Pope Benedict XVI Passes Away at Age 95

Pope Benedict XVI, the former leader of the Catholic Church, passed away on Saturday at the age of 95 in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery within the Vatican. Pope Benedict, who led the Church for just under eight years before resigning in 2013 due to poor health, was the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415. His successor, Pope Francis, will lead his funeral on January 5th. In the meantime, the body of Pope Benedict, now known as Pope Emeritus, will be placed in St. Peter’s Basilica from January 2nd for “the greeting of the faithful.”

The news of Pope Benedict’s death was met with sadness and condolences from around the world. Pope Francis referred to him as a “gift to the Church,” calling him a “noble and kind man.” The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, praised Pope Benedict as “one of the great theologians of the 20th century,” and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak referred to him as a “great theologian.” King Charles III expressed his “deep sadness” at the news and fondly remembered meeting Pope Benedict during a visit to the Vatican in 2009. US President Joe Biden, who is only the second Catholic to hold the office, also paid tribute to Pope Benedict, calling him “a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church.”