Pope Francis presides over the funeral of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Francis presides over the funeral of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Francis presides over the funeral of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI

The funeral of former Pope Benedict XVI took place on Thursday in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. who passed away on Saturday at the age of 95 50 A thousand believers in addition to the heads of state and government and kings.

Pope Francis, who arrived in a wheelchair, faced the simple wooden coffin that contained the body of Joseph Ratzinger. The ceremony, which included prayers and hymns, lasted about an hour and a half.

The liturgy, held in several languages ​​according to the Latin rite, was celebrated by more than 4000 A cardinal, bishop, and priest who derives his exceptional character from the presence of a pope at his predecessor’s funeral, in a precedent in contemporary church history.

At the end of the ceremony, the coffin was taken to St. Peter’s Basilica and will be buried in the crypt where his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, lay until his beatification in 2011.

Before the ceremony, Pope Francis stood in front of the coffin, leaning on a walking stick, touched it briefly and bowed his head in what appeared to be the last farewell.

In the midst of the crowd, a group of the faithful unfurled a banner reading “Santo Subito,” meaning “immediately saint,” a slogan chanted by the crowd during Pope John Paul II’s funeral to commend his immediate canonization demand.

Among the heads of state and government who attended the funeral was Chancellor Olaf Scholz. In the country of the late pope, church bells rang in several German cities.

In Rome, Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen, who was suspended under Hong Kong’s national security law last year, was noted for attending but was allowed to attend the funeral of the pope emeritus.

Before the ceremony began, the faithful, including a large number of priests and nuns, lined up to go through security gates and enter the square. Some carried the flags of Germany and the province of Bavaria, from which the late pope was descended, in addition to the flags of Argentina, the country of the current pope.

From Monday to Wednesday, almost 200,000 believers flocked to St. Peter’s Basilica to take a last look at the body of the German theologian, who died on Saturday at the age of 95 and whose abdication shocked the whole world in 2013. The city of Rome expected 100,000 people to attend the funeral.

According to tradition, Benedict’s coffin made of cypress wood contains, in a metal cylinder, coins and medals minted during his pontificate, his priestly vestments and a text that briefly describes his pontificate.

This event is a precedent in the contemporary history of the Catholic Church. In 1802, Pope Pius VII conducted the funeral service for Pius VI, who had died in exile in France three years earlier but had not yet abdicated.

The death of the Pope Emeritus ended an unusual coexistence between two men dressed in papal white: a first in the 2000-year history of the Catholic Church.

For a quarter of a century, the brilliant theology professor, who dislikes speaking before the media and being present in crowds, was the staunch guardian of the Church’s teaching in Rome at the head of the Congregation for Doctrine and Doctrine of Faith before becoming Pope in 2005 was chosen.

His pontificate was marked by several crises, such as the “Vatelex” scandal in 2012, which exposed a large-scale corruption network.

In early 2022, the German Pope was plagued by a sexual assault scandal after a press report in Germany accused him of sexual abuse when he was Archbishop of Munich in the 1980s. He broke his silence to ask for “forgiveness” but confirmed he had never covered up child abuse and had met a number of victims.

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