Pope Benedict to be Laid to Rest


Pope Benedict's funeral | Image by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be laid to rest Thursday along with a written record of his papacy, NBC 5 DFW reported.

Benedict was 95 when he passed away on Saturday. Prior to his death, he was 10 years retired from his papacy. He was the first pope to resign in more than 600 years.

The viewing for the former pope was set to end Wednesday at 7 p.m. local time, with tens of thousands coming to St. Peter’s Basilica to see Benedict’s body.

According to Vatican security, 65,000 people viewed his body on Monday, and 75,000 did so on Tuesday.

Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian prime minister, was among the prominent mourners who came to the basilica. While Orbán is a Protestant, his wife is Catholic and raised their five children in the Catholic Church.

Once the viewing ended Wednesday evening, the body was placed in a cypress casket, then a zinc coffin, and finally a second wooden casket. The body was brought out to St. Peter’s Square, where the funeral mass took place, 40 minutes before the funeral began this morning.

Pope Francis celebrated the funeral mass, the first time a reigning pope has ever presided at the funeral of his predecessor.

Prominent clergy came from all over the world for the funeral, including Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, who was closely allied with Benedict and has differed with Francis over the policy for the appointment of bishops in China.

Benedict reportedly said before his death that he wanted to be laid to rest with simplicity. Nonetheless, Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said the character of the liturgy would “in great detail be that of pontifical ceremonies … with some original elements.”

Miriam Groppelli, a 6-year-old altar server at a parish in Milan, traveled with her father Giuseppe Groppelli, 40, to see the former pontiff’s funeral.

“I told her his story, and she was really excited to come to Rome to say goodbye,” Giuseppe Groppelli said. “Benedict has been very important for the Church, his speeches were so clear and beautiful. He leaves a great legacy of knowledge.”

Following his extraordinary retirement, Benedict spent the last 10 years living in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City.

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