Pope Benedict XVI dies at age 95

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Monday, January 2, 2023

Correction — January 8, 2023
Benedict XVI was born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, and kept his papal name after resigning. Originally, the article suggested Ratzinger was his "proper" name.
Benedict in 2007.
Image: Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, birth name Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, died at the age of 95 at 9:34 CET (10:34 UTC) on Saturday in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, located in The Vatican, where he spent his final years. The current Pope, Francis, had announced Wednesday that Benedict was gravely ill.

Benedict, born in rural Germany in 1927, served in the German Army in World War II before studying philosophy and theology at the University of Munich. In 1977, Benedict was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising, and became Dean of the College of Cardinals in 1998.

Benedict served as pope from 2005 until his 2015 resignation, which stunned Catholics, being the first voluntary resignation since Pope Celestine V in 1294.

World leaders including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, King Charles III of the UK, US President Joe Biden (the second Catholic to serve in the position), French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni paid their respects to the late pope. Pope Francis said, “It is with emotion that we remember his person, so noble, so kind. And we feel in our heart such gratitude, gratitude to God for having gifted him to the church and the world.”

Benedict's body will lie in state from Monday, with his funeral to be held on Thursday at 9:30 CET (10:30 UTC). According to the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni, his funeral will be simple per Benedict's wishes.

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