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Pope Francis presides over the funeral of his predecessor Benedict XVI in a prestigious ceremony at the Vatican


In line with the wishes of Benedict XVI, his funeral will be "simple", according to the director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni.

Why will Benedict XVI's funeral be unprecedented for a pope?


(CNN) --

The funeral of Pope Emeritus 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 line with Benedict's wishes, his funeral will be "simple", according to the director of the Holy See's press office, Matteo Bruni.

It is the first time in modern times that a pope has presided over the funeral of his predecessor.


    Benedict XVI, a wise and humble Pope

Francis next to the coffin of Benedict XVI during his funeral mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Jan. 5, 2023. (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images)

Worshipers lined up in the plaza, which seats approximately 60,000, in anticipation of the ceremony.

The ceremony will be similar to that of a reigning pope but there will be some modifications, Bruni said.

Benedict will be identified as pope emeritus during the funeral, and the language of some prayers will be different because he was not the reigning pope when he died.

Worshipers prayed the rosary as the coffin of Benedict XVI left St. Peter's Basilica around 8:45 am local time (2:45 am ET) Thursday.

Francis began leading the Mass on Thursday morning, and was expected to give a homily at 10 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET).


  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI asked for forgiveness and thanked God in his last published letter

Benedict XVI's coffin will then be transported through the Basilica and into the Vatican crypt for burial, in the first tomb of John Paul II.

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI humanized the figure of the papacy 2:54

The tomb was evacuated after John Paul II's body was moved to a chapel inside the Basilica after he became a saint.

At the time of the burial, during the rite, a ribbon will be placed around the coffin with the seals of the Apostolic Chamber, the pontifical house and the liturgical celebrations.

The cypress coffin will be placed inside a welded and sealed zinc coffin, and then placed inside a wooden coffin, which will be buried.

The ceremony is expected to wrap up 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 Vatican Joe Donelly.

Members of the congregation attended, including Georg Gänswein (second from right), Archbishop of the Curia and long-time private secretary to the late Benedict XVI.

(Michael Kappeler/dpa/AP)

Benedict, who was the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to resign his office, rather than hold it for life, died on December 31 in a monastery in Vatican City, according to a Vatican statement.

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 taken steps to soften the Vatican's position on abortion and homosexuality, as well as doing more to deal with the sexual abuse crisis the church has faced in recent years and clouded Benedict's legacy.

  • 'God's Rottweiler': Benedict shaped Catholic doctrine but faced criticism for handling of sexual abuse crisis

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 tenure, recalls that he fought "firmly" against pedophilia.

How did Benedict XVI handle the Church's sex scandals?


"He firmly fought against crimes committed by members of the clergy against minors or vulnerable people, continually calling the Church to conversion, prayer, penance and purification," the scroll says.

His death drew tributes from political and religious leaders, including US President Joe Biden;

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Dalai Lama.

Some 200,000 mourners, including Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella, paid their respects to the emeritus pope earlier this week during his funeral in St. Peter's Basilica.

The public vigil for Benedict XVI ended on Wednesday, before an intimate religious rite during which items such as coins and medals minted during his tenure and a scroll on the pontificate were placed in his sealed cypress coffin before the funeral.

Francis paid tribute to his predecessor during an audience at the Vatican on Wednesday.

Where will the remains of Benedict XVI remain?


"I would like us to join those who are here with us who pay homage to Benedict XVI, and direct my thoughts to him, a great teacher of catechesis," he said.

"May it help us to rediscover in Christ the joy of believing and the hope of living."

CNN's Delia Gallagher, Valentina di Donato and Sharon Braithwaite reported from Rome.

CNN's Sana Noor Haq reported from London.

Benedict XVI

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2023-01-05

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