Death of Benedict XVI: the former pope buried in the Vatican after a final tribute from Francis

Joseph Ratzinger has entered his final resting place. The coffin of Benedict XVI, who died at the age of 95, was buried inside St. Peter’s Basilica on Thursday 5 January, following a funeral presided over by his successor. Pope Francis paid him a final tribute in the presence of 50 000 faithful with which heads of state and crowned heads mingled.

“Benedict (…) may your joy be perfect when you hear the voice [de Dieu]permanently and forever!” launched the pope, during his homily. Surrounded by cardinals, Francis, who arrived in a wheelchair, faced the simple wooden coffin containing the remains of Benedict XVI, on which had been placed a copy of the Gospels. Standing and leaning on a cane, he made a sign of the cross in front of the coffin, touched it briefly and then bowed his head in the form of a last salute.

The mass, of the Latin rite and in several languages, was concelebrated by more than 4 000 cardinals, bishops and priests. Its exceptional character resided in the presence of a pope at the funeral of his predecessor, a first in the recent history of the Church. From Monday to Wednesday, nearly 200 000 faithful had already come to Saint Peter’s Basilica to pray before the remains of the German theologian, whose renunciation in 2013 surprised the whole world.

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