Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013. He was the first Pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so on his own initiative since Pope Celestine V in 1294. He passed away at 09:34 (08:34 GMT) on Saturday, at Vatican, where his body will be placed in St Peter’s Basilica from 2 January for “the greeting of the faithful”.
Pope Benedict XVI was born in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany, on April 16, 1927. He was ordained a priest in 1951 and later served as a professor of theology at various universities in Germany. In 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and was later made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI.
Pope Benedict XVI was known for his conservative stance on social and moral issues and his strong support for traditional Catholic teaching. He was also a strong defender of the Church’s role in society and the importance of faith in modern life. During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI faced a number of challenges, including the sexual abuse scandal within the Church and a decline in the number of priests and nuns in many parts of the world. He retired in 2013 and was succeeded by Pope Francis.
Lately the former pontiff’s illness aggravated, mainly because of advancing age. At the final audience of the year, on Wednesday, Pope Francis asked to “pray a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict” who he claimed was in critical condition.