The latest on the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI’s coffin has been put in its resting place in the grottoes beneath St. Peter’s Basilica.
The wooden lid on the outermost coffin is decorated with a simple metal cross, the emblem of his nearly eight-year-long papacy and an inscription in Latin noting that he had lived 95 years, eight months and 15 days when he died on Dec. 31.
It also records the date his papacy ended when he went into retirement, on Feb. 28, 2013. He was the first pontiff to retire in 600 years.
Benedict’s longtime secretary, German Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, imparted a blessing after the remains were placed into a niche on the floor on Thursday. Also present for a final goodbye were the consecrated laywomen who helped care for him during his retirement in a monastery in the Vatican Gardens.
The Vatican says that the public will be able to visit Benedict’s tomb — but not before next week, to allow for work to be completed.
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More on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: https://apnews.com/hub/pope-benedict-xvi
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says the remains of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have been interred in a tomb in the grottoes under the main floor of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Benedict’s body was put into a space left after the Vatican moved the remains of his predecessor, John Paul II, to the main floor to reflect John Paul’s sainthood.
The brief announcement of the burial by the Vatican’s press office came about 90 minutes after the conclusion of Benedict’s funeral in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday. Pope Francis presided over the service, which was attended by some 50,000 mourners.
Photos released by the Vatican showed the zinc coffin which was to contain the cypress one displayed to the faithful during the funeral. Then the zinc coffin was placed into another wooden one before being put into the tomb.
VATICAN CITY — A Vatican cardinal has sprinkled blessed water on the simple wooden coffin of Benedict XVI and released incense around it, near the end of the funeral in St. Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis, who presided over the funeral of his predecessor in the papacy, sat in a chair near a canopied altar before a crowd of tens of thousands of faithful, who applauded.
At the funeral’s end, the coffin was carried by 12 white-gloved pallbearers back into St. Peter’s Basilica for interment in a crypt below the main floor.
The German theologian, who stunned the world by stepping down in 2013, took the title Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for his retirement in a Vatican monastery. Benedict died on Dec. 31 in the monastery where he lived in the Vatican Gardens.
VATICAN CITY — At the funeral for Pope John Paul II in 2005, cries in Italian of “Santo subito!” (Sainthood immediately) rose from the huge crowd in St. Peter’s Square.
During the funeral on Thursday for his successor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, one of the mourners in the square, Alessandra Aprea, held up a handwritten sign saying just that, “Santo subito” and featuring a hand-drawn heart.
The 56-year-old Aprea, from the town of Meta di Sorrento near Naples, called Benedict a “saint of the faith.” It was Benedict as pontiff who lifted the five-year customary waiting period to start the sainthood process for John Paul.
Then Benedict’s successor, Pope Francis, approved a miracle early in his papacy that cleared the way for John Paul to be declared a saint. Aprea called Francis, Benedict and John Paul three churchmen “sent by God to lead us as we were getting lost. Benedict has been the bridge between John Paul and Francis. We could not have Francis without him. “
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has arrived in a wheelchair in St. Peter’s Square for the funeral for his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Francis, who is 86, has been using a wheelchair or cane in public ceremonies due to a knee problem. Francis wore red vestments as he sat in a white upholstered chair just in front of the altar, where the funeral Mass Thursday morning is being celebrated by a Vatican cardinal.
Then Francis, speaking in Latin, began the ceremony by inviting the faithful to acknowledge their sins. Benedict, who was 95 and in increasingly frail health, died on Dec. 31 in a monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where he had lived since his resignation in 2013.
BERLIN — A group representing German clergy abuse survivors is calling on German officials attending Pope Benedict XVI’s funeral to demand more action from the Vatican on sexual abuse.
The group, Eckiger Tisch, called on German leaders to demand of Pope Francis that he issue a “universal church law” stipulating zero tolerance in dealing with abuse by clergy.
It said in a statement that they also should demand that the Vatican pass all documents and evidence it has relating to abuse by clergy to the judicial authorities of the countries where it took place. It also called for an independent investigation of the church’s handling of such cases in the Vatican archives also must be made possible.
The group urged officials to call on Francis to instruct bishops to cooperate fully with state investigators.
VATICAN CITY — Pallbearers have carried Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s cypress coffin out of St. Peter’s Basilica and rested it before the altar in the piazza outside as red-robed cardinals looked on.
Bells tolled and the crowd applauded as Benedict’s coffin was carried out ahead of the rare requiem Mass for a dead pontiff presided over by a living one.
Heads of state and royalty, clergy from around the world and thousands of faithful flocked to the Vatican, despite Benedict’s requests for simplicity and official efforts to keep the first funeral for an pope emeritus in modern times low-key.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has released the text of a brief written summary of the life and accomplishments of the late pontiff, Benedict XVI, that was tucked into the pope emeritus’ coffin ahead of his funeral.
The document, written in Latin, describes him as combatting “with firmness” during his eight-year-long papacy the abuse perpetrated on children by pedophile priests.
While Benedict was the first pontiff to meet in person with those who were sexually abused, survivor advocates — citing the church’s pattern of protecting higher-ups — described his legacy on that front as one of failure.
Rolled up and tucked into a metal cylinder, the document also quotes in full Benedict’s announcement to cardinals in Latin on Feb. 11, 2013, that he was stepping down at the end of that month because he felt he no longer had they physical or mental strength to lead the Catholic church. He was the first pope in 600 years to resign.
VATICAN CITY — Some 1,000 police and other security forces have been deployed for the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square.
They include sharpshooters on top of palazzi and other high vantage points on the square. A no-fly zone is in effect for the Vatican and the immediate surrounding area on Thursday and lasts until after the last participant leaves.
Thousands of people started streaming toward the square before dawn and faced metal-detector checks.
Some 100,000 people were expected to crowd into the square and spill over into the wide boulevard leading to it from the Tiber River. The previous three days saw some 200,000 people pass smoothly through security checks to enter the basilica to view Benedict’s body, far more than security officials in Rome had predicted.
BERLIN — Germany’s president is leading a delegation of the top-ranking officials from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s homeland to the funeral of the late pontiff.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was expected to be joined by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the speakers of both houses of parliament and the chief justice of the Federal Constitutional Court.
The governor of Benedict’s native Bavaria, Markus Soeder, also is leading a delegation to Rome and at least 10 German bishops are expected. They include the archbishop of Munich, a job Benedict once held himself, and the bishops of Passau and Regensburg — dioceses that include his birthplace and his one-time home.
VATICAN CITY — Pilgrims, tourists and Romans started flocking to St. Peter’s Square before dawn on Thursday, hours before the scheduled start of the mid-morning funeral for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Among them were some admirers wearing traditional Bavarian dress of the late pontiff’s home region in Germany. Plans called for the retired pope’s coffin to be carried from inside St. Peter’s Basilica and into the square ahead of the funeral Mass.
A canopied altar was erected for the ceremony to be presided over by Pope Francis, who succeeded Benedict as pontiff after the German churchman shocked the world by retiring in 2013. Benedict, who was 95, died on Dec. 31 in a Vatican monastery.