Pope's tribute to “beloved” Benedict XVI in front of the faithful in Saint Peter's Square

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Homage of the pope to the “ beloved » Benedict XVI before the faithful in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis will celebrate the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday morning in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis on Sunday saluted the memory of “beloved” Benedict XVI, his predecessor who died on Saturday at the age of 95 and whose funeral he will celebrate Thursday morning in St. Peter's Square, where thousands of people have already flocked. faithful.

Today we entrust the beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to the Most Holy Mother [the Virgin Mary] to accompany him from this world to God , he first said during a mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

We all unite […] to give thanks to God for the gift of this faithful servant of the Gospel and of the Church, then affirmed the Argentine sovereign pontiff at midday, at the end of the day. occasion of the weekly Angelus prayer. He spoke from the window of the Apostolic Palace in front of the faithful gathered on the esplanade enclosed by Bernini's famous colonnade. He then observed a moment of silence.

I respect him a lot: he was a great man, simple and humble, told AFP Paola Filippa, a 58-year-old Italian teacher present in the crowd.

Pope Benedict XVI (archives).

Brilliant theologian and fervent guardian of dogma , Benedict XVI, who had announced that he would resign in 2013 because of his declining strength, died peacefully in the monastery where he had retired, in the heart of the Vatican gardens.

The funeral celebrated by Francis for his predecessor, head of the Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013, will be an unprecedented event in the two thousand year history of the Catholic Church.

< p class="e-p">We plan to come for this funeral, for which a lot of people will come from abroad, told AFP Luca Scotti, a 58-year-old Roman who was present on Sunday in Saint-Pierre square. .

The public will already be able to meditate from Monday morning in front of the body of Joseph Ratzinger, the first German pope in modern history, which will be exhibited in Saint Peter's Basilica before being buried in a crypt after his death. funeral.

From United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to French Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin, tributes from world leaders poured in on Saturday.

He will be remembered as a noted theologian, guided by his principles and his faith, and whose entire life was dedicated to his devotion to the Church, US President Joe Biden said.

In his native village in Germany, Marktl, the flag of the town hall was lowered, as on all public buildings in Bavaria.

His death puts an end to the unusual cohabitation of two men in white: on one side the German Joseph Ratzinger, a brilliant theologian not very comfortable with crowds, on the other the #x27;Argentinian Jorge Bergoglio, a Jesuit endowed with an incisive word who wanted to put the poor and migrants at the center of the Church's mission.

After his eight years of a pontificate marked by multiple crises, Benedict XVI was caught up in early 2022 by the drama of pedocrime in the Church. Questioned by a report in Germany on his handling of sexual violence when he was Archbishop of Munich, he broke his silence to ask for forgiveness, but assured that he had never covered up a child criminal.


With his renunciation, unprecedented in six centuries, Benedict XVI opened the way for his successors whose strength would come to decline.

Francis, aged 86 years old and suffering from knee pain, left the possibility open himself. He revealed in December that he had already signed a letter of resignation in case his health prevented him from assuming his role.

Born in 1927, Joseph Ratzinger taught theology for 25 years in Germany before being appointed Archbishop of Munich.

He later became the strict guardian of Church dogma for another quarter of a century in Rome at the head of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, then pope for eight years, succeeding John Paul II.

Last pope to have participated in the Second Vatican Council, he however defended a conservative line at the head of the Church, in particular on abortion, homosexuality or sexual abuse. ;euthanasia.

His statements were sometimes shocking, such as on Islam or the use of condoms against HIV.

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