Former Pope Benedict XVI dies at 95

Former Pope Benedict XVI has died aged 95.

The former Catholic church leader, who was named Joseph Ratzinger at birth, succeeded Pope John Paul II in 2005. However, due to ailing health, he abdicated the papacy in 2013, having led the Catholic Church for fewer than eight years.

He became the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.

A spokesman for the Holy See confirmed Benedict died on Saturday morning, December 31, 2022.

They said: “With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9.34am in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible.”

Benedict spent his final years at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery within the walls of the Vatican where he passed away at 09:34 (08:34 GMT) on Saturday.

His successor Pope Francis will lead the funeral on 5 January.

The Vatican said the body of the Pope Emeritus will be placed in St Peter’s Basilica from 2 January for “the greeting of the faithful”.

Bells rang out from Munich cathedral and a single bell was heard ringing from St Peter’s Square in Rome after the former pope’s death was announced.

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