Honors for the former Pope Benedict XVI. as farewell plans for believers

IMPORTANT POINTS
  • Former Pope Benedict XVI. died at his residence in the Vatican at the age of 95.
  • His body will rest in St. Peter’s Basilica for a while for people to say goodbye to him.
  • He was the first pope to resign in 600 years.
Former Pope Benedict has died at his Vatican residence at the age of 95.
“It is with sadness that I inform you that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. passed away at 9.34am today at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.
The German pope emeritus, whose birth name was Joseph Ratzinger, had lived a quiet life in a former convent on Vatican grounds since his shock decision to step down in February 2013.

The Vatican announced that the details of the funeral will be announced in the coming hours.

Pope Benedict XVI  waves to the faithful after a mass in Munich Cathedral July 8, 2001.

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful after a mass in Munich Cathedral July 8, 2001. Source: AAP / Finally

His body is to be laid out in St. Peter’s Basilica from Monday.

The Vatican has carefully devised rituals for what happens after the death of a sitting pope, but no publicly known rituals for a former pope.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. resigned from the papacy in February 2013, citing the impact of age on his ability to cope with the demands of the role.

Benedict was the first pope since Pope Gregory XII. in 1415, who did not leave office by death, and the first to resign voluntarily since Pope Celestine V in 1294.

First German Pope in 1000 years

Earlier this week, during his weekly general audience, Pope Francis announced that his predecessor was “very ill” and asked people to pray for him.
For nearly 25 years, Benedict, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was the powerful head of the Vatican Magisterium, then known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

He was elected pope on April 19, 2005, succeeding the widely popular Pope John Paul II, who reigned for 27 years.

Pope Francis welcomes Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI  at a meeting with newly appointed cardinals at the Vatican's Mater Ecclesiae Monastery on August 27, 2022 in Vatican City, Vatican.

Pope Francis welcomes Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at a meeting with newly appointed cardinals at the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery on August 27, 2022 in Vatican City, Vatican. Source: Getty / Vatican Pool/Getty Images

The Cardinals chose him from among their number in search of continuity and what has been called “a safe pair of hands”.

Benedict, the first German pope in 1,000 years, himself acknowledged that he was a weak administrator, saying he experienced a “lack of determination in governing and Making decisions”.

long legacy

Child abuse scandals dogged most of his papacy, but he is credited with initiating the process of disciplining or firing robber priests after a more lax stance under his predecessor.
After his resignation, conservatives in the church viewed the former pope as their standard-bearer, and some ultra-traditionalists even refused to recognize Francis as the legitimate pope.

They have criticized Francis for his friendlier approach to members of the LGBTQ+ community and to Catholics who divorced and remarried outside the church, saying both undermine traditional values.

“Unsure what to expect”

A former Vatican press secretary said she was “unsure” how the epicenter of the Catholic faith will deal with the first death of a former pope in more than 600 years.

Joanne Bergamin, who has since returned to the Gold Coast, worked in Vatican City between 2009 and 2015 for the Press Office of the Holy See, the official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Pontifical Swiss Guard and the Office of Pontifical Charities.

Ms Bergamin became a Vatican citizen in 2014 after marrying her husband Dominic, who was a member of the Pope’s Swiss Guard.
“I’m not sure what to expect in terms of a funeral service for the pope emeritus, which has to take place between four and six days after his death,” Ms. Bergamin said.

“Some have speculated that it will be a smaller affair than Pope John Paul II’s funeral, but I hardly think that will be the case. Catholics from all over the world will want to come and pay their respects to this Pope, who I believe will be declared Doctor of the Church.”

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