Former Pope Benedict dies at 95

 Former Pope Benedict dies at 95

Pope Benedict XVI died Saturday at the age of 95. He led the Catholic Church for nearly eight years before becoming the first pope to abdicate in six centuries.

Ahead of Benedict XVI's death, Pope Francis called for prayers for his predecessor. At the time, the Vatican announced that Benedict XVI's health had deteriorated due to "advanced age".

In 2013, Benedict XVI announced his abdication, saying that he no longer had enough physical and mental strength to be pope.
After his abdication, he lived in a former monastery in the Vatican, making few public appearances and devoting his later years to prayer and meditation.

In a letter to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in 2018, Benedict described a "slow atrophy of my physical strength", saying he was "on an inner pilgrimage home".

He was born Joseph Ratzinger in Marktel, Germany in 1927, and spent his youth in southeastern Germany near the Austrian border. He attended a seminary a year before the outbreak of World War II, was eventually drafted into the German army, served in the air defense unit, and later deserted towards the end of the war.

He returned to his theological studies and became an ordained priest in 1951. After years of teaching and serving as an advisor to the Second Vatican Council, in 1977 Pope Paul VI appointed Ratzinger Archbishop of Munich and Freising and later Cardinal.

Ratzinger was minister of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for more than 20 years and was a close friend and advisor to Pope John Paul II.

Benedict's pontificate and John Paul II's pontificate have seen child sex abuse scandals involving clergy. His response included expelling the priest, apologizing to the victim and meeting the victim.

A January 2022 report accused him of failing to act in four cases during his tenure as archbishop of Munich. In a letter released by the Vatican, Benedict XVI acknowledged "mistakes" in handling allegations of sexual assault and said he could only express "deep shame, deep sorrow and a heartfelt plea to all victims of sexual assault." forgive".

In 2006, Benedict XVI gave a speech in Regensburg, Germany, in which he quoted a Byzantine emperor in what some Muslims saw as an attack on Islam, sparking the Muslim world protest.

In 2013, his butler was found guilty of taking sensitive classified documents from the pope's office and leaking them to journalists.

When Benedict retired, Brennan Pursell, one of Benedict's biographers, told VOA that he was remembered first as a teacher.

"His legacy as pope will live on in his writings, especially his catechisms (guidance on religion/faith), his encyclicals (pope's letters), his various documents," he said. For those who only read online, they can feel the great contribution this man made to the teaching of the church."

Father Thomas Reece of Georgetown University in the United States said Benedict "had very strong ideas about church doctrine, orthodoxy, and church tradition. He was not afraid to take on priests, religious figures, and theologians who disagreed with him." , basically trying to silence them."

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