NewsWorldFormer Pope Benedict funeral next Thursday 'a solemn affair'

Former Pope Benedict funeral next Thursday ‘a solemn affair’

 

The body of forme Pope Benedict XVI, who died on Saturday, will lie in state in St. Peter’s Basilica tomorrow and remain there for three days before his funeral, which is set for January 5.

The public can view the body from 9 a.m to 7 p.m. (1800 GMT) on January 2, 3 and 4.

Benedict’s funeral will be held on Thursday in St. Peter’s Square, in front of the basilica and will be presided over by Pope Francis.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that following the wishes of Benedict, the funeral would be simple, solemn and sober.

Papal funerals typically draw heads of state from around the world, but the Vatican has said that official delegations will only come from Italy and Benedict’s native Germany, suggesting the event will be relatively low key.

Representatives from other countries or organisations can attend in a private capacity, diplomats were told.

The Vatican said that after the ceremony, Benedict’s body will be taken back inside St. Peter’s Basilica and buried in the Vatican Grottoes, beneath the church, where more than 90 popes have found their final resting place.

In 2020, Benedict’s authorised biographer, Peter Seewald, was quoted as telling Bavarian newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the emeritus pope had prepared a spiritual testament stating that he wanted to be buried in the same crypt where John Paul II was originally laid to rest in 2005.

John Paul’s body was later moved following his beatification in 2011 to a chapel on the main level of the basilica next to the one where Michelangelo’s Pieta is displayed.

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