Former Pope Benedict XVI lies in state in St Peter’s Basilica ahead of funeral


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The brother-in-state of former Pope Benedict XVI, who died Saturday at the age of 95, began Monday in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City ahead of his funeral later this week.

Benedict, who was the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to resign his position, rather than hold on to his life ministry, died on December 31 at a monastery in Vatican City, according to a statement from the Vatican. .

He was elected Pope in April 2005, after the death of John Paul II.

The body of the first Pope was taken from the monastery to St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday morning, where it was reserved for the faithful to remain in peace, the Vatican said. Nearly 40,000 people had paid their respects to the former pontiff as of 2 p.m. (8 a.m. ET) Monday, according to Vatican police.

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Italian President Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella were among those to pay their respects as Benedict lay in state.

VATICAN CITY - APRIL 24: Pope Benedict XVI leads his consecration in Saint Peter's Square on April 24, 2005 in Vatican City.  Thousands of pilgrims attended the gathering led by the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.  (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Check out Pope Benedict’s most memorable moments

Mourners wait in line at St. Peter Square told CNN that they wanted to honor the former Pope.

Paul, a student from Scotland said: “We came only to pray, to thank God for the life of Pope Benedict.

“Apart from his theology, which is very important for the Church, I think that all the time he spent in his retirement praying for the Church has been a great testimony to all of us.”

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Benedict’s funeral will be held at 9:30 a.m. local time Thursday at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, according to the head of the press office of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni. Pope Francis will lead the funeral. In keeping with Benedict’s wishes, his funeral will be “simple,” Bruni said.

Francis paid tribute to his predecessor while leading the Angelus on Sunday.

People wait in line to pay their respects to former Pope Benedict in Vatican City on January 2, 2023, before his funeral on Thursday.

Benedict's lie-in-state began Monday at St.  Peter's Basilica.

“In particular, this greeting is Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died yesterday morning. We greet him as a faithful minister,” he said.

Benedict is known as more conservative than his successor, Pope Francis, who has made moves to soften the Vatican’s stance on abortion and homosexuality, as well as to do more about the homosexuality crisis that has engulfed the church in ‘recent years have been clouded. Benedict’s legacy.

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He shocked faithful Catholics and theologians around the world in 2013 when he announced that he would step down as Pope, citing his “advanced age.”

In his eulogy, the outgoing Pope promised to remain “hidden” from the world, but he continued to speak about religion in the years following his retirement. , causing controversy within the Catholic Church.

His death prompted tributes from politicians and religious leaders including US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Dalai Lama.

(FILES) File photo taken on December 29, 2012, in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican shows Pope Benedict XVI greeting him as he arrives at the Taize ecumenical Christian conference during their European meeting .  Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013 announced that he will resign on February 28, a Vatican spokesman told AFP, which would make him the first pope to do so in centuries.  AFP PHOTO / FILES / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo Credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI did everything a Pope has done in 600 years

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