VATICAN CITY :
FORMER Pope Emeritus BenedictXVI,theshyGerman theologian who tried to reawaken Christianity in a secularised Europe but will foreverberememberedasthe first pontiff in 600 years to resign from the job, died Saturday. He was 95. Benedictstunnedtheworld on Feb. 11, 2013, when he announced, in his typical, soft-spoken Latin,that he no longer had the strength to run the 1.2 billion-strong Catholic Church that he had steered for eight years through scandal and indifference. His dramatic decision paved the way for the conclave that elected Pope Francis as his successor. The twopopesthenlivedside-byside in the Vatican gardens, an unprecedented arrangement that set the stage for future “popes emeritus” to do the same. A statement from Vatican spokesmanMatteoBrunion Saturday morning said that: “WithpainIinformthatPope Emeritus Benedict XVI died today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesia Monastery in the Vatican.Furtherinformation will be released as soon as possible.”
TheVaticansaidBenedict’s remains would be on public display in St. Peter’s Basilica startingMondayforthefaithfultopaytheirfinalrespects. The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had never wantedtobepope, planning at age 78 to spend his final years writing in the “peace and quiet” of his native Bavaria. Instead, he was forced to follow the footsteps of the beloved St. John Paul II and run the church through the fallout of the clerical sex abusescandalandthenasecond scandal that erupted whenhisown butler stolehis personal papers and gave them to a journalist. Being elected pope, he once said, felt like a “guillotine”hadcomedownonhim. Nevertheless, he set about the job with a single-mindedvisiontorekindlethefaith in a world that, he frequentlylamented,seemedtothink it could do without God. “In vast areas of the world today, there isastrange forgetfulness of God,” he told 1 million young people gatheredonavastfieldforhisfirst foreigntripaspope, toWorld Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, in 2005. “It seems as if everything would be just the same even without him.” With some decisive, often controversialmoves,hetried to remind Europe of its Christian heritage.
And he set the Catholic Church on a conservative, traditionmindedpaththatoftenalienatedprogressives.Herelaxed the restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass and launched a crackdown on Americannuns,insistingthat the church stay true to its doctrineandtraditionsinthe face of a changing world. It wasa paththatinmanyways was reversed by his successor, Francis, whose mercyover-morals priorities alienated the traditionalists who had been so indulged by Benedict. Benedict’s style couldn’t have been more different from that of John Paul or Francis. No globe-trotting media darlingorpopulist,Benedict wasateacher,theologianand academic to the core: quiet and pensive with a fierce mind. He spoke in paragraphs, not soundbites. He had a weakness for orange Fanta as well as his beloved library; when he was elected pope, he hadhisentire study moved — as is — from his apartment just outside the Vatican walls into the Apostolic Palace. The books followed him to his retirement home. “In them are all my advisers,”hesaidofhisbooks in the 2010 book-length interview “Light of the World.” “I know every nook and cranny, and everything has its history.”