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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Pope: Burial of Benedict XVI: Steinmeier and Scholz arrive

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Benedict lay in state in St. Peter’s Basilica for three days. Many more people than expected flock to the basilica in Rome to say goodbye. This is followed by one of the last acts, the Requiem.

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After a three-day long public laying-out, the late Pope Benedict XVI is today. buried in St. Peter’s Basilica. In the morning (9.30 a.m.) the incumbent pontifex Francis will preside over a requiem for the Bavarian on St. Peter’s Square. Tens of thousands of believers are expected for the funeral service. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re will celebrate Mass at the altar, Francis will read the sermon.

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According to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni, an estimated 3,700 priests are expected to attend the service. More than 1000 media representatives from over 30 countries have registered for the event. Just as many security forces are supposed to protect them. The language of the Mass will be Latin. Some parts, such as prayers, are recited in other languages. The liturgy has been slightly modified compared to a traditional funeral service for a dead pope – because this time a pope is burying his predecessor.

After the requiem, which should last until around 11 a.m., the wooden coffin with Benedict’s body is to be brought to St. Peter’s Basilica and buried in the crypt in his last resting place. The public is excluded from it.

German delegation on site

The highest representatives of the constitutional bodies travel from Germany. Among others, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) will be there. Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) is traveling from Bavaria with a delegation. The Catholic Church in Germany will be represented, among others, by the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, and the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. Cardinal Reinhard Marx (Munich and Freising), Rudolf Voderholzer (Regensburg), Stefan Oster (Passau) and the former Archbishop of Bamberg, Ludwig Schick, are coming from the Bavarian dioceses.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. – whose real name is Joseph Ratzinger – was laid out in St. Peter’s Basilica from Monday to Wednesday. During this time, 195,000 people came to the basilica to say goodbye. Benedict died at 9:34 a.m. on New Year’s Eve in his Vatican residence Mater Ecclesiae. The convent in the Vatican Gardens was his final residence in the years following his 2013 resignation.

Last words: “Lord, I love you”

The Vatican has not yet provided any information on the exact cause of death. His longtime confidante and private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, told the Vatican’s own media portal Vatican News on Wednesday that his agony should not have lasted longer than 45 minutes. According to him, Benedict’s last words in Italian were “Lord, I love you”. In the days before his death he had had breathing problems. “Now he’s done it,” added Gänswein.

In the general audience on December 28 last year, Pope Francis asked for prayer for Benedict because he was “very ill”. This was the first time he made public that his predecessor, who resigned in 2013, ex-head of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and former Archbishop of Munich and Freising, was doing poorly.

Since his resignation, Benedict has lived in seclusion in the Mater Ecclesiae. In 2022, the past caught up with him again with the publication of the Munich abuse report. The experts accused him of misconduct during his time as archbishop.

The Eckiger Tisch victims’ association called on the delegation from Germany, who was now arriving for the funeral, to side with the victims of abuse in Rome. She should counter the “myth formation about the role of the deceased” in relation to the exposure of child sexual abuse by clerics of the Catholic Church, it said in a statement.

Source: Stern

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