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31st Dec 2022

Former Pope Benedict XVI dies at the age of 95

Charlie Herbert

Pope benedict dies

Pope Benedict was one of the oldest popes ever elected

Former Pope Benedict XVI has died aged 95, almost a decade after he stood down because of ailing health.

Benedict passed away at his Vatican residence, the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where he had spent his final years.

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

His successor Pope Francis said he had visited him there frequently.

The Vatican said in a statement: “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.”

On Wednesday, Pope Francis publicly shared the news about his predecessor’s worsening health at the end of his final audience of the year at the Vatican, on 28 December.

He appealed for people to “pray a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict”.

Born Joseph Ratzinger in Germany, Benedict was 78 when in 2005 he became one of the oldest popes ever elected.

But his papacy was marred by the allegations, legal claims and official reports the Catholic Church faced into decades of child abuse by priests.

Earlier this year the former Pope acknowledged that errors had been made in the handling of abuse cases while he was archbishop of Munich between 1977 and 1982.

Information about Benedict’s funeral will be communicated in the next few hours, the Holy See Press Office said in a statement.

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