A reference to Pope Benedict sealing the coffin

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VATICAN CITY – A written account of the history-making papacy of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be placed next to his body in his coffin for burial, the Vatican said on Tuesday in unveiling plans for the first funeral of a retired pontiff. off in six centuries.

At the same time, tens of thousands of people entered through the Basilica of St. Peter’s to view his body as it lay in state for a second day.

When the apparition ends on Wednesday night, a one-page account of Benedict’s nearly eight years will be placed in a metal cylinder and placed inside the casket, along with other items including Vatican medals. which was struck during his reign, said Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.

Benedict, 95, died on Saturday after 10 years in an extraordinary papal retirement living outdoors 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 confirmed that Benedict wanted “simplicity” to celebrate his funeral, Bruni said the liturgy will be “exactly like the pontifical sermons … with some original elements.”

After the public viewing ends at 7pm (1800 GMT) on Wednesday, “the coffin will be closed, with a special ceremony,” Bruni said. Benedict’s body will be placed in a coffin lined with cypress, then placed in a zinc coffin that will be sealed in another wooden box.

He will be taken out of the basilica and into the square about 40 minutes before the funeral on Thursday, as the crowd gathered for the service recites the rosary for Benedict, who was pontiff from April 2005 through February 2013.

Vatican security estimated that around 65,000 people filed past the swan on Monday and 70,000 had done so on Tuesday. Two influential US 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 viewing area on the second day.

Among the famous clergy who will come for the funeral will be Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, said his secretary. Zen, a 90-year-old retired bishop, has been strongly opposed to Francis regarding the Vatican’s agreement with Chinese authorities regarding the appointment of bishops. Zen claims that the agreement betrays Catholics who oppose the Vatican in China and the clergy who suffered persecution there.

Elevated to the rank of cardinal by Benedict, Zen was arrested last year on suspicion of collaborating with foreign forces to endanger China’s national security. Although he was not charged with security-related charges, he was fined in November after being found guilty of failing to register a now-defunct asset that was trying to the arrests in anti-democracy protests in Hong Kong were helped.

The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, was among those at the basilica, which opened its doors before dawn. Like Benedict, Orbán has waged a war to revive what European conservatives see as the continent’s Christian roots.

Among others who paid their respects was Miriam Groppelli, an altar server in her parish in Milan, who was not 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 excited to come to Rome to say goodbye,” said the father. “Benedict has been very important to the Church, his speeches were so clear and so beautiful. He leaves a great legacy of knowledge.”

Groppelli offered his opinion on Benedict’s unusual, nearly ten-year retirement arrangement that saw him live in the Vatican City monastery where he died. Francis, who was elected in 2013 by other relatives to succeed him, lived nearby.

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

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

Since Benedict was no longer the head of the Vatican City State, in contrast to protocols for the funerals of popes who died while still ruling, only two countries – Italy and their native Germany – will send bodies -official representation, according to the Vatican.

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

No need to elect a new pope, cardinals coming from all over the world for Benedict’s funeral will not have to stay in Rome for a conclave to choose the next Church leader. However, Francis will have plenty of opportunities to speak to the “princes of the Church,” who are his privileged advisers.

In the last decade we have seen an unfair balance of the presence of a retired pope and a reigning one in the Vatican.

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

Nicole Winfield contributed to the statement.

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

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