Faithful mourn Benedict XVI at funeral

Many mourners hailed from Benedict’s native Bavaria and donned traditional dress, including boiled wool coats to guard against the morning chill.

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World News

January 5, 2023 - 3:30 PM

Pope Francis attends the funeral mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as pallbearers carry the coffin at the end of the funeral mass at St. Peter's Square on January 5, 2023, in Vatican City, Vatican. (Antonio Masiello/Getty Images/TNS)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis joined tens of thousands of faithful in bidding farewell to Benedict XVI at a rare requiem Mass Thursday for a dead pope presided over by a living one, ending an unprecedented decade for the Catholic Church that was triggered by the German theologian’s decision to retire.

Bells tolled and the crowd applauded as pallbearers emerged from a fog-shrouded St. Peter’s Basilica and placed Benedict’s simple cypress coffin before the altar in the square outside. Wearing the crimson vestments typical of papal funerals, Francis opened the service with a prayer and closed it by solemnly blessing the casket and bowing his head.

In between, Francis made only fleeting reference to Benedict in his homily, offering a meditation on Christ instead of a eulogy of his predecessor’s legacy before the casket was sealed and entombed in the basilica grotto.

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