on 28 December.
The Pope had invited people to pray for the Pope Emeritus, who was “very ill,” so that the Lord might console him and support him “in this witness of love for the Church until the end.”
Following this invitation, prayer initiatives sprung up and multiplied on all continents, along with an outpouring of messages of solidarity and closeness from secular leaders.
Bells rang out from Munich cathedral and a single bell was heard ringing from St Peter’s Square in Rome after the former pope’s death was announced.