- A few hours after Pope Francis confirmed the health status of Benedict XVI, he passed away at the age of 95
- His demise was announced by the Vatican on Saturday, December 31 after days of struggle with his health
- Pope Benedict XVI died at his residence at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery where he retired after his resignation as a Pope in 2013
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Former Catholic Pope, Benedict XVI has been confirmed dead in his residence at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, Vatican City.
As reported by Al Jazeera Pope Emeritus dies at the age of 95 on Saturday, December 31.
His demise is coming after several media reports were making the rounds that he was seriously ill and unstable.
Pope Francis who also confirmed his health status urged that he should be prayed to regain good health while stating that he was “very sick”.
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Benedict was pope from April 2005 until his shocking resignation in February 2013.
According to the New York Times, his remains s expected to be moved to St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday, January 2 where he will be greeted by the Catholic faithful.
However, due to the fact that he resigned from the papacy, it is unclear whether the burial protocol for a deceased sitting Pope will be held for him.
Pope Benedict XVI broke tradition as he resigned from his position in 2013 becoming the first Pope to do so in over 600 years.
As regards his burial rites and protocol, the Vatican says it will roll out further details in due course but confirmed that his body will be at St. Peter’s Basilica “to be greeted by the faithful.”
Will the Vatican give Benedict XVI a Pope-like funeral, historian explain
On how his funeral rites will be undertaken, a historian, Agostino Paravicini Bagliani said Pope Benedict XVI is not the first to step down.
He stated that the question about his funeral rites is complicated while revealing that even after his resignation, he chose to retain traits of the papacy especially donning his white garment.
While citing examples, he said Pope Celestine V who became the first Pope to step down in 1294 was not given the funeral rites of the papacy after his demise in 1296.
Similarly, Pope Gregory XII who became the last Pope to step down before Pope Benedict XVI converted to a cardinal when he relieved himself in 1415.
Bagliani said two years later Pope Gregory XII died and his funeral rites were that of a cardinal and not a Pope.
Pope Francis emotionally asks for prayers for ailing Pope Benedict XVI: "Very sick"
Prior to the demise of Benedict XVI, the Roman Catholic leader asked the faithful to pray for the retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI so God will comfort him.
Pope Francis said his predecessor was very ill but he did not elaborate on the condition of Benedict.
Benedict lives in a convent on Vatican grounds and has become increasingly frail in recent years as he dedicates his post-papacy life to prayer.