Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI dies aged 95

Pope Benedict XVI poses for a photo on February 28, 2013 in Rome, Italy.

Franco Origlia | Getty Images News | beautiful pictures

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVIBavarian-born theologian who is a conservative Roman Catholic who earned him the nickname “God’s Rottweiler” and who shocked his flock by sudden resignation of pope The Vatican said, after just eight years, passed away on Saturday.

He was 95 years old.

“It is with great sadness that I inform you that Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 am at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” the statement said. No cause of death has been provided.

Benedict is the longest living pope, having surpassed Pope Leo XIII in September 2020.

Benedict, the first pope to voluntarily relinquish the papacy in nearly 600 years, spent his late years living in the Vatican in a renovated convent, rarely appearing in public with others. replace him. Pope Francis.

But he continued to personally advise his much more liberal successor. His influence was felt in August 2016, when Francis, who has made efforts to reach out to the LGBTQ communitytook a surprisingly tough line on teaching school children that they could choose their gender.

“We have to think about what Pope Benedict said – ‘It’s the age of sin against God the Creator,’” Francis said at a gathering of Polish bishops.

Born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927 in Marktl, Germany, Benedict, the son of police officers Josef and Maria, grew up in a Nazi-infested Germany. Like his father, Benedict opposes Hitler. But at the age of 14, he was forced to join the Hitler Youth. And two years later, while still in the seminary, the future pope was drafted into the German army and sent to the front.

With the Allies on the verge of victory, Benedict deserted and went home. After a short stay in the POW camp, he returned to the seminary and, with his brother Georg, was ordained a priest on June 29, 1951.

Unlike most priests, Benedict spends little time in parishes. Instead, he embarked on an academic career and found himself turning to the conservative right as universities in Germany turned to the liberal left in the 1960s.

Not like extremely popular John Paul II, Benedict is a stern and stern character with very little of the charisma of his Polish predecessor. He is considered a transitional pope – the keeper of the flame of John Paul.

Like John Paul, Benedict is a witness to Damage and make it their mission to reach out to the Jews and fight anti-Semitism. In 2008, Benedict XVI became the first pope to visit a synagogue in the United States when he prayed at Park East Synagogue in New York City.

Benedict also made a historic pilgrimage to zero point in New York City, where he prayed with the families of the victims September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Benedict was considered a dominant intellectual figure in Roman Catholicism as he moved to more conservative positions in the 40 years before assuming the papacy. In 1981, he became minister of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the council—known in the 16th century as the Spanish Inquisition—to promote and enforce church doctrine.

His fierce resistance to what he sees as a campaign to secularize the church, promote women as priests, “normalize” homosexuality and encourage a liberal Catholic lineage in Latin America known as liberation theology has led to him being branded as the “Rottweiler of God”.

Among his more significant actions as minister was the issuance of a formal letter in May 2001 widely interpreted as stating that investigations into allegations of sexual abuse by teachers Doctors are confidential church matters that are not reviewed by civil law enforcement agencies. Critics — and attorneys for victims of such abuse — often see the letter as evidence that the church is seeking to cover up a growing scandal.

Consequences have dogged Benedict from the very beginning of his pontificate. In 2005, his first year as pope, he was accused in a lawsuit of personally covering up the abuse of three boys by a Texas priest. He avoids the lawsuit by asking and receive diplomatic immunity from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Michael D’Antonio said: “He was able to go around and help the victims, which he did, and I think it was a brave and profound thing to do, but he couldn’t change the circumstances. definitive element of the Catholic Church that has allowed abuses”. , author of “Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Age of Catholic Scandals.”

In February, Pope Benedict asked for forgiveness for any “grave error” in his handling of clerical sexual abuse cases, but denied any personal or specific wrongdoing after a report was issued. An independent report from a German law firm criticized his actions on four occasions while he was archbishop of Munich.

Benedict’s conservatism extended to the public face of the church. In addition to his native German, he is fluent in Italian, French, English and Latin – the last of which he managed to use again during church service.

Former Pope Benedict XVI chairs a weekly audience at St Peter’s Square in the Vatican.

Alessandra Benedetti – Corbis | Corbis History | beautiful pictures

In 2007 he issued an official document authorizing the performance of the Tridentine Mass, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass, in European and North African countries historically shaped by Latin. The traditional Mass was one of the prominent victims of the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s, when Pope John XXIII liberalized the church’s activities, rites, and relations with other denominations.

Benedict, who is often cited to rebuke more liberal theologians who argued that the council’s reforms were a rejection of the church’s previous practices, reinstated many inactive icons. movement of church power – he wore fur vestments and jeweled rings, and he revived the papal tradition of wearing scarlet leather shoes, representing Jesus’ bloody feet -su when he was sent to be crucified.

Benedict argues that such symbols are on par with the massive visual statement the church makes through its majestic churches and cathedrals as well as its unparalleled collection of works of art.

“All the great works of art, the cathedrals – the Gothic cathedrals and the splendid Baroque churches – are a shining sign of God, and therefore truly an expression, a manifestation. the spirit of God,” he said in 2008.

Benedict was 78 years old and already weak in 2005 when he became pope — the oldest pope elected in nearly three centuries — and by February 11, 2013, at 85 years old, he had had enough.

“After repeatedly examining my conscience before the Lord, I have come to be sure that my strength due to advanced age is no longer suitable for the full exercise of Peter’s ministry,” he said. during a meeting in the Vatican with his cardinals, referring to the Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy. “The strength of the past few months has waned in me to the point where I have to admit my inability to fully fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

And with that, Benedict gave three weeks’ notice that he would step down at the end of the month.

Benedict took the title of pope emeritus and continued to wear the papal white robes. But he did return the Fisherman’s Ring, which is traditionally destroyed with a hammer blow after a pope’s death. And he asked to be called Father Benedict.

The former pope also maintains a cordial relationship with Francis. Both men beamed as they hugged on December 8, 2015, before opening the Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica to mark the beginning of the Catholic Jubilee, or Jubilee Year. In June 2016, Francis kissed Benedict on both cheeks to help celebrate the 65th anniversary of the former pope’s ordination.

Their relationship was fictionalized in the 2019 film “The Two Popes”, adapted from the play “The Pope” by Anthony McCarten. The film depicts Benedict summoning Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the liberal archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina who will become Pope Francis, secretly to the Vatican to reveal that he intends to resign.

Through a series of conversations, Benedict, played by Anthony Hopkins, confesses that he no longer hears the word of God and believes that perhaps Bergoglio should succeed him as the only one who can break the machine. Vatican bureaucracy and institutional reform.

Change is necessary, Benedict said, but “change is compromise,” and he is incapable of compromise. “All my life I’ve been alone, but never alone, until now,” he said.


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