A little over ten years after stepping down due to declining health, the former Pope Benedict XVI passed away at the age of 95.
After less than eight years in office, Francis resigned as Pope in 2013, becoming the first pope to do so since Gregory XII in 1415.
Benedict passed away on Saturday at 09:34 (08:34 GMT) after spending his final years in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery inside the Vatican.
The burial will be officiated by his successor, Pope Francis, on January 5.
The body of the Pope Emeritus will be deposited in St. Peter’s Basilica beginning on January 2 for “the welcoming of the faithful,” according to the Vatican.
Munich’s church bells sounded out, and St. Peter’s Square in Rome’s heard a solitary bell ring.
Pope Benedict was referred to as “one of the great theologians of the 20th century” by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
He stated in a statement:”I remember with particular affection the remarkable Papal Visit to these lands in 2010. We saw his courtesy, his gentleness, the perceptiveness of his mind and the openness of his welcome to everybody that he met.”
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the former pope “a great theologian whose UK visit in 2010 was an historic moment for both Catholics and non-Catholics throughout our country”.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Pope Benedict “worked with soul and intelligence for a more fraternal world” and said his thoughts went out to Catholics in France and around the world.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Pope Benedict “was a giant of faith and reason”.
“He put his life at the service of the universal Church and spoke, and will continue to speak, to the hearts and minds of men with the spiritual, cultural and intellectual depth of his Magisterium.”
The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said for many, not only in Germany, Pope Benedict was “a formative figure of the Catholic Church, a controversial personality and a clever theologian”.
Irish President Michael D Higgins said the former pope will be remembered for “his untiring efforts to find a common path in promoting peace and goodwill throughout the world”.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said Pope Benedict was “one of the greatest theologians of his age – committed to the faith of the Church and stalwart in its defence”.
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