Joseph Ratzinger, former pope Benedict XVI, died at the age of 95, the Vatican announced Saturday, almost a decade after he became the first pontiff to resign in six centuries.
His death brings to an end an unprecedented situation in which two “men in white” – Benedict and his successor Pope Francis – had co-existed within the walls of the tiny city-state.
Here are key dates in the life of the former pope:
– April 16, 1927: Born in Marktl am Inn, a small town in Bavaria in southern Germany, and named Joseph Ratzinger.
– 1941: Forced to join the Hitler Youth.
– 1951: Ordained a priest.
– 1977: Named archbishop of Munich and becomes a cardinal.
– 1981: Heads the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation, once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition. The post gives him the ultimate responsibility to investigate abuse cases.
– April 19, 2005: Elected pope, succeeding John Paul II, and takes the name Benedict XVI.
– January 2006: Publishes his first encyclical “God is love”, followed by “Saved by hope” in November 2007 and “Charity in truth” in July 2009.
– September 2006: Angers the Muslim world with a speech in which he appears to endorse the view that Islam is inherently violent. He apologises afterwards.
– February 11, 2013: Announces his resignation, which takes effect on February 28. He is the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages and becomes Pope emeritus.
– January 20, 2022: Begs for forgiveness, but issues a strong denial, after a report for the Munich church authorities says he failed to stop paedophilia by priests while he was archbishop between 1977 and 1982.
– December 31, 2022: Dies in the Vatican aged 95.