Leaders from around the world are mourning the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died at the age of 95 on Saturday, Dec. 31., the Vatican reported. Benedict made history in 2013 as the first pope in modern history to step down from his position and live behind Vatican walls as a retired pope. At the time of the decision, Benedict said that because of his advanced age he no longer had the “strengths” required for job, according to The Washington Post.
Benedict, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger in Germany, was ordained a priest in 1951 and became a cardinal in 1977. After Pope John Paul II died in 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger was chosen as his successor. As Benedict XVI, the new pop inherited a job facing numerous child sexual abuse scandals. Ultimately, Pope Benedict bowed out citing his declining health. He will likely be most remembered for the resignation, the first since 1415.
Benedict’s funeral will be held on Thursday, January 4 in St. Peter’s Square, with Pope Francis, who was named his predecessor in 2013, presiding. As is traditional, on Monday, Benedict’s body will be laid in St. Peter’s Basilica for observers to pay their respect.
The King has sent a message of condolence to Pope Francis following the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) December 31, 2022
As news spread of the Benedict’s passing, world leaders began to send messages praising Benedict’s service to the church. President Joe Biden shared a statement from his and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden. “Jill and I join Catholics around the world, and so many others, in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI .I had the privilege of spending time with Pope Benedict at the Vatican in 2011 and will always remember his generosity and welcome as well as our meaningful conversation. He will be remembered as a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and faith. As he remarked during his 2008 visit to the White House, ‘the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity.’ May his focus on the ministry of charity continue to be an inspiration to us all.”
King Charles III sent a personal message to Pope Francis via Twitter, which expressed his “deep sadness.” “I remember with fondness my meeting with His Holiness during my visit to the Vatican in 2009. His visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 was important in strengthening the relations between the Holy See and the United Kingdom,” said the new British monarch.
“I also recall his constant efforts to promote peace and goodwill to all people, and to strengthen the relationship between the global Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church,” he added. “My wife and I send you our continued good wishes for your own pontificate. Charles R.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, tweeted that the world lost a “formidable figure” of the church, a “controversial personality” and a “clever theologian,” while French President Emmanuel Macron posted that Benedict “worked with all his soul and intelligence for a more fraternal world,”
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that “Benedict XVI 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.”
“Of particular importance was that during his tenure, Pope Benedict sought to highlight both the common purpose of the world’s major religions and his injunctions as to how our individual responsibilities as citizens require the highest standards of ethics in our actions,” Irish President Michael Higgins said in a statement.
This is a developing story…
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