Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away this Saturday at the age of 95. Pope Francis paid a heartfelt homage to him. During the New Year’s Eve prayers held in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis said, “With emotion we remember such a magnificent and generous person.”

The Pope noted in his sermon this past Saturday during the celebration of First Vespers and the Te Deum of Thanksgiving, “Speaking of compassion, at this point, thoughts wander naturally to the beloved pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who departed us this morning.

This past Saturday in the early hours of Argentina, the emeritus pontiff passed away in the Vatican monastery where he had been living since his resignation.

Hundreds of people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square just before 7 a.m. in Argentina to remember Joseph Ratzinger, a sophisticated ultra-conservative theologian who chose the name Benedict XVI after being named head of the Catholic Church in 2005. The bells of Saint Peter’s Basilica rang as they remembered Ratzinger.

On January 5 in Saint Peter’s Square, the reigning Pope, Francisco, would preside over the funeral of a predecessor who no longer had duties for the first time in the millennia-long history of the organization.

The Vatican spokesman stated that the burial would be conducted “in the greatest simplicity” in accordance with the late pope’s wishes.

The casket of the emeritus pontiff will be interred in the Vatican Grottoes, where they house the tombs of the popes, following the burial, which will be conducted in Saint Peter’s Square and to which all the faithful will be able to attend without the need for a ticket, the Vatican said in a statement.

The extraordinary coexistence of Ratzinger and Bergoglio, a Jesuit who desired a papacy devoted to the underprivileged and immigrants, ends with the passing of Benedict XVI.

Francis had requested prayer on Wednesday during the public audience for the well-being of his predecessor, who was “extremely unwell” and to whom he had traveled.

“We recall your noble and kind persona with emotion. And we are so filled with gratitude in our hearts—gratefulness to God for giving it to the Church and to the world; gratitude to him for all that he has accomplished; and, most of all, gratitude for his example of faith and prayer, particularly in these last years of his retired life, said Francis, who was chosen as Pope on March 13, 2013, during the conclave that was convened in response to Ratzinger’s resignation.

This past Saturday, the Pope continued, “Only God understands the importance and strength of his intercession, of his sacrifices offered for the sake of the Church.

According to the director of the Holy See Press Office today, Francis will also preside over the burial that will mark the final farewell to the emeritus pontiff on Thursday, January 5, at 9:30 a.m. in Rome. Ratzinger desired that the event be conducted “in the sign of simplicity.”

During the roughly ten years that Ratzinger resided within the Vatican as emeritus while Francis was pope, he and his predecessor had a strong relationship.

Less than two weeks prior, Francisco had made mention of his friendship with Benedict.

I frequently see him, and each time I do, his transparent glance edifies me. He is in a good mood, clear-headed, and quite lively. He speaks gently, yet the dialogue goes on. I respect his intellect. He is excellent. He is an angel. He is a man of high spiritual life,” he recalled in comments to the Spanish newspaper ABC in mid-December.

The Pope used this Saturday’s mass as an occasion to criticize consumerist individualism, saying that “the ravages of consumerist individualism are visible for all to see.”

The Pope later claimed that “individualistic and consumerist society tends to be aggressive, because the others are competitors with whom to compete,” lamenting the “more significant injury it is that others, the people around us, are viewed as hurdles to our peace of mind, at our convenience.”

As the leader of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition, Ratzinger, the first German pope of the modern period, succeeded the charismatic John Paul II in 2005.

His intention to unite the 1.2 billion Catholic faithful against any concessions on matters like clerical celibacy, birth control, or the acceptance of divorcees or homosexuals ran afoul of a church engulfed in scandals and intrigues during his eight-year pontificate.

He pledged to keep an absolute retirement after leaving, without following Francisco.

However, observers claim that he participated, sometimes unintentionally, in the activities of the ultra-conservative groups who oppose the Argentine pontiff’s social reforms.

He was also accused of covering up four cases of child sex abuse between 1977 and 1981 while serving as the Archbishop of Munich, which troubled him in the early months of 2022.

He finally spoke up in response to pressure from a German report that accused him of incompetence in the way he handled these pedophilia cases, pleading for “forgiveness” and admitting his “deep” shame.

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