The former head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, has died at the age of 95.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement this morning: “It is with sadness that I inform you that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. died today at 9:34 a.m. in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican.
‘More information will be provided as soon as possible.’
Reports of the ex-Pope’s deteriorating health sent shockwaves around the world this week.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray for his predecessor, who resigned from office nine years ago.
Cardinals around the world, including Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols, had also urged people to join them in prayer during these difficult hours.
Benedict was the first pope in 600 years to resign in 2013, citing his “advanced age”.
But in 2020, the Vatican confirmed that he had been suffering from a “painful but not serious illness.”
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni issued a statement Thursday morning confirming that Benedict’s condition had deteriorated “in recent hours” due to his “advancing age.”
But he had said it was “under control” and being monitored by doctors.
Benedict died at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City, where he had lived for the past ten years.
When his funeral will take place and what the ceremony will look like is still unclear.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to travel to Rome and then the Vatican to pay their respects, particularly from his native Germany.
Given the unprecedented reality that a sitting pope is likely to preside over a former pope’s funeral, questions have already been raised about what would happen if Benedict died.
Most Vatican experts expect any funeral would be similar to that of a retired Bishop of Rome, with the caveat that there would be official delegations to honor a former head of state.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/12/31/former-pope-benedict-dies-at-the-age-of-95-in-vatican-city-18011265/ Former Pope Benedict dies in Vatican City at the age of 95