The state of affairs for former Pope Benedict XVI, who died Saturday at the age of 95, began Monday in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican ahead of his funeral later this week.
Benedict, the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to resign without remaining in office for life, died on Dec. 31 in a Vatican monastery, according to a Vatican statement.
He was elected Pope in April 2005 after the death of John Paul II.
The body of the former pope was moved from the monastery to St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday morning, where it was laid to rest for the faithful, the Vatican said.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella were among those paying their respects as Benedict lay in state.
See some of Pope Benedict’s most memorable moments
Mourners waiting in line in St. Peter’s Square told CNN they wanted to pay their respects to the former Pope.
Paul, a student from Scotland, said: “We came here only to pray and thank God for the life of Pope Benedict.
“In addition to his theology, which is very important to the church, I think all the time he spent in retirement praying for the church was a tremendous testimony to all of us.”
Benedict’s funeral will take place at 9:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. ET) on Thursday in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Holy See press director Matteo Bruni said. The funeral will be held under the direction of Pope Francis. According to Benedict’s wishes, his funeral will be “simple,” Bruni said.
Francis bowed to his predecessor during the Angelus prayer on Sunday.
“Specifically, this greeting is dedicated to Pope Benedict XVI, who passed away yesterday morning. We salute him as a faithful servant of the gospel,” he said.
Benedict is known to be more conservative than Pope Francis, who has taken steps to soften the Vatican’s stance on abortion and homosexuality, as well as to deal with the sexual abuse crisis that has gripped the church in recent years. Benedict’s legacy.
He stunned Catholics and religious experts around the world when he announced his plans to step down as pope in 2013.
In his farewell address, the outgoing pope vowed to remain “hidden” from the world, but he has continued to speak out on religious matters in the years since his retirement, contributing to tensions within the Catholic Church.
His death prompted tributes from political and religious leaders, including US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Dalai Lama.
Pope Benedict XVI has done something no other pope has done in 600 years