Again a long line in front of St Peters Basilica

Again a long line in front of St. Peter’s Basilica for Benedict XVI.

03/01/2023 10:21 am (act. 03/01/2023 10:21 am)

People want Benedict XVI.  pay last respects

People want Benedict XVI. pay their last respects ©APA/AFP

Also on the second day of Benedict XVI’s farewell. A long line of people formed outside the entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday to pay their last respects to the former head of the Catholic Church. Many pilgrims came from different parts of Italy and different countries. The retired Pope is in bed until Wednesday. The ex-pope’s farewell is accompanied by a large presence of security.

Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was among the first visitors on Tuesday morning. The politician was received by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, private secretary of Benedict XVI. Benedict XVI died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 95. On New Year’s Day, the deceased was laid for the first time in the chapel of the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican before the body was taken to St. Peter’s Basilica in a private ceremony on Monday morning. There, the corpse, dressed in a red and gold tunic and a miter with gold edges, was placed on a catafalque in front of the high altar, with Swiss guards standing guard over it.

On the first day of the project, the Vatican recorded 65,000 visitors to St. Peter’s Basilica. The funeral, for which more than 70,000 faithful are expected, will be celebrated by Pope Francis. The Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, will attend the funeral services along with the Archbishop of Salzburg, Franz Lackner, as President of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference.

In an interview with the Milan daily “Corriere della Sera” (Tuesday edition), Schönborn explained that Joseph Ratzinger was a “doctor of the Church, a father of the Church” who could be compared to St. Augustine. “I had the joy of being his student along with many others, and he was not only a highly talented teacher with the gift of clarity, but a true master, both in written texts and in the living word. I have learned so much from him, and I think his ability to teach, to transmit the faith and to reflect on the faith almost makes him a father of the Church”, says Schönborn.

“Ratzinger will be one of the great figures to be remembered for centuries to come. We will remember Joseph Ratzinger in the 20th century as much as we remember John Henry Newman in the 19th century, or Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure of Bagnoregio in the 13th century”, explained the Viennese cardinal .

“Ratzinger’s legacy is certainly not exhausted, in a few decades the richness of his theological work will be better understood. Among the many themes I am thinking of his work on Jesus of Nazareth: he is the first pope in history, the one who theologically sound book on Jesus himself, and it is important that he did this in dialogue with Jewish thought, starting with Jacob Neusner,” explained Schönborn.