PanamaTimes

Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

​​​​​​​Former Pope Benedict XVI’s coffin reaches final resting place

​​​​​​​Former Pope Benedict XVI’s coffin reaches final resting place

Ex-pope Benedict XVI’s coffin was carried into St Peter’s Basilica on Thursday, following a funeral at the Vatican led by Pope Francis and attended by tens of thousands of mourners.

The remains of the German Joseph Ratzinger, who was the first pontiff to retire since the Middle Ages, will be buried in the tomb under the Basilica which previously held the body of John Paul II.

Prior to that, 12 pallbearers carried the wooden coffin of Pope Benedict out of St. Peter’s Basilica and placed it before thousands of faithful gathered in the square for his funeral.

Applause broke out across the vast, cobbled esplanade, which was shrouded in mist, in a sign of respect for Benedict, a hero to Roman Catholic conservatives who shocked the world by resigning nearly a decade ago.

Pope Francis arrived in the square in a wheelchair to preside over the service. Troubled by a bad knee, the pontiff sat in a chair looking down on the coffin, slightly hunched and glum-faced as choirs sung in Latin.

Clergy from around the world, a handful of heads of state and thousands of faithful attended the outdoor ceremony as the sun slowly broke through the fog.

More than 1,000 Italian security personnel were called up to help safeguard the event, and air space around the tiny Holy See has been closed off for the day. Italy ordered that flags around the country be flown at half staff.

Among those attending the funeral were Germans in traditional Bavarian outfits carrying flags and standards of the area of Germany where Benedict was born.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re blesses the coffin of former Pope Benedict, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, on January 5, 2023. (Reuters)

Benedict, a world renowned theologian, died at 95 on Saturday in a monastery within the Vatican gardens where he moved after becoming the first pontiff in 600 years to stand down, opening the way for the election of Pope Francis, who has proved a more reformist, hands-on leader.

“Even though at our age we were just children when he was pope, he left his mark,” Xavier Mora, 24, a Spaniard who is studying for the priesthood in Rome, told Reuters as he approached the square with two other seminarians.

“We have been studying his theology for three years and even though we did not know him personally we have great affection and esteem for him,” he said.

The lying-in-state ended on Wednesday evening and the body was put into a plain cypress wood coffin ready for the funeral.

A one-page account of Benedict’s papacy, along with other items, including Vatican coins minted during his reign, were also tucked into the coffin.

The three-page account of his life and papacy, written in Latin, says he “fought with firmness” against sexual abuse by clergy in the Church.

While many leading figures have praised Benedict since his death, criticism has also been aired, including by victims of clergy sexual abuse, who have accused him of seeking to protect the Church at all costs.


Three coffins

After the funeral ceremony, the coffin will be taken back inside the basilica and encased in zinc before being sealed in a second wooden casket.

Because Benedict was no longer a head of state when he died, only two countries, Italy and his native Germany, sent official delegations on Thursday.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re blesses the coffin of former Pope Benedict, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, on January 5, 2023. (Reuters)

Other leaders, including the king and queen of Belgium, and about 13 heads of state or government, will attend in a private capacity. Most nations were being represented by their ambassadors to the Holy See.

It is a far cry from the last papal funeral in 2005, when dozens of kings, presidents and prime ministers joined more than a million people who flooded the streets around the Vatican to pay their respects to Benedict’s charismatic predecessor, John Paul II.

Benedict was always likely to rule in the shadow of John Paul, who was credited with helping end the Cold War. But his time in charge was to a degree spent trying to overcome problems the Church had ignored or covered up in previous decades, including rampant sexual abuses by clerics.

Benedict himself acknowledged he was a weak administrator, and after eight years in the job, he stunned the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics in 2013 by resigning, saying he was no longer strong enough to lead the Church due to his “advanced age.”

Francis himself has made clear that he would not hesitate to step down some day if his mental or physical health prevented him from carrying out his duties, but Vatican officials always doubted he could do this while Benedict was still alive.

Even though Benedict largely avoided public appearances in subsequent years, he remained a standard-bearer for Catholic conservatives, who felt alienated by reforms ushered in by Francis, including cracking down on the old Latin Mass.

Over the past three days almost 200,000 people filed past Benedict’s body dressed in a miter and red vestments, his hands wrapped in a rosary, which was placed on a bier in St. Peter’s Basilica without any papal regalia.

At his request, Benedict will be buried in the underground Vatican grottoes in the niche where first Pope John XXIII and then John Paul II were interred before their remains were transferred to more prominent places in the basilica above.

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×