The Vatican has announced that retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has passed away at the age of 95 on Saturday.
That’s after the ex-pontiff’s health had recently turned for the worst due to his age, according to doctors.
- “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,” the Holy See Press Office said.
His passing comes shortly after Pope Francis asked followers to pray for Benedict XVI during a public address on Wednesday, stating the ex-pontiff was “very sick.”
“Let us remember him. He is very sick, asking the Lord to console and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end,” Francis said.
Several weeks ago, those who had seen Benedict said his body looked frail but noted that his mind was still sharp, according to France 24.
- Benedict XVI was the first German pope in nearly 1,000 years. He ruled as the head of the Catholic church from 2005 until his surprise resignation in 2013 when he said he no longer had the physical or mental strength to continue with his duties.
During his reign, Benedict advocated to return the Catholic church to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularization of many Western Countries. In his writings, the pontiff claimed that central problem of the 21st century was relativism which denied moral and objective truths.
- However, his legacy has recently been clouded by an investigation launched by prosecutors in Germany, who accused the former pontiff of failing to prevent abuse by clerics during his tenure as Archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982.
- The ex-pontiff has insisted that he was unaware of the transgressions committed by the clergy in Munich but has issued a “heartfelt request for forgiveness” over any errors he made in failing to prevent the heinous acts.