The Former Pope Benedict XVI Has Sadly Passed Away

credit: Adrian McGarry / Alamy
Pope Benedict XVI sadly passed away this week at the age of 95 following illness related to old age, multiple sources have reported.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni released an official statement announcing Benedict's death, writing, per The Sun: "With pain I inform that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesia Monastery in the Vatican

"Further information will be provided as soon as possible."

The former pontiff had resigned from his position in 2013 citing old age, leaving Argentinian cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio to take over as Pope Francis. On December 28, he had asked his general audience at The Vatican to pray for Benedict saying via CNN: "I want to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict who sustains the Church in his silence. He is very sick. We ask the Lord to console and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church to the very end."

"Regarding the health conditions of the emeritus pope, for whom Pope Francis asked for prayers at the end of his general audience this morning, I can confirm that in the last hours, a worsening due to advanced age has happened,” a spokesperson for The Vatican said in a statement via Al Jazeera.

"The situation at the moment remains under control, constantly monitored by doctors," the spokesman added.
Pope Benedict XVI passed away recently after his health deteriorated. Credit: Godong / Alamy
Benedict's decision to step down from his position was almost unprecedented - it hadn't happened in the Catholic Church for over 600 years. The last time a Pope stepped down was in 1415 when Pope Gregory XII quit to end a civil war within the Catholic Church when numerous people claimed to be the Pope.

In a 2018 letter to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Benedict had written that he was "on a pilgrimage toward Home," after the paper asked him how he was following readers' curiosity. "I was moved by the many readers of your newspaper who desire to know how I am spending this last period of my life," he wrote.

"I can only say that in the slow waning of my physical forces, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage towards Home. It is a great grace for me to be surrounded, on this last part of the road, sometimes a bit tiring, by such love and goodness that I never could have imagined. In this sense, I consider the question of your readers as an accompaniment. I can only thank them and assure you all of my prayers," the short letter concluded.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Pope Benedict XVI, as well as the Catholic Church and its followers.

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