Benedict XVI, first pope to resign in 600 years, dies at 95

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has died. He was 95.

Benedict was the first pope in 600 years to resign.

Benedict had become increasingly frail during his almost 10 years of retirement.

Benedict’s dramatic decision in 2013 to resign paved the way for the conclave that elected Pope Francis.

The two popes then lived side-by-side in the Vatican gardens in an unprecedented arrangement that set the stage for future “popes emeritus” to do the same.

The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger never wanted to be pope. But he was forced to follow in St. John Paul II’s footsteps.

Tributes poured in. Francis praised Benedict’s “kindness” and thanked him for “his testimony of faith and prayer, especially in these final years of retired life.”

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