The funeral of Pope Benedict XVI, led by his successor Pope Francis, is a primary for the Catholic Church

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Reverend Pope Benedict XVI The Vatican held the primary funeral ever for a sitting pope for his predecessor on Thursday. Pope Franciswho has led the Catholic Church since being elected in 2013 following Benedict’s shock resignation, led the funeral service.

The historic funeral closed a chapter within the historical past of the Catholic Church that was notably marked by Benedict’s determination to resign, the primary pontiff to take action in fashionable instances.

As much as 100,000 individuals have been anticipated to assemble in St. Peter’s Sq. for the funeral mass, which was held because it was for a sitting pope.

The funeral of Benedict XVI in the Vatican
Pope Francis sits subsequent to the coffin of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Sq. throughout the funeral Mass on the Vatican on January 5, 2023.

Andrew Medicini/AP

Early Thursday morning, Pope Emeritus Benedict’s physique was carried in a standard cypress wood casket earlier than a crowd and positioned in entrance of the traditional St. Peter’s Basilica. It was a solemn in addition to a historic event.

Among the many tens of hundreds of individuals gathered within the shadow of St. Peter’s have been greater than 100 cardinals, 400 bishops and virtually 4,000 monks from world wide.

“He was an awesome grandfather,” mentioned Father Callistus Kahale Cabindama, a priest who got here all the way in which from Zambia to pay his respects. “He was a beautiful Pope.”

The US ambassador to the Holy See mentioned the demise of Pope Benedict XVI

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The late pontiff had requested for a easy burial. He died final week At 95, Benedict has been residing in a Vatican convent since his shock resignation almost 10 years in the past. He nonetheless wore white robes and spent a lot of his time studying and writing theology.

Nothing will outline Benedict XVI’s tenure because the chief of the world’s Catholics extra clearly than its finish, which was marked by his spectacular farewell flight in a helicopter over the Everlasting Metropolis, after he grew to become the primary pope in additional than 700 years to voluntarily resign. gave:

Benedict mentioned on the time that his psychological and bodily powers had deteriorated “to such an extent that I used to be pressured to acknowledge my lack of ability to meet the ministry entrusted to me.”

A naturally shy man, Benedict has all the time mentioned he has no ambitions to steer the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. However he was elected in 2005 to switch Pope John Paul II. On the age of 78, he grew to become the oldest grandfather in 30 years.

The Lifetime of Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus

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After World Warfare II, he entered the priesthood and rose to change into a cardinal. In his highly effective place as head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Religion, he earned the nickname “God’s Rottweiler” as a tricky enforcer of church coverage. It was a characterization that his biographer John Allen mentioned Ratzinger labored arduous to vary.

“He was seen as gruff, as authoritarian, as controlling … and it was vital for him to rethink that … public picture, and I feel by and enormous he did that fairly efficiently,” Allen mentioned.

He did this by being who he naturally was; a instructor and one who spoke clearly and with out pointless theological jargon.

Solely Italy and Benedict’s native Germany despatched official delegations to Thursday’s service, though royals from Belgium and Spain, in addition to greater than a dozen heads of state and ambassadors to the Holy See from many nations, additionally got here to honor the previous pope.

After the funeral, Benedict’s cypress coffin was to be positioned in a zinc casket after which a bigger wood casket earlier than a non-public burial within the grottoes beneath St Peter’s Basilica.

The U.S. Convention of Catholic Bishops has referred to as for a novena, or 9 days of prayer, in reminiscence of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI starting Thursday.

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