FACT CHECK: Did Pope Benedict XVI Recently Die At Age 95?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died at the age of 95.

Facebook post falsely claimed Pope Benedict XVI died

Verdict: False

There is no evidence to suggest the former pope has died. The Catholic Church has made no announcement about the alleged death.

Fact Check:

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI served as the pontiff from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. He was the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign his post, according to history.com. Now, a rumor circulating on social media claims the former pontiff had recently died.

“#BREAKING Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger) died today at the age of 95. Rest In Peace,” reads one such Facebook post from July 11. The post includes an image of the former pope in his papal robes.

The claim is false. The Vatican has not made any announcement about the alleged death on its website or verified social media accounts. The Catholic News Agency published an article on Monday debunking the viral claim as false, alleging the rumor began with the now-deleted satirical Twitter account. The user behind the account, Italian schoolteacher Tomasso De Benedetti, also spread the same rumor in 2012, according to Business Insider.

The former pontiff is 95 years old and was said to be in relatively stable health as recently as April 2022, according to his personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein. (RELATED: FACT CHECK: Viral Post Misstates Facts About Catholic Rites For Stillborn Babies)

Check Your Fact has reached out to the Holy See for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter
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