Former pope Benedict XVI dies aged 95
German predecessor to Pope Francis became first pontiff to step down as head of Catholic church in 600 years
Pope Benedict XVI, who served as leader of the Catholic church from 2005 until his resignation in 2013, has died aged 95, the Vatican has announced.
A statement from Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said: “With sorrow, I inform you that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away today at 9.34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican.
Benedict’s death brings to a close an unprecedented period in recent history where two popes have co-existed, a situation that has caused tensions within rival camps in the Vatican. It paves the way for his successor, Pope Francis, to consider whether to follow Benedict by retiring at some point – impossible while the outcome would have been three popes.
The sound in the piazza in Barga Vecchia of the bells in the Duomo this morning.