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Benedict XVI’s Funeral: Updates from the Vatican

Benedict XVI’s Funeral: Updates from the Vatican

Benedict XVI lying in state in St. Peter’s Basilica (Daniel Ibanez CNA/EWTN) (photo: Daniel Ibanez (CNA/EWTN) / Daniel Ibanez)


Latest news on Benedict XVI and his funeral to be celebrated in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday.

All times: Rome (CET):


January 4, 2023


13.21 — Italy: Flags to Be Flown at Half-Mast

“On the occasion of the solemn funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the Prime Minister’s Office has arranged for national and European flags on public buildings throughout the country to be flown at half-mast on Jan. 5, 2023.”

13.14 — Cardinal Gerhard Müller Pays His Respects

The prefect emeritus of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith — the position Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger held for 24 years under Pope St. John Paul II — has paid his respects to Benedict XVI whose body lies in state in St. Peter’s Basilica. Cardinal Müller, a former Bishop of Regensburg, is the editor of Joseph Ratzinger’s Collected Works.

Images: Alexey Gotovskiy of EWTN:


Cardinal Müller pays respects
Cardinal Gerhard Müller pays his respects, Jan 4, 2023.(Photo: Alexey)


Cardinal Müller - 2
Cardinal Müller pays his respects to Benedict XVI.(Photo: EDWARD PENTIN)


12.54 — Cardinal Zuppi: Benedict Always Close to the Weakest People

“Joseph Ratzinger was a man of great intelligence combined with genuine simplicity. He was always attentive to his interlocutor, always ready for dialogue, and always close to the weakest people. He was a sober person, but not cold. Applause embarrassed him.”

The words of Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), in La Stampa today.

“When I became a cardinal and I went with the others to greet him in his monastery, he was very affectionate, he remembered everything. And when he came to visit the soup kitchen of the Community of Sant’Egidio, I was already a bishop, I was struck by how at ease he was. He ate together with the poor with great affability. It is the most beautiful image of him: a man who is always close even to the weakest people.”

12.45 — Thousands Continue to Pay Respect

The Vatican has said that by noon, 24,000 people had entered St. Peter’s Basilica this morning to say farewell to Benedict XVI. So far, this makes a total of roughly 160,000 mourners will have paid their respects.


12.08 — Pope Francis: Benedict Was a “Great Master of Catechesis”

Pope Francis began his weekly general audience catechesis this morning with these words:

“Before beginning this catechesis, I would like us to join with those here beside us who are paying their respects to Benedict XVI, and to turn my thoughts to him, a great master of catechesis. His acute and gentle thought was not self-referential, but ecclesial, because he always wanted to accompany us in the encounter with Jesus. Jesus, Crucified and Risen, the Living One and the Lord, was the destination to which Pope Benedict led us, taking us by the hand. May he help us rediscover in Christ the joy of believing and the hope of living.”

Addressing German-speaking pilgrims at the audience, Francis recalled “the words of our dear deceased Benedict XVI” who said: “‘He who believes is never alone.’ Whoever has God as Father has many brothers and sisters. In these days we experience in a particular way how much this community of faith is universal and does not end even with death. God bless you.”


12.06 — Ambassador to Represent US

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre has said the US will be represented at the funeral by its ambassador to the Holy See, Joseph Donnelly, in line with the Vatican’s request.


12.05 — No Roman Canon for the Requiem Mass

Liturgists have pointed out that for the first time since the 6th century, the Roman Canon will not be used at the Requiem Mass of a Roman Pontiff. Instead, Eucharistic Prayer III will be used which Pope Benedict reportedly preferred. Also for the first time since probably the 4th Century, the Gospel of the Requiem Mass of the Roman Pontiff will not be solemnly chanted in Latin.


12.04 — Funeral Details

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told reporters yesterday evening that the Eucharistic celebration for the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “roughly follows that reserved for a supreme Pontiff” but with some changes and adaptations.

He said there will be “some original elements, adaptations due to the particularity of the situation, and others missing that belong to the reigning Pontiff.”

He said these include the “final supplication of the diocese of Rome and of the Eastern Churches foreseen in the rites that close the funeral of the Ultima Commendatio (Final Commendation) and the Valedictio (Valediction).”

Bruni added: “The readings will then be different, not those foreseen by the Lectionary for the ritual masses. The First Reading will be ‘From the book of the Prophet Isaiah 29, 16-19,’ the Second Reading ‘From the first letter of St. Peter the Apostle 1, 3-9.’ For the Gospel we have chosen that of Luke 23, 39-46, that of the ‘good thief’ foreseen in the Lectionary.”

Benedict will be buried with bishop’s pallium or palliums and the deed, i.e. the text in which the Pontificate is briefly described. This will be inserted in a metal tube.

On the day of the funeral, the coffin will leave the Vatican Basilica at 8:50 to allow the Rosary of the faithful. After Mass, the coffin will be taken to the Vatican Grottoes for burial, in the tomb that once belonged to John Paul II.

Bruni said a ribbon will be placed around the coffin, along with the seals of the Apostolic Chamber, of the Pontifical Household and of the liturgical celebrations. The coffin will then be placed in a zinc coffin and sealed.

The zinc coffin will be placed in another wooden coffin and then buried. The burial will take place privately.



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