Former Pope Benedict XVI passes away at 95

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Former Pope Benedict passed away at his Vatican residence on Saturday aged 95. “With sorrow, I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible,” Vatican News tweeted.

Pope Benedict passed away two days after Pontiff Francis asked to pray for the “very sick” former Pope, CNN said in a report. “I want to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict who sustains the Church in his silence. He is very sick,” Pope Francis said during his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday.

“We ask the Lord to console and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church to the very end,” added Pope Francis. In 2013, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by making the almost unprecedented decision to stand down from his position, citing “advanced age.”

Benedict’s announcement marked the first time a Pope had stepped down in nearly 600 years, reported CNN. The last Pope to resign before his death was Gregory XII, who in 1415 quit ending a civil war within the Catholic Church in which more than one man claimed to be Pope.