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Throngs of Pilgrims Gather at Vatican to Mourn Former Pope Benedict XVI

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After recent reports of failing health, dies at 95

Matteo Bruni, a Vatican spokesman gave a statement on Saturday morning saying: “With pain I inform that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesia Monastery in the Vatican.”

A further announcement from The Vatican came indicating that Pope Francis will celebrate the funeral Mass for Benedict Thursday in St. Peter’s Square and Benedict’s remains will be on public display in St. Peter’s Basilica starting Monday.

The first pope to resign in six centuries

Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Germany, was the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Pope from 2005 to 2013, when he resigned from the papacy, becoming the first Pope to do so since Pope Gregory XII in 1415.

Ratzinger was born into a large family in Bavaria, Germany, and was ordained a priest in 1951. He served as a professor of theology at various universities in Germany and eventually became the Archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1977. In 1981, he was appointed as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position he held until his election as Pope in 2005.

As Pope, Benedict XVI focused on strengthening the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church, and he worked to promote interfaith dialogue and cooperation. He also made efforts to reach out to Catholics who had become disconnected from the Church, particularly young people.

Benedict XVI faced a number of challenges during his papacy, including the sexual abuse scandal within the Church, which he addressed by apologizing to victims and implementing measures to prevent future abuse. He also faced criticism for his handling of the issue of contraception and his views on homosexuality.

Despite these challenges, Benedict XVI was widely respected within the Church and beyond for his deep understanding of theology and his commitment to upholding traditional Catholic teachings. He was known for his scholarly approach to the papacy and his strong emphasis on the importance of faith and spirituality.

During his papacy, Benedict XVI traveled extensively, visiting more than 50 countries on six continents. He met with leaders from various faith traditions and sought to promote interfaith dialogue and cooperation.

Health was an issue triggering resignation

In 2013, Benedict XVI announced his decision to resign from the papacy, citing his advanced age and declining health as the reasons for his decision. His resignation took effect on February 28, 2013, and he was succeeded by Pope Francis.

After his resignation, Benedict XVI retired to a monastery within the Vatican, where he lived a quiet life of prayer and contemplation. He continued to write and publish works on theology and Church teachings, and he maintained a strong presence within the Church through his occasional public appearances and statements.

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