Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has just passed away. He was 95 years old.
The world closely monitored the situation of the Pope emeritus after Pope Francis asked for prayers at the end of his General Audience.
Subsequently, the Holy See Press Office confirmed that “in the last few hours” there had been “a worsening” of the Pope emeritus’ health “due to his advanced age.” They emphasized that the situation was “under control, constantly being monitored by doctors.” But, eventually he passed away.
As pope, Joseph Ratzinger took the first steps to confront the sexual abuse crisis in the Church. He was the first pope to meet with abuse victims. He also took disciplinary measures against Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ.
Pope Benedict XVI is known as the “pope theologian” who offered profound and critical reflections on secularization. Specifically, he focused a great deal on confronting individualism and relativism.
However, the most unexpected and surprising moment of his pontificate was his resignation.
His spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, published this reflection five years after the event:
“Sometimes I ask myself, ‘If he wouldn’t have resigned and would’ve continued his service, what could he do with the strength he has now, five years after the resignation?’ He couldn’t do almost anything expected of a pope. He can’t travel, participate in public ceremonies, hold long meetings or study difficult decisions. It’s evident he did the right thing, that he did the most sensible thing for God and for mankind.”
After his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI greatly limited his public appearances. He spent his days at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery. He left only once to visit his brother Georg on his deathbed in Germany.