VATICAN CITY – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the first Roman Catholic Pope in 600 years to resign from the job, died Saturday. He was 95.
The Associate Press is reporting Pope Francis will celebrate his funeral Mass in St. Peter's Square on Thursday, an unprecedented event in which a current pope will celebrate the funeral of a former one.
Benedict stunned the world 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.
A statement from Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni on Saturday morning said that: “With sorrow I inform you that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesia Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be released as soon as possible.”
Benedict, whose health had deteriorated over Christmas, had received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick on Wednesday, after his daily Mass, in the presence of his his longtime secretary and the consecrated women who tend to his household.
The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had never wanted to be pope, planning at age 78 to spend his final years writing in the “peace and quiet” of his native Bavaria.