Former Pope Benedict XVI dies at 95


The world is in mourning as former Pope Benedict XVI has died, aged 95, almost a decade after he stood down because of ailing health.

Pope Benedict led the Catholic Church for fewer than eight years until, in 2013, he became the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.

Benedict spent his final years at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery within the walls of the Vatican where he passed away at 09:34 (08:34 GMT) on Saturday.

His successor Pope Francis will lead the funeral service on January 5.

The Vatican stated that the body of the Pope Benedict will be placed in St Peter’s Basilica from  January 2 for “the greeting of the faithful”

Bells rang out from Munich cathedral and a single bell was heard ringing from St Peter’s Square in Rome after the former pope’s death was announced.

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, noted that Pope Benedict was “one of the great theologians of the 20th century”.

According to a statement, he said: “I remember with particular affection the remarkable Papal Visit to these lands in 2010. We saw his courtesy, his gentleness, the perceptiveness of his mind and the openness of his welcome to everybody that he met.”

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