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.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference, said:

“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.”

The Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle will celebrate the Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of the late Pope Emeritus in the Cathedral Church of St Mary on Monday 9 January at 12.05pm. Bishop Séamus will preside at this Mass and all Clergy, Religious and Laity of the diocese are welcome to attend.The Mass will be live-streamed to the Cathedral YouTube page here. Prayer cards have also been distributed to Catholic parishes, or can be viewed here.

This article was originally published by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales here, and further prayers, obituaries and stories can be found here.

O God, faithful rewarder of souls,
grant that your departed servant Pope Benedict,
whom you made successor of Peter
and shepherd of your Church,
may happily enjoy for ever in your presence in heaven
the mysteries of your grace and compassion,
which he faithfully ministered on earth.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Amen.Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.May he rest in peace.
Amen.May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Prayer for Benedict XVI (CBCEW. 2023)