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Benedict XVI – Last words before death: “Lord, I love you”

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Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told journalists that they had been questioned by the male nurse who was watching over Joseph Ratzinger. “Lord, I love you” were the last words Benedict XVI said. spoke in Italian the night before his death on Saturday.

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Small groups of cardinals, nuns, seminarians and families Sunday visited the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, which houses Benedict’s coffin. The deceased lies on a catafalque covered with cloth. He is wearing a red liturgical robe and is holding a bishop’s miter, a rosary and a cross, Vatican media reported. On his feet he wears a pair of black shoes, not the red ones he wore when incumbent pope, but neither are the comfortable sandals he wore when pontiff emeritus. The room is decorated with a Christmas tree, a nativity scene and flower vases.

The body of Benedict is to be laid out in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome from Monday morning so that the faithful can say goodbye to him. The funeral service for Benedict will take place on January 5th in St. Peter’s Square and will be led by the incumbent Pope Francis – an unprecedented event in the history of the Catholic Church, which came about as a result of Benedict’s resignation.

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Rome takes security precautions for burial

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Rome is taking special security precautions for the funeral of the Pope Emeritus on Thursday. As in the past at the funeral of John Paul II and at major canonization ceremonies, more than 1,000 police officers will be deployed, according to the Roman prefecture on Sunday. The number of metal detectors to control believers entering St. Peter’s Square will be increased.

In addition to the monitoring measures, the control of traffic flows will be a key element of the organization. The Prefecture of Rome expects from Monday to the funeral on Thursday that 35,000 people will make a pilgrimage to Benedict’s coffin laid out in St. Peter’s Basilica. At least 60,000 people, including international delegations, are expected to attend the funeral on Thursday.

In addition to the staff of the Vatican Gendarmerie, plainclothes police officers will also be on duty. The aim is to guarantee effective but discreet controls. An important role will be played by the 500 civil protection volunteers, who will also be tasked with providing information on queues and waiting times.

Via della Conciliazione, the main street leading to St. Peter’s Square, will be closed to traffic. Local public transport will be increased and two interchange stations are planned. The airspace over Rome will also be closed on Thursday.

Benedict XVI died in the Vatican on Saturday at the age of 95. Benedict is to be buried after the funeral service in the Vatican Grottoes of St. Peter’s Basilica. His biographer Peter Seewald made it public in 2020 that the Pope Emeritus would like a burial there in the former grave of his predecessor John Paul II. After the Polish Pope’s beatification in 2011, his body was reburied in a chapel in the aisle of St. Peter’s Basilica.

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Source: Nachrichten

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