“Pope Francis Leads Final Farewell to Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican”

Francis presided over the funeral of his predecessor, pope benedict xvi, in st peter’s square at the vatican on the 2nd of april 2021. the funeral was attended by approximately 200,000 people, including official delegations from italy and germany, as well as private attendees such as the king and queen of belgium. a cypress-wood coffin containing the body of benedict was brought out and placed on the steps of the basilica, and was greeted with applause from the faithful.

Funeral service took place in st peter’s square at the vatican. the day before his funeral, mourners queued up to view his body, which was dressed in traditional red and gold vestments, and had a rosary clasped in his hands. during the service, pope francis spoke of the wisdom, tenderness and devotion that benedict had bestowed upon them over the years. as is customary, a lead tube containing an account of benedict’s papacy, as well as other items, including vatican coins minted during his reign, were placed in the coffin. the funeral service concluded with the choir singing “may the angels lead you into paradise” and pope francis placing his hand on the wooden coffin in a final prayer.

Benedict’s death marked the end of an unprecedented era, in which a pope and a former pope lived side by side in the vatican. tributes to benedict’s theological studies have been paid by leading figures, while criticism has been voiced by victims of sexual abuse by catholic clergy. pope benedict xvi “virtually ignored the burning problem of clergy sexual abuse” during his tenure. his more than 25 year papacy was met with mixed feelings from congregants, with some preferring pope francis’ more “relatable” approach. christopher lamb, vatican correspondent of the tablet, stated that francis has a lot of reforms to accomplish, and that it was open to him if he wished to step down, but he would not bet on it. following the service, the coffin was sealed and buried in the crypt under st peter’s basilica.


By Evey Lovelace

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