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Saturday December 31, 2022

Former Pope Benedict Dies at 95

VATICAN CITY: Former Pope Benedict died on Saturday in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican, a spokesman for the Holy See 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. Further information will be provided as soon as possible,” the spokesman said in a written statement.

He was the first pontiff in 600 years to resign, leaving behind a Catholic Church battered by sexual abuse scandals, mired in mismanagement and polarised between conservatives and progressives.

Benedict, the first German pope in 1,000 years, had good relations with his successor, Pope Francis, but his continued presence inside the Vatican after he stepped down in 2013 further polarised the Church ideologically.

Conservatives alarmed by Francis’ progressive moves looked to Benedict as the guardian of tradition. Several times he had to tell nostalgic admirers via visitors: “There is one pope, and it is Francis.”

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