Pope Benedict’s Funeral Takes Place

By Gabby 11 months ago
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has been laid to rest.

The former head of the Catholic Church - who became the first pontiff to resign in 600 years when he stepped down in February 2013 after almost eight years in his position - passed away on Saturday (31.12.22) morning at the age of 95 and his funeral took place on Thursday (05.01.23), with his successor, Pope Francis, presiding over the service.

Around 100,000 mourners gathered in St Peter's Square at the Vatican for the funeral, a rare requiem Mass for a dead pontiff by a living one, but Francis - who was guided to his place in a wheelchair and stood with the aid of a crutch - chose not to dwell on Benedict's specific legacy in his homily.

He only mentioned him once by name in his final line when he said: “Holding fast to the Lord’s last words and to the witness of his entire life, we too, as an ecclesial community, want to follow in his steps and to commend our brother into the hands of the Father.

"Benedict, faithful friend of the Bridegroom, may your joy be complete as you hear his voice, now and forever."

Among the mourners at the two-hour, multilingual, ceremony were Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, Queen Sofia of Spain, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and Italy President, Sergio Mattarella.

The service began when 12 pallbearers carried in the coffin from the basilica and rested it before the alter in the piazza, then Benedict's secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, bent down and kissed a book of the Gospels that was left open on his casket.

The first reading was in Spanish and followed by an English reading, before a Gospel passage was sung in Italian.

Following the service, Benedict’s cypress coffin was placed inside a zinc one, then another outer oak casket, before being entombed in the crypt in the grottos underneath St Peter’s Basilica.

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