Reuters, December 31, VATICAN CITY – Former Pope Benedict, who resigned in 2013 to become the first pope to do so in 600 years, passed away on Saturday at the age of 95 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican, according to a spokesman for the Holy See.
“I regret to inform you that Benedict XVI, the Pope Emeritus, passed away today at 9:34 in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery. We’ll give you more details as soon as we can “In a written statement, the spokesperson stated.
His body will lie in state in St. Peter’s Basilica beginning on Monday, according to the Vatican. The Vatican has painstakingly complex rituals for what happens when the pope in charge passes away, but none are known to the general public for a former pope.
In his weekly general audience earlier this week, Pope Francis revealed that his predecessor was “very sick” and requested prayers.
Benedict served as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the influential head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, formerly known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for nearly 25 years (CDF).
The former pope served as the church’s conservative standard-bearer, and some extreme traditionalists even refused to recognize Francis as a legitimate pontiff.
They have criticized Francis for his openness toward the LGBTQ+ community and Catholics who have divorced and remarried outside the Church, claiming that both of these actions undermine traditional values.