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Pope Francis Praises Benedict XVI Ahead Of His Funeral For His ‘Gentleness’

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On Wednesday, the Vatican provided a bizarre moment when a living pope addressed some of the faithful in one area of the tiny city-state while others were paying tribute to a recently died former pontiff a short distance away. A typical Wednesday occasion, Pope Francis held his public audience in a sizable contemporary hall. Francis began his audience of thousands of people, in which he is wrapping off a catechesis, or religious teaching, by asking them to "unite with those here beside us who are paying their respects to Benedict XVI." Benedict's funeral will be officiated by Francis, 86, who described his predecessor as "a wonderful master of catechesis." In 2013, Benedict, a towering philosopher and hero to traditional Catholics uneasy with Francis' more liberal papacy, became the first pope in 600 years to resign rather than hold office indefinitely. The great doors of St. Peter's Basilica were opening to the public for the third and last day of public viewing of Benedict's body at roughly the same time Francis was speaking and only a few dozen yards away. The previous pope has been laying in state in front of the basilica's main altar on a catafalque, an elevated bier, without any papal accoutrements, as of Tuesday night. When he passed away last Saturday at the age of 95, it appeared that the choice was made to emphasise that they would not be present during the public viewing. Wednesday's viewing is scheduled to end at 7 p.m., and shortly afterward, Benedict's body will be placed in a cypress wood casket. As is typical at papal funerals, he will be accompanied by coins, medals, and a sealed lead tube containing a deed written in Latin summarising his pontificate. Three palliums—ribbons of wool worn around the neck by popes, archbishops, and other bishops with territorial jurisdiction to denote their duty as shepherds of their flocks—will also be put inside. Rome's bishops include its popes. Before the funeral Mass starts, the faithful will recite the rosary near the St. Peter's Basilica's outside steps where the casket will be put. Benedict had specified in his will that he wanted a straightforward funeral. According to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni, the liturgy for the Mass would mostly follow that for a current pope with a few minor adjustments. There will be prayers for both Benedict and Francis, he said, but some prayers that are particular to the passing of the current pope will be skipped. The cypress coffin will be placed into a zinc coffin and sealed, and then both will be placed into another coffin made of wood, as is customary for the burial of a pope, in a private ceremony following the funeral. Pope John Paul II was buried at the same location in the crypts beneath St. Peter's Basilica in 2005 before his body was transported up to a chapel in the basilica in 2011. Benedict will be buried there in accordance with his desires.

(CTN NEWS) – VATICAN CITY – On Wednesday, the Vatican provided a bizarre moment when a living pope addressed some of the faithful in one area of the tiny city-state while others were paying tribute to a recently died former pontiff a short distance away.

On a typical Wednesday, Pope Francis held his public audience in a sizable contemporary hall.

Francis began his audience of thousands of people, in which he wrapped off a catechesis, or religious teaching, by asking them to “unite with those here beside us who are expressing their homage to Benedict XVI.”

Benedict’s funeral will be officiated by Francis, 86, who described his predecessor as “a wonderful master of catechesis.

Pope Francis Praises Benedict XVI Ahead Of His Funeral For His ‘Gentleness 3

In this image released on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, Bishop George Gaenswein, center, and close entourage pray in front of the body of late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lying out in state in the chapel of the monastery ‘Mater Ecclesiae’ where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013.(Vatican Media via AP)

In 2013, Benedict, a towering philosopher and hero to traditional Catholics uneasy with Francis’ more liberal papacy, became the first pope in 600 years to resign rather than hold office indefinitely.

The great doors of St. Peter’s Basilica were opening to the public for the third and last day of public viewing of Benedict’s body at roughly the same time Francis was speaking and only a few dozen yards away.

As of Tuesday night, the previous pope has been laying in state in front of the basilica’s main altar on a catafalque, an elevated bier, without any papal accouterments.

READ ALSO: Former Pope Benedict XVI’ s Body Lay In State In St. Peter’s Basilica

Pope Francis Praises Benedict XVI Ahead Of His Funeral For His ‘Gentleness’

A picture of former Pope Benedict is displayed outside St. Peter’s Basilica, while faithful pay homage to former Pope Benedict as his body lies in state at the Basilica, at the Vatican January 4, 2023. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

When he passed away last Saturday at the age of 95, it appeared that the choice was made to emphasize that they would not be present during the public viewing.

Wednesday’s viewing is scheduled to end at 7 p.m. Shortly afterward, Benedict’s body will be placed in a cypress wood casket.

As is typical at papal funerals, he will be accompanied by coins, medals, and a sealed lead tube containing a deed written in Latin summarising his pontificate.

Three palliums—ribbons of wool worn around the neck by popes, archbishops, and other bishops with territorial jurisdiction to denote their duty as shepherds of their flocks—will also be put inside. Rome’s bishops include its popes.

Pope Francis Praises Benedict XVI Ahead Of His Funeral For His ‘Gentleness’

Chairs are laid outside St. Peter’s Basilica in preparation for former Pope Benedict’s funeral, while the former Pope’s body lies in state at the Basilica, at the Vatican January 4, 2023. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Before the funeral Mass starts, the faithful will recite the rosary near the St. Peter’s Basilica’s outside steps where the casket will be put. Benedict had specified in his will that he wanted a straightforward funeral.

According to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni, the liturgy for the Mass would mostly follow that of a current pope with a few minor adjustments.

He said there would be prayers for both Benedict and Francis, but some prayers that are particular to the passing of the current pope will be skipped.

READ ALSO: Former Pope Benedict XVI Dies at Age 95

Pope Francis Praises Benedict XVI Ahead Of His Funeral For His ‘Gentleness’

A picture of former Pope Benedict is displayed outside St. Peter’s Basilica, while faithful pay homage to former Pope Benedict as his body lies in state at the Basilica, at the Vatican January 4, 2023. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The cypress coffin will be placed into a zinc coffin and sealed, and then both will be placed into another coffin made of wood, as is customary for the burial of a pope, in a private ceremony following the funeral.

John Paul II was buried at the same location in the crypts beneath St. Peter’s Basilica in 2005 before his body was transported up to a chapel in the basilica in 2011.

Benedict will be buried there following his desires.

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