Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI funeral mass held in Saint Peter’s Square, presided over by Pope Francis
The funeral Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died on Saturday at the age of 95, is being held in St. Peter’s Square, directly opposite St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on Thursday, January 5, 2023. It begins at 9 a.m. :30 am local time, or 3:30 am EST.
Pope Francis will lead the funeral processions of the late Pope.
The Vatican announced that Benedict, born in 1927 as Joseph Ratzinger, had died on Saturday morning at 9:34.
The late pope’s body is currently being held at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City, where he spent most of his post-pontificate life.
POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI DIED AT 95 YEARS OLD, SAYS THE VATICAN
File photo – Pope Benedict XVI holds the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, April 21, 2010. (Eric Vandeville/ABACAPRESS.COM)
Thursday’s ceremony will cap a day-long memorial for the late pope, after tens of thousands of people paid tribute to his life and legacy from Monday to Wednesday.
The Vatican said around 160,000 people had passed through the basilica during that time.
On Wednesday, the late pope’s body was placed in a cypress casket — the first of three caskets — along with a brief, written summary of his historic papacy, coins struck during his papacy and his thefts.
Thousands also attended the final day of public viewing of Benedict’s body, which lay in state in St Peter’s Basilica ahead of Thursday’s funeral.
POPE BENEDICT’S VISION OF CATHOLICISM, VATICAN II AND THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH RESIST THROUGH HIS TEACHINGS
At the Vatican on Wednesday, Pope Francis praised Pope Benedict for his “incisive and gentle thinking”. He called Benedict a “great master of catechesis.”
“His sharp and gentle thought was not self-referential, but ecclesial, because he always wanted to accompany us in the encounter with Jesus,” Francis said during his speech.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI participates in a mass before the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, officially beginning the Jubilee of Mercy, at the Vatican on December 8, 2015. (AP/Gregorio Borgia, File)
After the funeral, Benedict’s remains will be taken back to the Basilica and the coffin will be placed in a coffin made of zinc and another made of oak.
The coffin will then be placed in the crypt once occupied by the tomb of Saint John Paul II in the caves below the Basilica, at Benedict’s request.
THE LAST WORDS OF POPE BENEDICT, ACCORDING TO HIS BED NURSE
Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who attended him until his death, told Vatican News a nurse told him that the pope made a final expression of love for God in his final words.
“In a whispering voice, but in a distinctly distinct manner, [Benedict] said in Italian: “God, I love you!” I wasn’t there at the time, but the nurse told me about it soon after,” said Gänswein.
He added: “These were his last intelligible words, because after that he was no longer able to express himself.”
POPE’S SECRETARY BENEDICT WILL SOON PUBLISH WITHIN HIS POPE’S STORY: ‘NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH’
Gänswein is expected to share more about Pope Benedict XVI, whom he served in multiple capacities for nearly two decades, in a soon-to-be-published book on his experiences with the late pontiff.
Archbishop Georg Gänswein prays before the body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica. (Stefano Costantino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Archbishop Georg Gänswein serves as prefect of the papal household and was a constant companion of Pope Benedict before his death.
The internal book on the late pope is titled, “Nothing But the Truth: My Life with Pope Benedict XVI,” and his writings are said to document Pope Benedict’s perspective on major Catholic issues, including the pedophilia scandal, the Vatileaks documents and the retirement of his unexpected
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“These pages contain a personal testimony of the greatness of a gentle man, a brilliant scholar, a cardinal and a pope who made the history of our time,” Gänswein told the book’s Italian press. “But they are also a first-hand account that seeks to shed light on some misunderstood aspects of his pontificate and describe the ‘real world of the Vatican’ from the inside.”