Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, was a retired prelate of the Catholic Church who served as the Pope from 2005 to 2013. He was the first Pope to resign from the papacy in nearly 600 years, citing age and declining health as the primary reasons for his decision.
“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.” Posted on the Vatican Twitter Feed
Benedict XVI was born on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Germany, and was ordained a priest in 1951. He received his Doctorate in Theology from the University of Munich in 1953, and went on to teach theology at various universities in Germany. He also served as a consultant to the Second Vatican Council and played a key role in the development of the revised Code of Canon Law.
In 1977, Pope Paul VI appointed Ratzinger as the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, and he was subsequently made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1981. As a cardinal, Ratzinger served as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position that gave him oversight over the Church’s teachings on faith and morals.
Upon the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, Ratzinger was elected Pope and took the name Benedict XVI. As Pope, he sought to defend and promote traditional Catholic teachings, particularly on issues such as contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage. He also worked to improve relations with the Jewish community and encouraged dialogue with other faiths.
During his papacy, Benedict XVI faced several challenges, including the sexual abuse scandal within the Church and the leaks of sensitive Vatican documents known as the “Vatileaks” affair. In 2012, he announced his intention to resign, citing his advanced age and declining health as the primary reasons for his decision. He officially stepped down on February 28, 2013, and was succeeded by Pope Francis.
After his retirement, Benedict XVI withdrew from public life and returned to a life of prayer and contemplation. He resided at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where he continued to write and study.
Despite his retirement, Benedict XVI remained an influential figure within the Church and was widely respected for his contributions to theology and his efforts to defend traditional Catholic teachings. His papacy will be remembered for his efforts to promote unity within the Church and his efforts to reach out to other faiths.
Image source Vatican Twitter Feed