Former Pope Benedict XVI has Passed AwayWorld | December 31, 2022, Saturday // 12:39| views
Pope Benedict XVI
Former Pope Benedict XVI has died, AFP reported, citing a Vatican spokesman.
The 95-year-old German's health had begun to deteriorate before Christmas, with reports of breathing problems.
In 2013, Benedict XVI resigned as head of the Roman Catholic Church, which had not happened in 600 years.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis, who succeeded him, said his predecessor was very ill and called on the faithful to pray for him.
German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope under the name Benedict XVI in 2005 after the death of John Paul II. However, he retired in 2013 due to frail health. Since then he lived in the Vatican.
For almost 25 years, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he headed the office responsible for the Vatican's doctrine - then known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church looked to Benedict XVI as their standard-bearer, and some ultra-traditionalists even refused to recognize Francis as a legitimate pope.
They have criticized Francis for a softer approach to members of communities with non-traditional sexual orientations and to Catholics who have divorced and remarried outside the church, saying it undermines traditional values.
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