Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Sunday, Jan 29, 2023

Thousands pay tribute to former Pope Benedict at lying-in-state

Thousands pay tribute to former Pope Benedict at lying-in-state

Thousands of Catholics paid their respects Monday to former pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, at the start of three days of lying-in-state at St. Peter’s Basilica before his funeral.
They began queueing before dawn to view the German theologian’s body, which was transferred early Monday from the monastery in the Vatican grounds where he died Saturday aged 95.

“I arrived at 6:00 am, it seemed normal to come and pay homage to him after all he did for the church,” said an Italian nun, sister Anna-Maria, near the front of the queue that snaked around the edge of the vast St. Peter’s Square.

Benedict led the Catholic Church for eight years before becoming the first pope in six centuries to step down in 2013, citing his declining and physical health.

His successor Pope Francis will lead the funeral on Thursday in St. Peter’s Square before his remains are placed in the tombs beneath the basilica.

Benedict’s body was laid out Monday on a catafalque draped in gold fabric in front of the altar of the church, flanked by two Swiss Guards.

Many of those filing past took pictures on their smartphones of the body, which was dressed in red papal mourning robes with a gold-edged mitre on his head, while some prayed or made the sign of the cross.

“The atmosphere is very intimate,” Francesca Gabrielli, a pilgrim from Tuscany in central Italy, said inside the basilica.

She said Benedict was “a great pope, profound, unique.”

Benedict died at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, which had been his home for the past decade, his last words in the early hours of Saturday said by the Vatican to have been “Lord, I love you!”

His body will lie in state for three days, with members of the public allowed in during the day, before a funeral on Thursday that will break new ground.

Benedict’s shock resignation created the extraordinary situation of having two “men in white” — him and Francis — at the Vatican.

Papal deaths usually trigger the calling of a conclave of cardinals to elect a successor, but this time Francis remains in post, and will lead proceedings.

The Vatican has yet to release details of the guest list, beyond saying that it will include delegations from Italy and Benedict’s native Germany.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who at the weekend joined world leaders from Joe Biden to Vladimir Putin in paying tribute to Benedict, was among the first to visit his body on Monday morning.

She was greeted by Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, Benedict’s long-time aide.

The last papal funeral, of John Paul II in 2005, drew a million faithful and heads of state from around the world, although Benedict was a more divisive figure.

A brilliant theologian, he alienated many Catholics with his staunch defense of traditional values and as pope struggled to impose his authority on the church as it battled a string of crises, including over clerical sex abuse.

His successor cuts a very different figure, an Argentine Jesuit who is most at home among his flock and has sought to forge a more compassionate church.

Pope Francis paid tribute to Benedict in three New Year’s events at the Vatican over the weekend, “thanking God for the gift of this faithful servant of the Gospel and of the Church.”

Francis, 86, has raised the prospect that he might follow Benedict’s example and step down if he became unable to carry out his duties.

In July, suffering knee problems that have forced him to rely on a wheelchair, he admitted he needed to slow down or think about stepping aside.

Last month, Francis revealed he had signed a resignation letter when he took office should poor health prevent him from carrying out his duties.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Saudi Press
Close
0:00
0:00
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Saudi FM discusses Kingdom’s economy, oil, Iran and US ties in Davos
Israelis rally in three cities against Netanyahu legal reforms
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Saudi Arabia plans to use domestic uranium for nuclear fuel
Mohammed Bin Salman chosen most influential Arab leader of 2022
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
United Arab Emirates says it will teach Holocaust in schools
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Saudi Arabia’s female ambassadors: Who are the five women representing the Kingdom?
Almubarak named ‘The Best Central Bank Governor of the Year 2023 for the Middle East’
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Dubai announces $8.7 trillion economic plan to boost trade, investment and global hub status
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.
×