In modern times, the offer of a pope to preside over the funeral of his predecessor is considered an unprecedented event. The late Pope Benedict also set an example by abdicating for the first time in six centuries.
Pope Benedict XVI, the former head of the Catholic Church, was laid to rest on Thursday, January 5, after an unprecedented funeral service led by his successor, Pope Francis.
Pope Francis presided over the funeral mass in St. Peter’s Square, after which his German-born predecessor was buried in the papal mausoleum under St. Peter’s Basilica.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died in Rome on Saturday, December 31 at the age of 95. When former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Benedict was elected pope in 2005, he became the first German pope in centuries.
Pope Benedict, who led the Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013, announced his resignation citing ill health. He was the first pope to abdicate since Pope Gregory in 1415, and the first time a pope had abdicated in six centuries.
However, it was during his eight-year leadership that such global sex abuse scandals came to light that shook the Catholic Church. Due to these incidents, his period was affected a lot.
The former pope’s body had been kept in state for three days since his death, and when it was opened for a final viewing by devotees on Monday, a large crowd had already gathered outside the basilica.
Thousands of people were allowed to visit and pay their respects for several hours. On Wednesday evening, his body was moved to a cypress coffin, to prepare it for last rites.
According to reports, his last rites were attended by around 100,000 people, including many heads of state, many Europeans belonging to the royal family and 3,700 priests.
Pope Benedict was buried in the former tomb of John Paul II, the head of the Catholic Church before him.
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