Earrings combine fashion with function


Pope Francis bids Benedict a final farewell in front of thousands

Pope Francis meets his predecessor, XVI, in front of tens of thousands of mourners in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday. Cardinals, dignitaries, and thousands of priests and nuns in red from around the world gathered to bid farewell to the German theologian who stunned the Catholic church in 2013 as the first pope to resign in six centuries. For the first time in modern history, the papal burial was led by Francis, an incumbent pope who delivered the sermon in Italian as part of a Latin liturgical service. “Benedict… may your joy be full when you hear His (God’s) voice now and forever!” In memory of his predecessor, who died Saturday at the age of 95, the Pope said: At the end of the service, Francis made the sign of the cross on Benedict’s simple cypress-wood coffin and bowed his head before the bearers carried him to St. Peter’s Basilica. Benedict died in World War II before he was moved to be consecrated in 2011. He will be buried in a tomb in the Vatican Caves, below the basilica where John Paul’s body lay. The Polish priest was canonized in 2014. According to the Vatican, it was tied with a red ribbon and placed in a zinc coffin, then sealed and placed in a wooden coffin. Coins and medals minted during his pontificate and an inscribed text describing his will sealed in a metal cylinder were placed next to his body. – Paying homage – Joseph Ratzinger, the former pope hasn’t been head of state for ten years, but world leaders were in attendance, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. 90-year-old Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen also attended the meeting after being granted a travel permit by the court after he was arrested under the city’s national security law last year. According to police, around 50,000 people were in St Peter’s Square for the funeral, many of whom had lined up to say goodbye to the dense fog since morning. “Benedict is a bit like my father, so I had to pay homage to him,” said Cristina Grisanti, 59, from Milan, and praised the former pope’s “purity, frankness and meekness”. An estimated 195,000 people paid their respects earlier in the week as the body lay in the basilica. On Thursday, at the conclusion of the funeral, church bells rang in Benedict’s hometown of Germany, among the many German crowds, some in lead stockings. “We owe him a lot. We want to show that we stand behind him,” said Benedikt Rothweiler, 34, who came from Aachen with his family. “He always accepted everything as Allah wanted. This is a good example for us humans.” – Two popes – Benedict was a brilliant theologian, but a divisive figure who alienated many Catholics with his staunch defense of conservative doctrine on issues like abortion. His eight years as head of the worldwide Catholic Church have been marked by many crises, from internal conflicts within the Vatican to the global scandal over the sexual abuse and cover-up of clergy. When Benedict resigned, he retired to a quiet life in a convent in the Vatican gardens, saying he no longer had the “strength of mind and body” necessary for the task. His death put an end to the unprecedented situation of two “men in white” – he and Francis – living in the tiny city-state. He and Francis, an Argentine Jesuit, were said to get on well, but Benedict’s later interventions meant that he remained the standard-bearer for conservative Catholics who disliked his successor’s more liberal stance. The last time a pope presided over the funeral of his predecessor was in 1802, when Pius VII led the ceremony for Pius VI. Pius VI died in exile as a prisoner of France in 1799 and was buried in Valence. His successor’s remains were exhumed and brought back for a papal burial at St Peter’s. – European royalty – Beyond St. Peter’s, most of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics were expected to follow the funeral processions on television and radio. In the predominantly Catholic Philippines, churches, including Malolos Cathedral near the capital, Manila, held commemorations for the former pastor. “It’s an inexplicable feeling to witness this,” said Cherry Castro, 67. Portugal declared national mourning on Thursday, while in Italy flags were lowered at half-mast on public buildings. Only official delegations were from Germany and Italy. But other dignitaries personally attended, including Belgian and Spanish royalty, the presidents of Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Hungary, Slovenia and Togo, and the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Gabon and Slovakia. bur-ar/ams/rox

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