Crowds gather as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s body lies in state at Vatican


Members of the public waited for hours to pay their respects to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as his body lies in state in St. Peter’s Basilica.

As daylight broke, 10 white-gloved Papal Gentlemen — lay assistants to pontiffs and papal households — carried the body on a cloth-covered wooden stretcher up the center aisle of the mammoth basilica to its resting place in front of the main altar under Bernini’s towering bronze canopy.

According to The Associated Press, a Swiss Guard saluted as the body was brought in via a side door after Benedict’s remains, placed in a van, had been transferred from the chapel of the monastery grounds where the late pontiff died at the age of 95 on Saturday morning.

People wait in a line to enter Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican where late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is being laid in state at The Vatican, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023.
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Thousands of people braved the damp weather to view Benedict’s body. The line of people snaked around St. Peter’s Square. 

Around 25,000 people are expected to pass by the body on the first day of viewing.

POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI DEAD AT 95, VATICAN SAYS

Public viewing lasts for 10 hours on Monday in St. Peter’s Basilica. Twelve hours of viewing are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday before Thursday morning’s funeral, which will be led by Pope Francis, at St. Peter’s Square.

FILE- Pope Francis greets Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during a mass to create 20 new cardinals during a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Feb. 14, 2015.

FILE- Pope Francis greets Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during a mass to create 20 new cardinals during a ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Feb. 14, 2015.
(Reuters/Tony Gentile/File Photo)

The service will be open to the public and the Vatican has provided contacts for Catholics worldwide wishing to concelebrate the mass remotely.

POPE BENEDICT’S VISION OF CATHOLICISM, VATICAN II, AND THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH ENDURE THROUGH HIS TEACHINGS

Benedict was elected to the papacy in 2005. He later claimed that he prayed he would not be chosen throughout the conclave but was forced to accept what he believed was God calling him to greater service

In February 2013, at 85 years old, Benedict became the first pope in 600 years to resign from his post. 

People look at the body of late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI laid out in state inside St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023.

People look at the body of late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI laid out in state inside St. Peter’s Basilica at The Vatican, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023.
(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

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“I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise [of the pontificate],” he said at that time. 

On June 29, 2021, Benedict celebrated the Platinum Jubilee — 70th anniversary — of his ordination into the priesthood. 

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.



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