AP

An account of Benedict’s papacy to be sealed in his coffin

Jan 2, 2023, 11:31 AM | Updated: Jan 3, 2023, 10:57 am

Statues of the Saints are silhouetted at sunset on top of the Colonnades of St. Peter's Square at t...

Statues of the Saints are silhouetted at sunset on top of the Colonnades of St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. The Vatican announced that Pope Benedict died on Dec. 31, 2022, aged 95, and that his funeral will be held on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A written account of the history-making papacy of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be placed alongside his body in his coffin for burial, the Vatican said Tuesday in revealing plans for the first funeral of a pontiff to resign in six centuries.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people filed through St. Peter’s Basilica to view his body as it lay in state for a second day.

When the viewing ends Wednesday evening, a one-page account of Benedict’s nearly eight-year papacy will be put into a metal cylinder and placed inside the coffin, along with other items including Vatican coins minted during his reign, said Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.

Benedict, 95, died Saturday after 10 years in an extraordinary papal retirement lived out in a monastery in the Vatican Gardens. Pope Francis will celebrate the funeral Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday.

Although the Vatican has stressed that Benedict wanted “simplicity” to characterize his funeral, Bruni said the liturgy will “in great detail be that of pontifical ceremonies … with some original elements.”

After the public viewing concludes at 7 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Wednesday, “the coffin will be closed, with a special rite,” Bruni said. Benedict’s body will be placed in a coffin hewn from cypress, then put into a zinc coffin that will be sealed in a second wooden casket.

It will be brought out of the basilica and into the square about 40 minutes before Thursday’s funeral, as the crowd gathered for the service recites the rosary for Benedict, who served as pontiff from April 2005 through February 2013.

Vatican security estimated about 65,000 people filed past the bier on Monday and 70,000 had done so on Tuesday. Two influential U.S. churchmen, Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York and Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston, attended Mass in the basilica at an altar just behind the central viewing area on the second day.

Among prominent clergymen coming for the funeral will be Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, his secretary said. Zen, a retired 90-year-old bishop, has been sharply at odds with Francis over the Vatican’s agreement with Chinese authorities on the appointment of bishops. Zen contends the deal betrays pro-Vatican Catholics in China and the clergy who have suffered persecution there.

Elevated to the rank of cardinal by Benedict, Zen had been arrested last year on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces to endanger China’s national security. While not charged with the security-related accusations, he was fined in November after being found guilty of failing to register a now-defunct fund that sought to help people arrested in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was among those at the basilica, whose doors opened before dawn. Like Benedict, Orbán has crusaded for a revival of what European conservatives view as the continent’s Christian roots.

Others paying respects included Miriam Groppelli, an altar server in her parish in Milan, who wasn’t even born when Benedict was pontiff. The 6-year-old had traveled by train with her father, Giuseppe Groppelli, 40, along with her grandparents and older brother and sisters.

“I told her his story, and she was really excited to come to Rome to say goodbye,” the father said. “Benedict has been very important for the Church, his speeches were so clear and beautiful. He leaves a great legacy of knowledge.”

Groppelli offered his take on Benedict’s unusual, nearly-decade-long retirement arrangement that saw him living in the Vatican City monastery where he died. Francis, who was elected in 2013 by fellow cardinals to succeed him, lived nearby.

“I believe there’s no real war or competition within the church and between popes. The church lives and grows every day, also thanks to their words,” he said.

Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, had served for decades at the Vatican as the church’s guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy, was known for his theological knowledge as well as for eloquent speeches.

Since Benedict was no longer head of Vatican City State, in contrast to protocols for funerals of popes who died while still reigning, only two countries — Italy and his native Germany — will send official delegations, according to the Vatican.

Instead, politicians and royalty, especially of predominantly Catholic countries, will attend in a private capacity.

With no need to elect a new pope, cardinals coming from around the world for Benedict’s funeral won’t have to stay in Rome for a conclave to pick the next Church leader. Still, Francis will have ample opportunity to confer with these “princes of the Church,” who serve as his privileged advisers.

The last decade saw an uneasy equilibrium over the presence in the Vatican of a retired pope and a reigning one.

Now, Francis heads the Church without that presence looming over his papacy.

___

Nicole Winfield contributed reporting.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of Pope Benedict XVI at https://apnews.com/hub/pope-benedict-xvi

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

1 day ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

1 day ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

2 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

3 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

4 days ago

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

5 days ago

An account of Benedict’s papacy to be sealed in his coffin