Leaders and religious leaders are paying tribute to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died Saturday in a Vatican chapel at the age of ninety-five.
Benedict, who became the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to leave office rather than hold the office for life, died on Saturday, the Vatican said.
“It is with sadness that I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, died today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” said the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni.
The funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be held on Thursday in St. The funeral will be led by Pope Francis.
The body of the former pope lies in state in the Basilica of St. According to the wishes of the Pope Emeritus, his funeral was “simple”, said Bruni.
News of his death came days after Pope Francis asked the faithful to pray for Benedict, saying he was “very sick.”
“I want to ask all of you a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict who supports the Church in her silence. He is very sick. We ask the Lord to comfort and sustain him in this experience of loving the Church until the end,” said Francis before his general meeting on Wednesday.
His health has been declining for some time.
Benedict stunned Catholic theologians and theologians around the world on February 11, 2013, when he announced plans to step down as Pope, citing his “sensitivity.”
In his farewell address, the pope vowed to remain “hidden” from the world, but he continued to speak on religious issues over the years. after his retirement, causing problems in the Catholic Church.
Benedict has been a powerful force in the Catholic Church for decades. Joseph Ratzinger was born in Germany in 1927, the son of a policeman. He was ordained a priest in 1951, he was made a cardinal in 1977, and later, he became a great theological adviser to Pope John Paul II.
One of his most important steps happened in 1981 when he became the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Vatican office in charge of “the teaching of faith and morality in the Catholic world,” according to the Vatican.
Ratzinger’s nickname “Cardinal No” comes from his efforts to oppose the liberal movement, pluralism, challenges to traditional teaching on issues such as homosexuality, and calls to ordaining women as priests.
He was elected pope in April 2005, after the death of John Paul II.
He was seen as a stronger successor to Pope Francis, who has worked to soften the Vatican’s stance on abortion and homosexuality, and to do more to address the problem of homosexuality that has plagued the church in recent years, it became dark. Benedict’s legacy.
In April 2019, Benedict addressed the problem of homosexuality in a public letter, saying it was caused by the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the reformation of the church’s moral teachings.
In January 2020, Benedict was forced to distance himself from a book that was said to be disparaging of Francis when he suggested that married men should be allowed to become priests in some cases. The book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” disputed the tradition of celibacy of priests in the Catholic Church. Benedict was originally listed as a co-author, but it was later clarified that he contributed only one part of the manuscript.
A year later, Benedict was criticized during his time as archbishop of Munich and Freising, between 1977 and 1982, after the publication of a statement by the Church about the persecution of the Catholic priests there.
The report found that while in office he was notified of four cases of child molestation – including two that occurred while he was in office – but did not work. It was also reported that Benedict had attended a meeting with an alleged abuser known as Priest X. After the report was published, Benedict rejected allegations that he knew in 1980 that he was an abuser. this expert.
In a letter released by the Vatican in a panic, Benedict wrote that he was “very happy” before “the final judgment of my life,” despite his mistakes. . He also issued a public apology to the survivors of the abuse.
World leaders paid tribute to the former pope after his death. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England, said he was “grieving” for the former pope.
“Pope Benedict was one of the greatest priests of his age – committed to the faith of the Church and determined to defend it,” Welby said in a statement on Saturday.
“In everything, in his writings and his sermons, he looked at Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God. It was clear that Christ was the basis of his thinking and the foundation of his prayer.
“In 2013 Pope Benedict took the courageous and humble step of resigning from the papacy, the first Pope to do so since the fifteenth century. When he chose it, he agreed to human weakness that affects all of us,” he added.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said he will remember the former pope with “love and gratitude.”
“Sad to learn of the death of His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” European Parliament President Roberta Metsola tweeted on Saturday.
“Europe mourns him. May he rest in peace.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also expressed his gratitude. “I am saddened to learn of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” Sunak tweeted on Saturday.
“He is a great theologian and his visit to England in 2010 was a popular event for Catholics and Catholics across our country.
“My thoughts are with Catholics in the UK and around the world today,” added Sunak.
Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed her gratitude to the former pope. “Benedict XVI was a great man of faith and thought. He gave his life to work for the universal Church, he spoke, and will continue to speak, to the hearts and minds of people with spiritual depth , culture and mind of his Magisterium,” he tweeted on Saturday.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella described Pope Benedict XVI as a “person who will never be forgotten by the Italian nation,” saying that Italy “mourns” his death.
The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday that the former pope “set a strong signal by his resignation.”
“I am saddened by the death of Pope Benedict. I express my sympathy to all Catholics,” said von der Leyen in a tweet, adding, “He made a strong gesture by resigning. He first saw himself as a servant of God and his Church.
Russian President Vladimir Putin leads Moscow invasion of Ukrainethe old pope was called “a strong defender of Christian traditions”.