Dec 31, 2022 - World

Pope Benedict XVI dies at 95

ope Benedict XVI delivers the traditional "Urbi et Orbi" (To the City and the World) Easter message.

Pope Benedict XVI delivers an Easter message in 2007. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who holds the record for the oldest pope in world history, passed away Saturday morning. He was 95.

Driving the news: The Vatican said in a statement that Benedict died in his residence at Mater Ecclesiae Monastery after his condition worsened earlier this month.

  • Benedict had become "very sick" and his condition had worsened "due to advanced age," Pope Francis said on Dec. 28. The pope asked for prayers for his predecessor.
  • His body will be lying in state at Saint Peter's Basilica "so the faithful can pay their respects," according to The Vatican. Pope Francis will preside over a funeral for Benedict in St. Peter's Square on Jan. 5.
  • "Benedict specifically asked that everything — including the funeral — be marked by simplicity, just as he lived his life," according to the Vatican.

The big picture: Benedict shocked the world in 2013 when he announced he was stepping down from his position. He was the first pope to do so in about 600 years, BBC News reports.

Last January, a report accused Benedict of mishandling sexual abuse cases within the Catholic Church while he was serving as archbishop of Germany’s Munich diocese.

  • The report said Pope Benedict — who was then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany — could have been accused of misconduct in at least four cases, per Axios.
  • Benedict denied any wrongdoing when the report dropped, but he later said he gave false testimony in one case.

Benedict was born in Marktl Inn, Bavaria, in 1927, CNBC reports. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1951 and became pope in 2005 when he was 78 years old.

  • He served in the military for Germany's anti-aircraft corps when he was 16, according to CNBC. The United States detained him in 1945.
  • After resigning in 2013, Benedict moved to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery on Vatican ground where he lived until his death.
  • Still holding the title "pope emeritus," Benedict became the oldest pope in 2020 at 93 years old and about five months, unseating the previous record holder, Leo XIII, France 24 reports.

More from Axios:

Former pope Benedict's health is "worsening," Vatican says

Pope's Christmas message: World suffering from "famine of peace"

Pope Francis calls for renewed commitments to help poor and homeless

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