Pope Benedict XVI dies | Latest news, reaction and live updates
Former Pope Benedict XVI dies: latest updates
Benedict XVI dies: headlines
- Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has died aged 95.
- Pope Francis asks for prayers for his predecessor
- Plans arranged for the funeral of Benedict XVI
Born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, the former pope known as Benedict XVI became the first head of the Catholic Church in 600 years to resign from his ‘all of life’ position. Having two popes alive at the same time was so unusual that a Hollywood movie was even made recounting the story.
We look back on the highs and lows, including the controversies, that littered his papal ministry.
Born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, Benedict XVIwas elected to the papacy in the 2005 papal conclave following the death of Pope John Paul II.
The former pope was born in the city of Marktl, in Bavaria, southern Germany. After being conscripted into the German airforce and army during the Second World War, Joseph established himself as a theologian and was ordained as a priest in 1951.
On Sunday, Pope Francis will deliver his annual New Year’s Day message from the Vatican. The Mass for the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God will commence at 10:00am local time (4:00am EST, 1:00am PT) in the Vatican Basilica.
Pope Francis will mark the beginning of a New Year, one day after the death of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
For those who cannot attend in person the Vatican will be livestreaming the mass and then the traditional Angelus blessing from Saint Peter’s Square which will be at 12:00 pm local time (6:00am EST, 3:00am PT).
Body of Benedict to lie in state from 2 January, 2023
Peter Seewald, Benedict’s biographer, expects the former pope will be buried in the tomb that once held his predeccessor John Paul II, before the body was moved to the Altar of St. Sebastian after his beatificaion.
It has been announced that former pope Benedict XVI’s funeral will take place on 5 January, 2023. The current pope, Francis, will preside over the funeral. This will be unusual as normally it is the dean of the College of Cardinals who organises the funeral as it is the sitting pope who has died.
Pope Benedict's introduction to the world
Cardinal Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005, the oldest person to have been elected pope since the early 1700s.
Thousands flocked to see him when he made his first appearance as the leader of the Catholic Church.
He became the first Pope in nearly 600 years to step down when he did so and gained the distinction of being the oldest living Pope in 2020, when he surpassed Pope Leo XVIII.
However while Leo remained in the role until his death at the age of 93, Benedict resigned as Pope at the age of 87. In short, no Pope has lived longer than Benedict, but Leo remains the oldest person to have held the position of Pope.
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The official announcement of Benedict's passing
In a short statement the Vatican said: “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. Further information will be provided as soon as possible.”
Vatican News is the official news service provided by the Holy See's Dicastery for Communication.
What happens when Pope Emeritus dies?
The anticipated death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI raises some significant ceremonial questions that cannot be currently answered.
The end of a reigning pope’s life is observed by a series of very timely and apprehended rituals: from the certification of the pope's death to the public display of the pope’s body and the funeral celebration itself.
But what are the protocols when a pope emeritus dies?
Due to the unprecedented nature of Benedict’s retirement, there is no clear answer to this question.
Benedict was the first pope to renounce the papacy in almost 600 years, has lived longer in retirement than any pope in history, and is the first to take the title Pope Emeritus.
According to the monsignor Monsignor Stefano Sanchirico, an official of the Vatican Apostolic Archive and expert in pontifical ceremonial, “it is clear that Pope Francis will make the final decision.” He added, however, that based on “the tradition of the Roman ceremonial and considering some analogy with similar offices, we can make an educated guess of how things will be handled.”
Benedict XVI updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to you wherever you are joining us from around the globe. As you have likely heard, the former pope Benedict XVI has died.
We will keep you abreast of the latest comments as news progresses across the day.