The Holy See Press Office announced the pope emeritus’ death at 9:34 a.m. on Saturday morning, December 31st.
The 95-year-old retired pope died at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, his chosen residence after resigning from the papacy in 2013. The statement read:
With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 AM in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible. As of Monday morning, 2 January 2023, the body of the Pope Emeritus will be in Saint Peter’s Basilica so the faithful can bid farewell.
The Holy See Press Office is expected to announce funeral plans later today.
Pope Francis had asked the faithful to pray for the “very ill” Benedict XVI during his general audience on December 28th.
“I would like to ask all of you to pray a special prayer for the Pope Emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, is sustaining the Church,” Francis said, urging prayers for “the Lord to console him and to support him in this testimony of love for the Church until the end.”
In April 2022, it had already been announced that the pope emeritus was becoming increasingly frail.
Born Joseph Ratzinger in 1927, Benedict XVI participated in Vatican II as a priest and theological expert for the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Josef Frings. In 1981, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. He also oversaw the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and published numerous theological works of his own. He was elected pope in April 2005 and in 2013 became the first pope in 600 years to resign.
He is considered one of the greatest theologians of modern times.