The emeritus pope, Benedict XVI, has passed away at the age of 95 this Saturday, December 31 at 9:34 a.m., as reported The Vatican and the Spanish Episcopal Conference
The death occurred in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican, where he had resided since his birth. historic resignation from pontificate in 2013. “It is with regret that I announce that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away at 9:34 a.m. in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery,” reads the official note from the Vatican, which has been written in six languages.
Concern for the state of health of the German pope and theologian arose on Wednesday, December 28, when His successor, Francisco, acknowledged that he was “very ill” and asked for “a special prayer” from the faithful who attended his general audience. Shortly after, the spokesman for the Holy See, Matteo Bruni, confirmed that Benedict XVI’s situation had been “aggravated by his advanced age.”
The emeritus pontiff’s personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, had repeatedly stated in recent years that he was like “a candle that burns out slowly and serenely.”
A day later, the Holy See assured that Benedict XVI had “managed to rest well at night, was absolutely lucid and attentive” and remained “stable” despite gravity. A situation that continued on December 30, when he presented “stable” conditions, although he was able to attend a mass celebrated in his room.
Historic resignation in 2013
Benedict XVI had decided to spend these moments in his stay at the monastery where he has resided since his historic resignation from the papacy, announced on February 11, 2013 and consummated on the 28th of that same month, the first time in six centuries, since the time of Gregory XII.
After learning of his situation, numerous faithful had gathered in different dioceses and temples around the world to pray for him, following the instructions of Francisco. Since April 2, 2013, Ratzinger lived surrounded by his Vatican “family”made up of its secretary, a doctor, a nurse and four consecrated lay women from the “Memores Domini” institute, which belongs to the Communion and Liberation movement, who divide the housework and take care of the needs of the pope emeritus.
Benedict XVI promised to remain silent after his resignation as a sign of respect for his successor, although on some occasions he has reacted to some current issues that affected him in some way. For example, in February 2022, he apologized for the abuses and errors that occurred during his tenure in the different positions he has held, after the disclosure of a report on sexual abuse of minors in Germany in which he was accused of being up to date in his time as Archbishop of Munich (1977-1982). “Once again I can only express to all the victims of sexual abuse my deep shame, my great pain and my sincere request for forgiveness. I have had a great responsibility in the Catholic Church,” he stressed in a statement.
The emeritus pope had rarely left the walls of the monastery where he took up residence after his resignation. Once to visit his inseparable brother, Georg, in the hospital, and in June 2020 when he traveled to Regensburg to see him again a few weeks before he died at the age of 95.