- Alejandro Millon Valencia
- BBC News World
This Thursday at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, an unprecedented event in the long history of the Catholic Church took place: after the death of another pope, a pope was responsible for presiding over his funeral.
Francis, the current leader of the Catholic Church, presided over the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died last Saturday at the age of 95.
In a “sacred but sober” ceremony, Francis again highlighted the work of Benedict XVI before the Catholic Church, as Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni warned.
Thousands of people gathered in the Plaza de San Pedro. Dignitaries such as Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni or Spain’s Queen Emeritus Sofia attended the ceremony.
Born in Germany and with the secular name of Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI was elected pope in May 2005, succeeding the legendary John Paul II. However, he resigned from the post in February 2013. Something that hadn’t happened since the fifteenth century.
For that reason, both the rise of the pope emeritus and his burial this Thursday have no recent precedents.
It was announced earlier this week that Benedicto’s body, which has been in the cremation chamber since Monday, will be buried in a special crypt under the church of San Pedro.
Many experts have pointed out that the funeral protocol for an emeritus pope is similar to that used for bishops emeritus. This is a widely used number YoChurch cAtolic
In fact, even Cardinal Gerhard Müller, president of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith until 2017, explained this in an interview with the Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera”.
“We don’t have two popes, there is only one Francis. He calls himself pope emeritus out of respect, but actually Benedict XVI is a bishop emeritus,” he said.
In his will, Pope Emeritus requested that John Paul II’s body be buried before, after his death in 2005 and until 2011, when it was taken to Saint Stephen’s Basilica inside Saint Peter’s Basilica.
At BBC Mundo, we tell you three reasons why Benedict XVI’s funeral will be different from previous ones.
Typically, funerals for a recently deceased pope are conducted by a person known as a “camerlengo,” who is responsible for leading the Catholic Church in the absence of the acting supreme pontiff.
This time, since Benedict XVI resigned in February 2013, almost ten years before his death, there is actually a pope: Francis.
And he took charge For the first time in historyRecentlyConducting another Pope’s funeral.
There has only been one Pope in the history of the Vatican He voluntarily resigned to the throne of St. Peter, as did Benedict XVI.
This happened in the thirteenth century Pietro Angeleri di MurroneA priest known for his ascetic practices, Murrone was elected pope in an unusual decision, even at the time, as he was not a cardinal.
He thus became Celestine V. However, he soon found that he could no longer rule, and after nearly six months, after signing a papal decree, he resigned his duties and returned to his life as a monk.
However, his death occurred in a very different manner from that of Benedict XVI: Boniface VIII, his successor, feared the fame of holiness already brought by Celestine V during his lifetime, which offered the possibility of a schism in the Church. , ordered his arrest.
Celestino V died in a tower after ten months of imprisonment He was canonized almost a century later.
Of course, there was no funeral for the Pope, nor did Boniface VIII celebrate his funeral as it would have been this Thursday.
In fact, the last formal resignation dates back to 1415, when Gregory XII, amid the so-called Western Schism, resigned from the papacy due to political pressure, only to be succeeded by his successor when he died in 1417. Martin V, was elected.
Many historians have pointed to a fact that may serve as a precursor: in February 1802, Pius VII received the mortal remains of Pius VI, who had died in exile in France two years earlier, and his successor wanted his remains returned to Rome.
Although the Solemnity was celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica, attended by the reigning Pope Pius VII, the truth is that it has already been more than two years. A funeral was held Immediately After his death in Valence, France.
2. There will be no election for the papacy
One of the most important events after the death of a pope is the selection of a successor, which must occur within a very short time.
In the early years of Christianity, as Christianization progressed, Peter’s successors were chosen from among the apostles and church founders.
But little by little, the practice of convention (from the Latin cum clavis, meaning “under” in Spanish) began to prevail, In which the cardinals lock themselves into a position to name a new pope.
The practice has been around for centuries (some conclaves have lasted for years), but the standard protocol is that cardinals meet in the Vatican’s famous Sistine Chapel and, in several sessions, are responsible for electing a new pope.
When the required majority is reached after an election, an object is burned that produces white smoke (called white smoke) that gives the world the news that there is a new papacy.
That process will not be carried out this time, as it was already completed in 2013 when Benedict XVI resigned and George Bergoglio was elected as the new Bishop of Rome.
The truth is that Benedict XVI left, As various experts have pointed out, this paved the way for future popes to resign.
For example, Francisco admitted in 2013 that he signed a resignation letter if his health did not allow him to fulfill his duties.
“I have already signed my resignation. The Secretary of State at the time was Darcisio Bertone. I signed it: ‘If you are disabled for medical reasons Or whatever, here’s my resignation,” Francisco told US television network ABC.
3. Destruction of Fisherman’s Circle
After being elected, a pope is distinguished from other clerics by three features of his vestments: the white cassock, the splint or papal staff, and the so-called fisherman’s ring.
The white cassock has been worn by all recent popes, while the papal ferrule is not exclusive to a single pope – for example, Francis uses some times Used by Paul VI and John Paul II.
However, as each Pope is elected, the Fisherman’s Ring is uniquely designed.
And when the supreme pontiff’s death is confirmed – in a ritual in which he is called by name three times, although the Vatican has not confirmed whether this was done with Benedict XVI – various protocols are followed, among them the destruction of a hammered fisherman’s ring.
Well, this time, with the death of Benedict XVI, this protocol was not granted, because the fisherman’s ring given to him in 2005 was “cancelled” when his resignation took effect on February 28, 2013.
Traditionally this material was destroyed after the death of the Supreme Pontiff. But in the case of Benedict XVI’s ring, they continued to mark it with a cross, as then-spokesman Federico Lombardi pointed out.
However, once he resigned, Benedict XVI was allowed to wear a simple white cassock, different from the one worn by Francis. In reference to the status of Pope Emeritus that Ratzinger wore until his death.
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