Funeral for Benedict XVI to end the era of the ‘two popes’

Funeral for Benedict XVI to end the era of the 'two popes'
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VATICAN CITY — One of the most unusual chapters in modern Catholic history began on March 13, 2013, when the newly elected Pope Francis, appearing in the lodge of St. Peter’s Basilica, offered a prayer for his still living predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

It culminated on Saturday, almost a decade later, when benedict died in a monastery inside the Vatican: Francis was the first to run to see the body, a spokesman for the Holy See told the Washington Post.

But the delicate dance between the two popes, one current and one former, is not over yet, at least not completely. That’s because Francisco, in the final act of an apparently warm but often uncomfortable relationship, will be the one to frame the period of remembrance and mourning.

Thursday will preside benedict’s funeral.

What will Pope Benedict’s funeral be like? Pope Francis will preside.

This precedent-setting week will be watched to see how fully Benedict is given the passages that would normally be given to a sitting pope. Early indications suggest that his funeral will have less pomp than the 2005 mass ceremony for John Paul II. In this case, the Vatican said only two formal delegations, from Italy and Benedict XVI’s native Germany, will attend. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the funeral would be “simple.”

Also crucial is how Francis, for the first time in his pontificate, the only white-robed Vatican figure, will speak about his predecessor. So far, in Saturday night and Sunday prayers, he has referred to Benedict’s death only in passing, calling him “noble” and “kind.” Otherwise, Francis proceeded as normal with the Vatican’s New Year’s festivities. On Saturday, in a wheelchair, he waved to adoring supporters as they pushed him through St. Peter’s Square.

Marco Politi, a biographer of Francis, predicted that the pope would handle this week with “diplomacy” and look for ways to show common ground between himself and Benedict.

“This is a way to neutralize the enemies of your papacy,” Politi said.

How Benedict’s death could reshape the Catholic Church

Politi said that inside the church, “there is a sense of relief, because this silent contrast between two figures and two visions of the church is now over.”

Benedict broke centuries of tradition in which popes served until death, and the need to coexist with his predecessor has been a defining aspect of Francis’ tenure, coinciding with a period of increasing polarization within the faith.

For traditionalists, Benedict became a symbol of opposition. Conservative church figures would seek audiences with him. Far-right politicians would quote him, or John Paul II, instead of Francis.

The intrigue over their relationship has been so intense that it even inspired a movie.”the two popes”, which envisioned the two verbally arguing, and ultimately enjoying each other, in a period before Benedict’s abdication.

In real life, Benedict showed deference to Francis, saying there was only one authority figure at the top. Francis, in turn, regularly touted Benedict’s spirit and “intellectual insight”. After the ceremonies to swear in the new cardinals, Francis used to take them to greet Benedict, who lived in a monastery hidden behind St. Peter’s Basilica. Basilica of Saint Peter.

What ‘The Two Popes’ misses about the relationship between Francis and Benedict

But it was sometimes treacherous to have a retired pope, particularly one who lived so close to Francis who chose to continue to wear white. Benedict did not fully follow through on his promise to remain “hidden from the world,” causing a riot when he meddled in church affairs.

In 2019, he wrote a long letter about sexual abuselinking some of the church’s problems to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, a diagnosis that conflicts with Francis’ own theories of root causes.

Former Pope Benedict contradicts Pope Francis in an unusual intervention on sexual abuse

A year later, Benedict offered a defense of clerical celibacy, just as Francis was weighing a move to allow the ordination of married men in the Amazon to make up for the dire shortage of priests. Benedict later said that there had been a “misunderstood” with the co-author of the book where his statements had appeared. Some church observers speculated that the former pope was at risk of being manipulated as he became more fragile.

Often, the positions of Benedict and Francisco were not so far apart; both have defended the church’s teaching on sexuality, for example. But their philosophical differences were so pronounced that they seemed to represent opposite poles. Benedict, as pope, was focused on upholding the faith’s timeless teachings, even if it meant a smaller church of ardent believers. Francis, by contrast, has traveled to countries with little Catholic presence, emphasized dialogue with Islam and addressed issues such as climate change and migration, areas that traditionalists say have little to do with faith.

Pope Benedict, in retired seclusion, appears in opposition to Pope Francis

While popes are always compared to their predecessors, it was a complete novelty to have two living men with experience as religion’s highest moral and spiritual authority.

Even in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday, in the hours after Benedict’s death, people were talking about him in contrast to Francis.

Andrea Versace, 23, visiting Rome from the northern Veneto region, described Benedict as “cold and distant” in contrast to Francis, whom she sees as “more humble.”

Benedict’s death will have ripple effects for Francis. Some church observers hope he will draw up formal rules guiding the retirement of any future pontiff, which could require him to live outside the Vatican and go back to using his given name. Such rules would have been difficult to create when Pope Benedict was still alive.

Francis, in previous interviews, has said he sees Benedict’s resignation as a precedent, something he too would consider doing if his health fails. for now, Francis has knee pain and it is difficult for him to walk. But she keeps a tight schedule.

Is Pope Francis nearing the end of his pontificate?

Francis, for his part, has said he would be known as Bishop Emeritus of Rome if he resigned. He said that he would “certainly not” stay in the Vatican.

In an interview last year with two Mexican journalists, Francis said that his first experience with a current and former pope “went quite well” because Benedict XVI was “a holy and discreet man, and he knew how to do it well. ”

“But for the future,” Francis said, “it’s appropriate to explain things better.”

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