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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI dead at 95 – Vatican

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI dead at 95 – Vatican
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The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died at the age of 95 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican, a spokesman for the Holy See confirmed.

The Vatican has announced that his body will be laid to rest in St. Peter’s Basilica beginning Monday.

“With sorrow, I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican.

Outside the Catholic Church, he is best known for his unexpected resignation, the first papal abdication since 1415, and subsequent life as the world’s first “pope emeritus” in centuries.

Who was Pope Benedict XVI?


Benedict Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927, in Bavaria. He grew up in Germany after World War I, at a time when the Nazi regime was gaining power.

His Roman Catholic family was persecuted and punished by the Nazi Party for opposing state policies, which influenced his decision to join the church.

Ratzinger was inspired to become a priest at a young age after being tasked with delivering flowers to Archbishop Michael von Faulhaber of Munich. The five-year-old Ratzinger declared his intention to become a cardinal after seeing the clergyman’s crimson robes and refined demeanor.

“It was the cardinal’s bearing and the knickerbockers he was wearing that made such an impression on him,” Benedict recalled in a New York Times interview.

Ratzinger’s childhood was shaped by both World War II and his faith. Hitler rose to power in Traunstein, a heavily Catholic region of Bavaria, during Ratzinger’s adolescence. Ratzinger wrote in his memoir that when he was 14, school officials followed Nazi orders and enrolled him and the rest of his class in the Hitler Youth movement against his will.

Ratzinger despised the organization and was horrified when his cousin, who had Down syndrome, was kidnapped and murdered by the government as part of their Aktion T4 campaign.

Despite enrolling in seminary, Ratzinger was drafted into the anti-aircraft corps in 1943 and then into the regular military during WWII. In April 1945, he deserted the German military.

According to a 1993 interview with Time Magazine, Benedict stated that he chose to leave the military after witnessing the horrors of the war, including Jews being sent to death camps in Hungary.

One of his most significant advancements came in 1981, when he was named head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which oversees “the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world,” according to the Vatican.

Ratzinger was dubbed “Cardinal No” for his efforts to suppress the liberation theology movement, religious pluralism, challenges to traditional teachings on issues such as homosexuality, and calls to ordain women as priests.

He was at the centre of several controversies over the years, including calling homosexuality “an intrinsic moral evil” and the Soviet Union and its communist satellite nations “a shame of our time.”

His friendship with Pope John Paul II dated back decades, a bond that lasted until John Paul’s death in 2005, by which time Ratzinger was dean of the College of Cardinals, the high-level group that advises the pope and, when summoned, chooses a new pontiff.


Source: CNN

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