Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who quit papacy in 2013, becoming the first pope to do so in 600 years, is dead.
According to The Vatican, the former pope passed away at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican on Saturday morning.
He was 95 years old. He had stayed at the Monastery since his resignation.
“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,” a spokesman for the Holy See said in a statement.
Ex-pope Benedict’s condition stable – Vatican
Pope meets Nigerian pilgrims in Vatican, prays for Nigeria
Earlier this week, Pope Francis disclosed that his predecessor was very sick and asked for prayers on his behalf.
For nearly 25 years, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict was the powerful head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, then known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
Benedict was born Joseph Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in Bavaria. He came of age in Germany after World War I at the same time the Nazi regime was growing in power.
His Roman Catholic family — harassed and punished by the Nazi Party for their opposition to state policies — shaped his desire to commit to the church.
Ratzinger was inspired to join the priesthood at an early age when he was tasked with presenting flowers to Archbishop Michael von Faulhaber of Munich. Seeing the clergyman’s crimson robes and refined demeanor, the five-year-old Ratzinger declared he would become a cardinal.
“It was the way the cardinal looked, his bearing, and the knickerbockers he was wearing that made such an impression on him,” Benedict once recalled in an interview with the New York Times.
At the age of 14, Ratzinger was mandated by law to become a member of the Hitler Youth alongside all other German children of his age group. Ratzinger resented the organization and became horrified after his cousin, who suffered from Down’s syndrome, was abducted and killed by the government.