Pope Benedict XVI Laid to Rest

Pope Francis presides over funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Square as pallbearers surround the retired pontiff’s cypress casket. | Image Credit: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters via CNN

VATICAN CITY – Around 50,000 people gathered at St. Peter’s Square in the foggy morning of Jan. 5 as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was laid to rest.

Benedict, who passed away on New Year’s Eve at 95 years old, is the first pope to resign in 600 years since Gregory XII in 1415. The 265th pope cited his advanced age as the reason for his retirement in 2013.

From this emanated a first in history, as Pope Francis presided over the funeral of a fellow supreme pontiff.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni earlier said the former Bishop of Rome wished to have a simple, solemn and sober funeral.

“God’s faithful people, gathered here, now accompanies and entrusts to him the life of the one who was their pastor,” Pope Francis said during the homily.

“Like the women at the tomb, we too have come with the fragrance of gratitude and the balm of hope, in order to show him once more the love that is undying. We want to do this with the same wisdom, tenderness and devotion that he bestowed upon us over the years. Together, we want to say: ‘Father, into your hands we commend his spirit.’

“Benedict, faithful friend of the Bridegroom, may your joy be complete as you hear his voice, now and forever,” Benedict’s successor added.

St. Peter’s and St. Peter’s Basilica during the public funeral mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI | Image Credit: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance/Getty Images via CNN

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s coffin was then transported to the Vatican crypt and settled in the first tomb of Pope John Paul II where he was formerly buried before his beatification.

A “Rogito” or Deed summarizing the highlights of Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger’s papacy was placed inside his casket along with his medals, coins and pallium.

Some parts stated in the English-language translation of the Deed, which is written in Latin, according to Vatican News, read:

“Benedict XVI placed the theme of God and faith at the centre of his Pontificate, in a continuous search for the face of the Lord Jesus Christ and helping everyone to know Him, in particular through the publication of the three-volume work Jesus of Nazareth. Endowed with vast and profound biblical and theological knowledge, he had the extraordinary ability to formulate illuminating syntheses on the principal doctrinal and spiritual themes, as well as on crucial issues in the life of the Church and contemporary culture.”

“He successfully promoted dialogue with the Anglicans, with the Jews and with the representatives of other religions; he also resumed contact with the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X.”

“After a brief stay in the residence in Castel Gandolfo, he lived the last years of his life in the Vatican, in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, devoting himself to prayer and meditation.”

“He resolutely fought against crimes committed by clergy against minors or vulnerable people, constantly calling the Church to conversion, prayer, penance and purification.”

According to Benedict’s longtime secretary Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, The Pope Emeritus’ nurse recalled the pontiff’s last comprehensible words as “Lord, I love you,” in Latin.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re-blesses the coffin of former Pope Benedict in The Holy Grotto of the Vatican. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was buried in the traditional triple coffin for supreme pontiffs: a cypress casket sealed in a zinc coffin, and enclosed by an oak case. | Image Credit: Vatican Media/Reuters via CNN

“Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed. Each of us is loved. Each of us is necessary.”
― Pope Benedict XVI

(Image: Pope Benedict XVI waves to pilgrims in his native Germany | Credit: Associated Press via Politico)

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