Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who served as Supreme Pontiff from April 2005 to February 2013, has died aged 95, the Vatican has confirmed.
A short statement from Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, said: ‘With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34am in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican.’
On hearing the news, Cardinal Nichols wrote: ‘I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Pope Benedict. He will be remembered as one of the great theologians of the 20th century.
‘I remember with particular affection the remarkable Papal Visit to these lands in 2010.
‘We saw his courtesy, his gentleness, the perceptiveness of his mind and the openness of his welcome to everybody that he met. He was through and through a gentleman, through and through a scholar, through and through a pastor, through and through a man of God, close to the Lord and always his humble servant.
‘Pope Benedict is very much in my heart and in my prayers. I give thanks to God for his ministry and leadership.’
Bishop Nicholas Hudson will celebrate a Requiem Mass in Westminster Cathedral this evening (Saturday 31st December) at 6pm.
Pope Benedict’s body will lie in St Peter’s Basilica from Monday 2nd January, where the faithful can pay their respects.
Pope Pope Francis will preside at Pope Benedict’s funeral on Thursday 5th January in St Peter’s Square. The funeral will take place at 9.30 am (8.30 am GMT).
Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster
For tributes and statements from other Catholic bishops of England & Wales, go to:
Pic: © Mazur/cbcew.org.uk