Lying in state of former Pope Benedict XVI begins at Vatican

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Former Pope Benedict XVI
Former Pope Benedict XVI

Preparations for the funeral rites of former Pope Benedict XVI are in top gear as tens of thousands of people are expected to pay their respects to the late Catholic leader at the Vatican on Monday.

Pope Benedict was pronounced dead on Saturday, December 31, 2022 at the age of 95.

Report says he was the first to resign his position in 600 years in 2013 and he lived about a decade after he stood down because of ill health.

BBC reports that Pope Francis will preside over Thursday’s funeral – the first time that a Pope will be buried by his successor.

The Vatican says the service will be simple, solemn and sober.

Hi body will be displayed for three days in an open casket at St Peter’s Basilica, with people allowed to pay their respects until 7pm each evening.

The funeral will take place in St Peter’s Square, before the Pope Emeritus is laid to rest in the tombs beneath the Basilica.

The Vatican released pictures of the body on Sunday, dressed in red papal mourning robes and wearing a gold-trimmed mitre.

Tributes have poured in from around the world, and the funeral is expected to draw crowds of thousands.

The last papal funeral, that of Pope John Paul II in 2005, was one of the largest Christian gatherings in history, and drew an estimated four million people to Rome.

Arrangements for the service are not yet clear, as many of the traditions associated with the death of a serving Pope are not required – most notably the election of a successor.

Benedict asked that the funeral be marked by simplicity, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told journalists.

Details of the guest list have not been released, but the Vatican has said that it will include delegations from Italy and Benedict’s native Germany.

 

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