More than 60,000 people come to see the body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the first day
On the eve of the first day that the body of Pope Emeritus Benedict will be visible, Italian police expected 30,000 visitors. At the end of the evening, 65,000 people passed through Saint Peter’s Basilica.
At the start of the day, 10 papal gentlemen – lay aides to the pope – carried the body on a wooden stretcher covered in fabric to its resting place in front of the main altar.
POPE EMERITE BENEDICT XVI DIED AT 95, VATICAN SAYS
A Swiss guard – legendary papal guards dating back to 1506 – saluted Benedict’s body as it was transferred from the grounds of the monastery where the 95-year-old pontiff died, to the basilica via a van. Benedict’s longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, followed on foot with a group of consecrated lay people who served in Benedict’s household.
Before the general population was allowed to enter the basilica, prayers were said and the archpriest of the basilica, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, sprinkled the body with holy water. Benoît’s hands were joined, a rosary around his fingers.
On Monday, the Vatican confirmed widely reported burial plans. In accordance with his wishes, Benedict’s tomb will be in the crypt of the grotto below the basilica which was last used by Saint John Paul II, before the saint’s body was moved upstairs into the main basilica before his beatification in 2011, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, was born in Germany before World War II and was a reluctant conscript in the Hitler Youth and the German army before joining the priesthood. Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005 and resigned from the papacy, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years, citing failing health.
CROWDS GATHER AS THE BODY OF POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI LIES IN STATE IN THE VATICAN
“Pope Benedict leaves many legacies; I will cite two. First, he emphasized the organic development of doctrine in his famous formulation “reform in the continuity of the great tradition”. The last conciliar teaching, that of Vatican II , does not contradict the past but reaffirms and develops it.” Professor Christopher J. Malloy, chair of the theology department at the University of Dallas, told Fox News Digital. “Secondly, and in the same vein, he opened the doors wide to the celebration of the traditional Mass in Latin. The youth movement that this generous permission sparked remains strong and grows every day.”
“When Benedict XVI resigned, he drew attention to the crisis in the Church – the abuse scandals were a sign of a deeper struggle, a struggle that Benedict XVI described in his memoirs as “diabolical” rather than ideological.He specifically referred to the Marxist takeover of theological colleges and seminaries in the 1960s as a rejection of Christian hope.Dr Susan Hanssen, professor of history at the University of Dallas, told Fox News Digital. “It was also a theme of his encyclical Spe Salvi: the replacement of the supernatural hope of salvation from sin with purely political and philanthropic activism…essentially transforming the Catholic Church into a secular humanitarian aid group.”
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Benedict XVI will be buried in the Vatican crypt on January 5.