Tragedy in Vatican: Former Pope Benedict XVI dies at 95
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Before the death of the former pontiff, Pope Francis announced during his weekly audience on December 28 that Benedict XVI was very ill.
Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), who led the Catholic Church since 2005 until his retirement in 2013, died on December 31 at the age of 95. This is reported by the press service of the Vatican.
“I regret to inform you that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away today at 9:34 am at the monastery of Mater Ecclesiae in the Vatican. More information will be provided soon,” Holy See spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
His death came after Pope Francis announced during his weekly audience on December 28 that Benedict XVI was very ill.
Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger was born in Germany in 1927. He was the son of a policeman, grew up in Bavaria, and at the age of 14 joined the NSDAP youth organization Hitler Youth, which was a requirement at the time. During World War II, he served in the German army, but towards the end of the war he deserted and was held captive by American troops for some time.
The future pope began his journey in the Catholic Church in 1951, when he was ordained priest Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber. At the age of 31, Ratzinger taught and did research as a professor of theology, and in 1977 he was ordained a bishop.
He later became a major figure in the Vatican and, already a cardinal, served as the right-hand man of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. From 1981, for 24 years, he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican department that was once known as the Holy Inquisition. This position earned him the nickname “God's Rottweiler”, since in Germany the minister of the Holy See was repeatedly criticized for a very conservative attitude towards ecclesiastical and political issues. In addition, the cardinal took an uncompromising position on issues of homosexuality and contraception.
Scandals in the Vatican
When the conclave elected Ratzinger as the first German pope in almost 500 years on April 19, 2005, German Catholics cheered. However, Benedict XVI's pontificate was marred by a power struggle within the church and a scandal of sexual abuse and cover-ups by clergymen. Although Benedict was the first pope to apologize for child sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy and meet with the victims, his critics said he failed to grasp the gravity of the crimes and the scale of the crisis, which peaked a few years after his election.
In February 2013, at the age of 85, Pope Benedict XVI resigned, thus becoming the first 600 years of the head of the Catholic Church, who voluntarily left the post of head of the Vatican. Dad explained his departure by saying that his strength was leaving him due to advanced age. According to him, he asked God to help him make the right decision.
“And although I return to the life of a simple prayer book, I will always be invisibly next to you,” he told his flock.