Funeral of Benedict XVI: Pope Francis paid a final tribute to his predecessor before 50,000 people in Rome

Steph Deschamps / January 5, 2023

The coffin of Benedict XVI, who died at the age of 95, was carried Thursday morningafter a funeral presided over by Pope Francis inside St. Peter's Basilica for burial.
50,000 faithful were present to pay their last respects.
The sober wooden coffin of Joseph Ratzinger, which left St. Peter's Square to the applause of the faithful, is to be buried in the crypt where the German pontiff's predecessor, John Paul II, rested until his beatification in 2011, when his coffin was moved.
Pope Francis paid a final tribute to his predecessor on Thursday. "Benedict [...] may your joy be perfect in hearing the voice (of God, ed.), definitively and forever!" the pope launched during his homily delivered from the altar overlooking the gigantic plaza in front of the basilica.
Surrounded by five cardinals, Francis, who arrived in a wheelchair, faced the simple wooden coffin containing the remains of Joseph Ratzinger, on which was placed a copy of the Gospels. The ceremony, punctuated by prayers and songs, began at 08:30 and lasted two hours.
The mass, of Latin rite and in several languages, was concelebrated by more than 4000 cardinals, bishops and priests, but its exceptional character lies in the presence of a pope at the funeral of his predecessor, a first in the recent history of the Church.
Many personalities attended the funeral, including the Belgian sovereigns. 
Earlier in the day, thousands of people filled St. Peter's Square, which was shrouded in thick fog, to attend the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The faithful, including many priests and nuns, lined up patiently to pass through the security gates and enter the square surrounded by Bernini's colonnade. Some came with German and Bavarian flags, but also Argentinean ones. German faithful hold up a large banner saying "Thank you Benedict! »
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