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Funeral of Benedict XVI. Report from the Vatican [Wideo]

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Benedict XVI’s funeral is underway at the Vatican. At 9.30 am, the funeral mass of the retired pope began in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. In his homily, Francis said that Benedict XVI “was a witness to the Gospel that he propagated during his lifetime.” He spoke of his “wisdom, gentleness and devotion”. Tens of thousands of people gathered in the square.


– Firmly attached to the last words of the Lord and to the witness that marked his life, we as an ecclesial community want to follow in his footsteps and entrust our brother into the hands of the Father: may these hands of mercy find his lamp lit with the oil of the Gospel, which he propagated and witnessed during his life – said Francis about his predecessor, who died on December 31.

During the funeral Mass of Benedict XVI, he said in his homily that the retired pope was a witness to the Gospel he propagated during his life.

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He recalled the words of Saint Gregory the Great to a friend in the “Shepherd’s Rule”: I ask you to sustain me in the midst of the dangers of this life with the plank of your prayer, that the hand of your merit may lift me up, because my own weight is sinking me.

“It is the shepherd’s awareness that he cannot bear alone what, in fact, he could never bear alone, and that is why he knows how to entrust himself to prayer and care for the people entrusted to him,” Francis added.

– It is God’s faithful people who, gathered together, accompany and entrust the life of the one who was their shepherd. Like the women in the Gospel at the tomb, we are here with the fragrances of gratitude and the anointing of hope to show him once again the love that does not perish. We want to do this with the same anointing, wisdom, meekness and devotion that he has been able to bestow over the years.

– We want to say together: Father, into your hands we entrust his spirit. Benedict, faithful friend of the Bridegroom, may your joy be perfect when you hear his voice finally and forever.

Francis’ homily during the funeral mass of Benedict XVIReuters

Funeral Mass of Benedict XVI

The first such mass in history is attended by two official state delegations: from Italy and Germany, the homeland of Benedict XVI. Both host heads of state and government: Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, as well as German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Giorgia Meloni and Sergio Mattarella during the funeral of Benedict XVIPAP/EPA/ETTORE FERRARI

Privately, there are leaders of other countries, including Poland: President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, as well as Hungarian President Katalin Novak and Portuguese leader Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Queen Mother Sophia of Spain and the royal couple from Belgium – Philip and Matilda are present.

Most countries are represented by ambassadors to the Holy See.

Numerous ecumenical delegations arrived, as well as representatives of other religions, there are representatives of the Roman Jewish and Islamic communities.

There are about 120 cardinals in the concelebration, led by the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who celebrates Mass at the altar due to Francis’ mobility problems. 400 bishops and 3,700 priests are also concelebrating.

Funeral ceremonies of Benedict XVIEPA/MASSIMO PERCOSSI

When the cypress coffin was carried from St. Peter’s Basilica to the square around 8.45, there was a long applause among the faithful. The rosary was recited until the beginning of the funeral mass.

Nearly 200,000 people paid their respects

For the past three days, Benedict XVI’s body has been on display in St. Peter’s Basilica. Nearly 200,000 people paid tribute to him.

The faithful paid homage to Benedict XVIPAP/EPA/ETTORE FERRARI

After the basilica closed on Wednesday evening, the body of the retired pope was placed in a cypress coffin. Also placed in it were the palliums he wore, coins and medals from the time of his pontificate, and the rogito, a text enclosed in a metal tube, which described his papal ministry. Among the medals are seven gold, symbolizing the years of Pope Joseph Ratzinger’s pontificate, ten silver as months and nine bronze as days.

The ceremony was attended, among others, by Cardinal Re, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Papal Secretary Archbishop Georg Gaenswein and women from the lay association Memores Domini, who ran the house of Benedict XVI.

In connection with the funeral ceremonies of Benedict XVI from midnight in the area of ​​St. Piotr, a red safety zone has been introduced. Access to it is possible only through security forces checkpoints.

READ MORE: Three coffins and “armored” Rome. This is what the funeral of Benedict XVI will look like

Benedict XVI is dead

Benedict XVI was the 265th pope and the seventh sovereign of the Vatican City State. He sat on the papal capital – as the first pope from Germany for nearly 500 years – from April 19, 2005 to February 28, 2013, when at the age of 85 he resigned and was the first to take the title “papa emeritus”.

He died on Saturday, December 31, 2022 in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where he lived after resigning from office.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/FABIO FRUSTACI

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