Rome – Pope Benedict XVI shocked the worldThe Vatican announced his death on Saturday.
Benedict is in ill health, and his successor, Pope Francis, said Wednesday:and asked believers to pray for him.
What defined Benedict XVI’s papacy was its conclusion and solemn farewell flight over the Eternal City. He became the first pope to voluntarily resign in over 700 years.
Benedict said his mental and physical strength had deteriorated “to the point where he had to realize that he was incapable of fulfilling the mission entrusted to him.”
A naturally shy man, Pope Benedict XVI always said he had no ambition to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. However, he was chosen as his successor by Pope John Paul II in 2005. At 78, he assumed the role of the oldest pope in almost 30 years.
“I prayed to God, don’t do this to me,” he later said.
Born Josef Ratzinger in 1927 in a small town in Germany. He was requested to join Hitler’s Youth at the age of 14 and was drafted into the German anti-aircraft unit in 1943. He escaped and was taken prisoner by the Americans. .
After the war, he entered the priesthood and rose to the rank of cardinal. He held a powerful position as head of the Vatican’s Ministry of Faith and Doctrine and earned the nickname “God’s Rottweiler” as a strict enforcer of church policy. It was this characterization that his biographer John Allen said Ratzinger worked hard to change.
“He was seen as harsh, authoritarian, and controlling…and it was important for him to fix that…public image right away. I think we did it very successfully,” Allen said.
He did it by being who he truly is: a teacher, a man who speaks clearly without excessive theological jargon.
As Pope, Benedict’s weekly audiences at the Vatican drew large crowds, but his efforts at interreligious dialogue were sometimes inadequate.
He angered many Jews by reinstating a bishop who denied the scale of the Holocaust, and did not go so far as to apologize during a visit to the Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem.
“They lost their lives, but they don’t lose their names,” he said.
On a trip to Africa, he dismissed condoms as a way to prevent AIDS.
But he also embraced modern technology. Benedict was the first pope to have a televised question-and-answer session, with pre-screened questions, but he oversaw the launch of the Vatican’s official website and the pope’s Twitter account.
During a trip to the US in 2008, he made a powerful and symbolic visit to Ground Zero in New York.
As he began to grow older, Benedict ignored his doctors’ wishes and went to Cuba and Mexico, but the challenges only increased.
Critics have blamed his slow reaction to decades of hiding secrets.Sexual abuse by clergy.and there was a scandal Exposing Vatican corruption and mismanagement.
After eight years at the top of the church hierarchy, Benedict made a surprising announcement in an address to the cardinals of his decision to resign.
who succeeded himmeanwhile, Benedict assumed the title of Pope Emeritus and retired to a convent in Vatican City.
During his papacy he initiated several changes that Francis would later take credit for. And he was the first pope to meet with victims of sexual abuse, publicly apologize, and condemn what he called the “filth” of the church.
In 2016, FrancisHonor Benedict on the 65th anniversary of his ordination and celebrate his decades of service to the Church. As he got older, his appearance became more and more rare, but he was seen celebrating his 90th birthday with a group from his native Bavaria, beer mugs in hand. rice field.
During his retirement, the frail Benedict left Italy only once to visit his brother, who was also a priest on his deathbed.
A scholar who only wanted to hide in the academic world, Benedict left an indelible mark on church and history when he became pope and decided the time had come.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/former-pope-benedict-xvi-dies-age-95-first-pope-in-centuries-to-resign/ Ex-Pope Benedict XVI, first pope in centuries to resign, dies at 95