Pope hails ‘beloved’ Benedict as Vatican releases photos of body

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / This handout photograph released on January 1, 2023 by the Vatican press office, the Vatican Media, shows the body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in the chapel of the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican.

Pope Francis hailed the “beloved” Benedict XVI in New Year’s Day services on Sunday as the Vatican released the first pictures of the former pontiff following his death at the age of 95.

Official photos showed the German theologian’s body on a catafalque in the chapel of the monastery in the Vatican grounds where he spent the last decade of his life.

As previous popes, he is dressed in red vestments with a gold-edged mitre on his head, his clasped hands holding a rosary, while behind him is a crucifix, a Christmas tree, candles and a nativity scene.

But he is not wearing the pallium, a vestment reserved for sitting popes.

Benedict, a conservative intellectual who in 2013 became the first pontiff in six centuries to resign, died on Saturday after years of declining health.

His body will be moved on Monday morning to St Peter’s Basilica, where for three days the public will be able to pay their respects before a funeral on Thursday overseen by Pope Francis.

Francis, 86, paid tribute to his predecessor at a New Year’s Eve service on Saturday and again on Sunday.

“Today we entrust the beloved pope emeritus Benedict XVI to the most holy mother (the Virgin Mary), to accompany him in his passage from this world to God,” he said at a mass for peace at St Peter’s Basilica.

Later, delivering his Sunday Angelus prayer in front of thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square, the pope bowed his head in a moment of silence in memory of the late pontiff.

“Let us all join together, with one heart and one soul, in thanking God for the gift of this faithful servant of the Gospel and of the Church,” he said.

The post Pope hails ‘beloved’ Benedict as Vatican releases photos of body appeared first on Vanguard News.

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