(Fwrd Axis) — Pope Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to resign in 600 years, died Saturday at age 95, the Vatican said.
“With sorrow, I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” the Vatican said in a statement early Saturday. No cause of death was provided. “Further information will be provided as soon as possible,” the statement said.
The Vatican said former Pope Benedict’s remains would be on public display in St. Peter’s Basilica starting Monday and the funeral will be held on January 5 at St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis leading the proceedings. Following the mass, his coffin will be transported to St. Peter’s Basilica for burial.
Earlier this week, Pope Francis said his predecessor was “very sick,” and asked for people to pray for him.
Francis paid tribute to his predecessor on Sunday during the homily.
“With emotion, we remember his character so noble, so kind,” he said. “And we feel so much gratitude in our hearts: gratitude to God for having given him to the Church and to the world; gratitude to him, for all the good he has done, and above all for his testimony of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his retired life. Only God knows the value and strength of his intercession, of his sacrifices offered for the good of the Church.”
President Joe Biden, America’s second Catholic president, released a statement on Saturday, paying tribute to the late pontiff.
“He will be remembered as a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and faith,” the statement read in part.
“I had the privilege of spending time with Pope Benedict at the Vatican in 2011 and will always remember his generosity and welcome as well as our meaningful conversation,” he added.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called Benedict a “giant of faith and reason” and Olaf Scholz, chancellor of Germany, said Benedict was a “formative figure of the Catholic Church.”