The Vatican has announced that former pope Benedict XVI will lie in state at St. Peter’s Basilica after passing away at the age of 95.
Former pope Benedict XVI passed away at the age of 95. He was the first pope to resign in six centuries.
Key ideas: Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, was the first pope to step down in 600 years.
His body will lie in state in St. Peter’s Basilica, according to the Vatican. Earlier this week, Pope Francis declared that Benedict was “extremely unwell.” He died on Saturday at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican, a spokesman for the Holy See confirmed.
He had headed the Roman Catholic church from April 2005 to February 2013. In his weekly general audience earlier this week, Pope Francis revealed that his predecessor was “extremely unwell” and requested prayers.
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, who would later become Benedict, was born on April 16, 1927, in the southern German hamlet of Marktl, not far from Austria.
He was the first pope to step down in 600 years.
As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict served as the Vatican’s influential head of doctrine for nearly 25 years. At the time, it was known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
The former pope served as the church’s conservative standard-bearer, and some extreme traditionalists even refused to recognize Francis as a genuine Pope.
Benedict was a very orthodox pontiff whose reign was clouded by sexual abuse allegations in the church. He was born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger in Germany in 1927.
He left office with a tumultuous reputation after a sometimes polarising papal tenure.
He was raised in rural Bavaria as the son of a police officer, and at the age of 14, he fulfilled the prerequisite to join the Hitler Youth before serving in the German army during World War II.
He deserted toward the conclusion of the conflict and was temporarily detained by US forces as a prisoner of war.
As Cardinal Ratzinger, he later rose to prominence within the Vatican and was Pope John Paul II’s, right-hand man.
He served as the Congregation for Doctrine’s leader.