Pope Benedict, first to resign in 600 years dies aged 95
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign in 600 years has died.
According to a statement by the Vatican, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesia Monastery in the Vatican.
Born as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger in Germany in 1927, he led the Catholic Church for eight years, before stepping down in 2013. His papacy came following through the fallout of the clerical sex abuse scandal.
The Vatican stated that further information and funeral details would be announced soon. The Church leader will be placed in St Peter’s Basilica from 2 January for “the greeting of the faithful”.
He remains remembered as the first pope to step away from papacy since 1413, having said at the time that he did not have the strength to carry on as leader of the world’s 1.2 b Catholics. “I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me,” he stated.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, has paid tribute to the former pope. He was quoted saying “I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Pope Benedict. He will be remembered as one of the great theologians of the 20th century…Pope Benedict is very much in my heart and in my prayers. I give thanks to God for his ministry and leadership.”