Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who was the first pope in 600 years to resign from his position, passed away on Saturday at the age of 95. Pope Francis will celebrate his funeral Mass on Thursday in St. Peter’s Square, a historic event in which a current pope will be performing the funeral of a former one. Benedict’s surprise announcement in 2013 that he no longer had the strength to lead the Catholic Church, which has approximately 1.2 billion members, paved the way for the election of Pope Francis as his successor.
Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Releases Statement on Death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:
“The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend joins Pope Francis and everyone around the world in mourning the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI following the news of his passing this morning from the Vatican.
Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, states, “I believe Joseph Ratzinger was one of the greatest theologians of modern times whose writings reveal not only an amazing intellect, but the heart of a disciple who has deeply contemplated his Lord. The Church has been incredibly blessed by this holy bishop and pope. I will always remember his humility and gentleness, truly a shepherd after the heart of Christ. I ask all the faithful of the diocese to remember Pope Benedict XVI in their prayers, that the Lord may grant him eternal joy and peace in the company of the saints in heaven.”
Network Indiana contributed to this story