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Pope Francisco honored his predecessor Benedict XVIThe German theologian who made historical past in retirement presided over a uncommon requiem Mass for a useless pontiff for a residing one earlier than hundreds of mourners in St. Peter’s Sq. on Thursday.
Bells tolled and worshipers cheered as pallbearers carried the cypress coffin of Benedict XVI out of the mist-shrouded St. Peter’s Basilica and positioned it earlier than the altar. Benedict XVI’s secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, leaned over and kissed a guide of the Gospels that lay open on the coffin.
Francis, sporting the crimson vestments typical of papal funerals, took his place and opened the Mass with a prayer.
Heads of state and royalty, clergy from around the globe and hundreds of peculiar folks turned out for the ceremony, regardless of Benedict XVI’s pleas for simplicity and official efforts to maintain the primary funeral of a pope emeritus in latest occasions low-key. fashionable.
Many got here from Benedict’s native Bavaria and wore conventional clothes, together with coats of boiled wool in opposition to the morning chill.
“We got here to pay tribute to Benedict and we needed to be right here at present to say goodbye,” stated Raymond Mainar, who traveled from a small city east of Munich for the funeral. “He was an excellent Pope.”
earlier Joseph Ratzinger, who died on December 31 on the age of 95, is taken into account one of many best theologians of the twentieth century and spent his life defending the doctrine of the church. However he’ll go down in historical past for a singular and revolutionary act that modified the way forward for the papacy: he retired, the primary pope in six centuries to take action.
Francis praised Benedict’s braveness in stepping apart, saying he “opened the door” for different popes who did the identical. The reigning pontiff, for his half, stated just lately that he has already left written directions outlining the situations beneath which he too would resign.
After some 200,000 folks paid their respects throughout a three-day public wake, authorities estimated that some 100,000 would attend Benedict’s funeral, up from the unique estimate of 60,000, Italian media reported, citing police safety plans. .
Solely Italy and Germany had been invited to ship official delegations, however different leaders accepted the Vatican’s supply and got here of their “non-public capability.” They included a number of heads of state, no less than 4 prime ministers, and two delegations of royal representatives. As well as, a number of patriarchs joined 125 cardinals in seats along with the altar.
Matteo Colonna, a 20-year-old seminarian from Teramo, Italy, stated he got here partly due to the historic nature of the funeral, but in addition as a result of it had a private resonance for him.
“The primary spark of my vocation started beneath Benedict’s preach, however then it grew to become even stronger beneath Pope Francis,” Colonna stated, as she sat in prayer in St. Peter’s Sq. earlier than the funeral. “I see a continuity between these two popes and the truth that at present Francis is celebrating the funeral in reminiscence of Benedict XVI is a historic occasion.”
Early Thursday, the Vatican launched the official historical past of Benedict’s life, a brief Latin doc that was positioned in a metallic cylinder in his coffin earlier than it was sealed, together with cash and medallions minted throughout his papacy and his cover stoles.
The “rogito” doc
The doc paid shut consideration to the historic resignation of Benedict XVI and referred to him as “pope emeritus”, quoting the Latin phrases he spoke on February 11, 2013, when he introduced that he would retire.
The doc, often known as a “rogito” or scripture, additionally cites his theological and papal legacy, together with his outreach to Anglicans and Jews and his efforts to fight clergy sexual abuse “by frequently calling the church to conversion, prayer, penance and purification”.
Francis didn’t dwell on Benedict’s particular legacy in his homily and solely spoke his title as soon as, within the ultimate line, as an alternative delivering a meditation on Jesus’ willingness to entrust himself to God’s will.
“Clinging to the final phrases of the Lord and the witness of his entire life, we too, as an ecclesial group, need to observe in his footsteps and entrust our brother into the palms of the Father,” Francis stated on the finish.
Throughout Saint John Paul II’s quarter century as Pope, Ratzinger led a crackdown on dissent as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Religion, cracking down on the left-leaning liberation theology that unfold throughout Latin America within the Seventies and in opposition to dissent. theologians and nuns who didn’t take the Vatican’s onerous line on points reminiscent of sexual morality.
His legacy was marred by the clergy intercourse abuse scandal, regardless that he acknowledged sooner than most the “filth” of clergymen who raped youngsters, and certainly laid the groundwork for the Holy See to punish them. .
As cardinal and pope, he handed sweeping church laws that resulted within the expulsion of 848 clergymen between 2004 and 2014, roughly his preach with a 12 months on every finish. However abuse survivors nonetheless held him answerable for the disaster, for failing to sanction any bishops who moved abusers and figuring out him because the personification of the clerical institution that had lengthy protected the establishment from victims.
A gaggle representing survivors of German clergy abuse has known as on German officers who attended Benedict XVI’s funeral to demand extra motion from the Vatican on sexual abuse. Eckiger Tisch known as on German leaders to demand that Francis concern a “common church regulation” stipulating zero tolerance within the therapy of clergy abuse.
“Any celebration that marks the lives of abuse enablers like Benedicto should finish,” stated the main US group for abuse survivors, SNAP.
The funeral ritual itself relies on the code used for useless popes, however with some modifications since Benedict was not a reigning pontiff when he died.
After Mass, Benedict XVI’s cypress coffin will likely be positioned inside a zinc one, then an oak outer coffin earlier than being buried within the crypt within the grottoes beneath St. Peter’s Basilica that when housed the tomb. of Saint John Paul II earlier than it was moved upstairs. .
Whereas the ritual is uncommon, it does have some precedent: In 1802, Pope Pius VII presided over the funeral in St. Peter’s of his predecessor, Pius VI, who had died in exile in France in 1799 as a prisoner of Napoleon.
Benedict by no means supposed his retirement to final this lengthy: virtually 10 years was longer than his eight-year preach. And the unprecedented state of affairs of a retired pope residing subsequent to a reigning one prompted requires protocols to information future popes emeritus to keep away from any confusion over who is absolutely in cost.
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