Pope Benedict was a revered teacher, a theologian, and a resolute conservative. His shock resignation in 2013 was an extraordinary act of humility, which humanized the papacy. Not only will he be remembered as the first pope to step down, but also the first pope who tackled sexual abuse scandals in the church. After his resignation, Benedict remained a powerful conservative influence and continued to give his soul to a legacy that would forever stand.
Pope Benedict's death could reshape the Catholic Church. The Vatican has had a pope and an ex-pope since Benedict retired in 2013. With Benedict's passing, a sitting pope will preside over his predecessor's funeral, and the Church will not elect a pontiff — a first. Eventually, the Church may have to normalize the resignation of a pope and set new protocols in the event of an ex-Pope's demise.