Pope Benedict XVI passed away on Saturday in Vatican City at 95, according to the Vatican press office.
The office claims that Pope Benedict XVI is already ill because of his advanced age. His health was already deteriorating, which ultimately caused him to pass away. Pope Francis made it known earlier this week that Pope Benedict XVI already had health problems.
Pope Francis will preside over the late pope’s burial on Thursday in St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican confirmed.
Joseph Ratzinger, the late pope, was educated as a theologian and was born in Bavaria, Germany, on April 26, 1927. The congregation chose him to succeed Pope John Paul II in 2005 primarily because of his expertise and 25 years of experience serving as the chief defender of orthodoxy inside the Vatican.
Pope Benedict XVI, as a result, became the first German pope since the eleventh century. The most traditional pontiff in history was remembered as Pope Benedict XVI. His decision last 2013 shook the world and changed the face of the papacy in modern times.
“Here is a man who in prayer discerned his own limits and said, ‘I can go so far, I do not have the physical strength to go further, and therefore I resign,’ as he explains in that interview book. He had a sense of peace that he had made the right decision,” said Gerard O’Connell, a Vatican correspondent.
Pope Benedict XVI, meantime, faced criticism from others after leaving his position, who claimed that his retirement had an impact on the direction of the Vatican. Other detractors attacked Benedict’s other initiatives as well.
“They’re sympathetic with Benedict, but they saw that really he was not able to push through some big items on his agenda. They see Benedict as perhaps a frustrated pope, frustrated in his ambitions, frustrated in part by his own top officials, and I think that’s where we’re seeing some more open criticism than we ever saw before,” said one Vatican Diaries author John Thavis.
“Pope Benedict came into office knowing more about abuse than any other Catholic official on the planet, and I think many victims and many Catholics had some real hope that he would clean house, and he clearly didn’t,” added David Clohessy, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests executive director.
“With Pope Benedict XVI, we saw the reverse — we saw the pope obliged to defend his advisers who were attacked, and the outcome was that the pope was overexposed and eventually was forced to resign,” adds Massimo Franco, another author.
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Pope Benedict XVI resigning
The late pope’s pronouncement stunned the whole globe. Since the fifteenth century, no candidate for the pope has voluntarily resigned from office until Benedict.
“I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After repeatedly examining my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he wrote.
“I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
“For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on April 19 2005, in such a way, that as from February 28 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.”
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The late pope’s legacy
In 1951, Ratzinger was ordained. Later, he gave theology lectures. He served as the Second Vatican Council’s theological advisor for eleven years. Ratzinger brought about reforms inside the Catholic Church of the 20th century while serving as the adviser to a high-ranking position in the Vatican.
He was chosen in 1977 to serve as the archbishop of Munich by the pope of the time, Pope Paul VI. After a while, Pope John Paul II appointed him to lead the congregation for the doctrine of faith, the Vatican’s monitoring body for theology.
Ratzinger imposed very conservative teachings while wielding considerable authority and influence inside the Vatican hierarchy. For instance, he categorically rejected the idea of female priests, same-sex unions, and priests who voluntarily wanted to wed.
He also tightened down on homosexuality, labeling it an “objective disease and an essential moral evil” in a public document published in 1986.
Pope Benedict XVI ran an anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-stem-cell, and anti-divorce campaign when he was elected.