Rituals for Benedict’s passing may very well be template for future ex popes By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pope Benedict XVI blesses the trustworthy as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of his non-public condominium on the Vatican June 24, 2012. REUTERS/Max Rossi/File Picture


By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – When Pope Gregory XII, the final pope to resign earlier than Benedict, died in 1417, the world was not watching.

Gregory had stepped down two years earlier in 1415 and spent his remaining days in digital obscurity a whole lot of miles from Rome. He was quietly buried in Recanati, a city close to the northern Adriatic coast.

Will probably be vastly completely different with the passing of ailing 95-year-old Benedict. The Vatican has painstakingly elaborate rituals for what occurs after a reigning pope dies however no publicly recognized ones for a former pope.

Along with his loss of life, the Vatican can be at the least partially scripting new protocols. They may very well be a template for different popes who select to resign as an alternative of ruling for all times, together with Pope Francis himself sometime, Vatican sources say.

These for a reigning pope embody a 30-page structure known as “Universi Dominici Gregis,” Latin for “The Shepherd of the Lord’s Entire Flock,” and “Ordo Exsequiarum Romani Pontificis,” (Funeral Rites for a Roman Pontiff) a missal of greater than 400 pages that features liturgy, music, and prayers.

These guidelines say a pope’s burial ought to happen between 4 and 6 days after his loss of life as a part of a nine-day interval of mourning generally known as the Novendiale.

Vatican officers, who spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t authorised to debate such issues, stated the script for Benedict’s passing would depend upon two key parts: If Benedict himself left any directions and choices that can be taken by Pope Francis.


Francis has typically praised his predecessor as an amazing pope who had the braveness to resign, so he would most likely like to present Benedict probably the most solemn ceremonial farewell as attainable, even perhaps the entire works, one Vatican official stated.

The final pope to die, John Paul II, was buried on April 8, 2005, six days after he died. His physique first laid in state within the frescoed Clementine Corridor for Vatican employees after which was moved to St. Peter’s Basilica for viewing by the general public.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals queued up for hours to see him, in maybe the most important occasion in Vatican historical past, and monarchs and presidents attended his funeral.

He was first buried in crypts beneath St. Peter’s Basilica and moved in 2011 to a chapel on the primary stage of the biggest church in Christendom.

Many individuals would need to pay their respects to Benedict, who succeeded John Paul in 2005 an resigned in 2013, so a interval of mendacity in state can be doubtless, the sources stated.

In 2020, Benedict’s authorised biographer, Peter Seewald, was quoted as telling Bavarian newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the emeritus pope had ready a non secular testomony stating that he wished to be buried in the identical crypt the place John Paul II was initially laid to relaxation.

Benedict, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, presided at John Paul’s funeral in 2005 in St. Peter’s Sq. and Francis is predicted to preside at Benedict’s.

After the loss of life of a reigning pope, the individual answerable for strange affairs on the Vatican till the election of a brand new pope is the camerlengo, or chamberlain.

The place is at present held by Irish-American Cardinal Kevin Farrell however as a result of the Church has a pope and there can be no conclave to elect one other, Farrell would don’t have any position.

Many of the work, together with the scripting of an unprecedented occasion in Vatican historical past, will fall to Monsignor Diego Ravelli, the papal grasp of ceremonies.

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