The body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on display at the Vatican

VATICAN CITY — The body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is on display as thousands of people lined up before dawn on Monday to pay their respects.

The doors of St. Peter’s Basilica opened to the public just after 9 a.m. (0800 GMT; 0300 EST) when the first worshipers entered.

Public viewing lasts 10 a.m. on Mondays in St. Peter’s Basilica. Twelve hours of viewing are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday before the funeral on Thursday morning, which will be presided over by Pope Francis, in Saint Peter’s Square.

The frail 95-year-old Benedict died Saturday morning in the Vatican monastery where he had lived since his retirement in 2013, when he became the first pontiff to step down in 600 years.

Security officials expected at least 25,000 people to pass the body on the first day of the visit.


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