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HomeInternationalHundreds mourn Benedict XVI at funeral held by pope

Hundreds mourn Benedict XVI at funeral held by pope

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis honoured his predecessor Benedict XVI, the German theologian who made historical past by retiring, presiding Thursday over a uncommon requiem Mass for a useless pontiff by a dwelling one earlier than hundreds of mourners in St. Peter’s Sq..
Bells tolled and the trustworthy applauded as pallbearers carried Benedict’s cypress coffin out of the fog-shrouded basilica and rested it earlier than the altar. Benedict’s longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, bent down and kissed a e book of the Gospels that was left open on the coffin.
Francis, sporting the crimson vestments typical of papal funerals, then took his place and opened the Mass with a prayer,
Heads of state and royalty, clergy from world wide and hundreds of standard folks flocked to the ceremony, regardless of Benedict’s requests for simplicity and official efforts to maintain the primary funeral for an pope emeritus in trendy instances low-key.
Many hailed from Benedict’s native Bavaria and donned conventional costume, together with boiled wool coats to protect in opposition to the morning chill.
“We got here to pay homage to Benedict and wished to be right here right now to say goodbye,” stated Raymond Mainar, who traveled from a small village east of Munich for the funeral. “He was an excellent pope.”
The previous Joseph Ratzinger, who died Dec. 31 at age 95, is taken into account one of many twentieth century’s biggest theologians and spent his lifetime upholding church doctrine. However he’ll go down in historical past for a singular, revolutionary act that modified the way forward for the papacy: He retired, the primary pope in six centuries to take action.
Francis has praised Benedict’s braveness to step apart, saying it “opened the door” to different popes doing the identical. The reigning pontiff, for his half, not too long ago stated he has already left written directions outlining the circumstances wherein he too would resign.
After some 200,000 folks paid their respects throughout three days of public viewing, authorities estimated some 100,000 would attend Benedict’s funeral, although it was not clear if that many did ultimately.
Solely Italy and Germany have been invited to ship official delegations, however different leaders took the Vatican up on its provide and are available of their “personal 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 bunch of patriarchs joined 125 cardinals within the seats to the facet of the altar.
Amongst them was Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, who was given particular court docket permission to attend the funeral and arrived in Rome on Thursday. Zen was detained in Could on suspicion of colluding with overseas forces underneath a nationwide safety legislation that China after he fell afoul of authorities over his participation in a now-silenced democracy motion. His passport was revoked when he was detained.
Matteo Colonna, a 20-year-old seminarian from Teramo, Italy, stated he got here partially due to the historic nature of the funeral – but in addition as a result of it had private resonance for him.
“The primary spark of my vocation began underneath the hold forth of Benedict, however then it turned even stronger underneath Pope Francis,” Colonna stated, whereas sitting in prayer in St. Peter’s Sq. forward of the funeral. “I see a continuity between these two popes and the truth that right now Francis is celebrating the funeral in Benedict’s reminiscence is an historic occasion.”
Early Thursday the Vatican launched the official historical past of Benedict’s life, a brief doc in Latin that was positioned in a steel cylinder in his coffin earlier than it was sealed, together with the cash and medallions minted throughout his papacy and his pallium stoles.
The doc gave ample consideration to Benedict’s historic resignation and referred to him as “pope emeritus,” citing verbatim the Latin phrases he uttered on Feb. 11, 2013, when he introduced he would retire.
The doc, often called a “rogito” or deed, additionally cited his theological and papal legacy, together with his outreach to Anglicans and Jews and his efforts to fight clergy sexual abuse “frequently calling the church to conversion, prayer, penance and purification.”
Francis did not dwell on Benedict’s particular legacy in his homily and solely uttered his identify as soon as, within the ultimate line, delivering as an alternative a meditation on Jesus’ willingness to entrust himself to God’s will.
“Holding quick to the Lord’s final phrases and to the witness of his total life, we too, as an ecclesial neighborhood, need to comply with in his steps and to commend our brother into the fingers of the Father,” Francis stated on the finish.
Throughout St. John Paul II’s quarter-century as pope, Ratzinger spearheaded a crackdown on dissent as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Religion, taking motion in opposition to the left-leaning liberation theology that unfold in Latin America within the Nineteen Seventies and in opposition to dissenting theologians and nuns who did not toe the Vatican’s arduous line on issues like sexual morals.
His legacy was marred by the clergy sexual abuse scandal, although he acknowledged sooner than most the “filth” of monks who raped kids, and really laid the groundwork for the Holy See to punish them.
As cardinal and pope, he handed sweeping church laws that resulted in 848 monks being defrocked from 2004-2014, roughly his hold forth with a 12 months on both finish. However abuse survivors nonetheless held him accountable for the disaster, for failing to sanction any bishop who moved abusers round and figuring out him as embodying the clerical system that lengthy protected the establishment over victims.
A gaggle representing German clergy abuse survivors known as on German officers attending Benedict’s funeral to demand extra motion from the Vatican on sexual abuse. Eckiger Tisch requested German leaders to demand that Francis problem a “common church legislation” stipulating zero tolerance in coping with abuse by clergy.
“Any celebration that marks the lifetime of abuse enablers like Benedict should finish,” stated the primary U.S. abuse survivor group SNAP.
The funeral ritual itself is modeled on the code used for useless popes however with some modifications given Benedict was not a reigning pontiff when he died.
After the Mass, Benedict’s cypress coffin will probably be positioned inside a zinc one, then an outer oak casket earlier than being entombed within the crypt within the grottos beneath St. Peter’s Basilica that when held the tomb of St. 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 meant his retirement to final so long as it did – at almost 10 years it was longer than his eight-year hold forth. And the unprecedented state of affairs of a retired pope dwelling alongside a reigning one prompted requires protocols to information future popes emeritus to stop any confusion about who is actually in cost.

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