Pope Benedict XVI funeral: Pope Francis leads Vatican ceremony for former pontiff
Rome CNN –
The funeral of former Pope Benedict XVI, who died Saturday at the age of 95, began Thursday in a traditional ceremony led by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
In keeping with Benedict’s wishes, his burial will be “simple,” according to Holy See press office director Matteo Bruni. It will be the first time in modern times that a pope has presided over the funeral of his predecessor.
Members of the faithful lined the square, which can accommodate around 60,000 people, in anticipation of the ceremony.
The ceremony will be similar to that of a sitting pope, but there will be some modifications, Bruni said. Benedict will be named pope emeritus during the funeral, and the language of some prayers will be different because he was not pope in power when he died.
Worshipers prayed the rosary as Benedict’s coffin left St. Peter’s Basilica around 8:45 a.m. local time (2:45 a.m. ET) on Thursday.
Francis began leading Mass on Thursday morning, when he is expected to deliver a homily at 10 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET).
Benedict’s coffin will then be transported through the Basilica and into the Vatican crypt for burial, the first tomb of John Paul II.
The tomb was vacated after John Paul II’s body and remains were moved to a chapel inside the Basilica after he was canonized.
At the moment of burial during the rite, a belt with the seals of the apostolic chamber, the papal house and liturgical celebrations will be placed around the coffin. The cypress casket will be placed inside a zinc casket that has been welded and sealed, and then placed inside a wooden casket, which will be buried.
The ceremony is expected to end around 11:15 a.m. local time (5:15 a.m. ET).
High-profile dignitaries, including Queen Sofia of Spain and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, will attend the funeral, along with US Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donelly.
Benedict, who was the first pope in almost 600 years to resign his post rather than remain in office forever, died on December 31 in a monastery in Vatican City, according to a statement from the Vatican.
He was elected pope in April 2005, after the death of John Paul II.
Benedict was known to be more conservative than his successor, Pope Francis, who has made moves to soften the Vatican’s stance on abortion and homosexuality, as well as doing more to deal with the sex abuse crisis that has engulfed the church. the last few years and it has blurred. Benedict’s legacy.
The scroll that was placed inside the coffin of Pope Benedict XVI, which is a biography of his life and mentions some of the most important moments of his mandate, recalls that he fought “resolutely” against pedophilia.
“He fought resolutely against crimes committed by members of the clergy against minors or vulnerable persons, constantly calling the Church to conversion, prayer, repentance and purification,” the scroll said.
His death prompted tributes from political and religious leaders, including US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Dalai Lama.
About 200,000 mourners, including Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella, paid their respects to the former pope earlier this week as he lay in state at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Benedict’s public viewing ended on Wednesday, before an intimate religious rite during which items, including coins and medals minted during his tenure and a papal scroll, were placed in his cypress-sealed casket before the funeral.
Francis paid tribute to his predecessor during an audience Wednesday at the Vatican.
“I would like us to join those here next to us who are paying their respects to Benedict XVI and direct my thoughts to him, a great master of catechesis,” he said.
“Help us to rediscover in Christ the joy of faith and the hope of living.”