– His last words on his deathbed – the first photograph since his death
Photos of the deceased’s body were released on New Year’s morning. A nurse is said to have heard Benedict’s last words on his deathbed.
After the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the Holy See released the first photographs of his body. He is seen wearing a red liturgical robe in images of the chapel of the Vatican monastery Mater Ecclesiae. He wears a traditional headdress, a miter. Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict’s real name – holds a rosary in his hands.
A decorated Christmas tree and crib can be seen next to him in front of the church altar in photos released on Sunday. In his speeches on Sunday and via Twitter, his successor, Pope Francis, singled him out and called him a “faithful servant” of the Church.
More details on last words
Following the death of the Pope Emeritus, there are more details about his last words on his deathbed. Vatican News, the Vatican’s own media website, wrote Sunday evening that a nurse who did not speak German asked her around 3 a.m. Saturday. According to his private secretary Georg Gänswein, Benedict whispered, but it was still intelligible. He said “Lord, I love you” in Italian.
“Those were his last intelligible words because he was unable to express himself afterwards,” said Conswein, who was not with Benedict at the time. After some time the nurse told him about this. Argentinian newspaper “La Nacion” had previously reported, citing informed sources, that Benedict’s last words were “Jesus, I love you”.
The funeral breaks new ground for Vatican protocol
Benedict XVI is dead. Saturday morning at the age of 95. He is due to be laid to rest for the public at St Peter’s Basilica on Monday before being laid to rest on Thursday, January 5.
The death of a head of the Catholic Church involves well-defined ritual practices. In the case of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. However, the Vatican Code is entering new territory. An overview:
A nine-day mourning period for the dead Pope is observed, which has the Latin name “Novemdiales”. Normally, after a pope dies, the cardinals must also elect his successor. Since Benedict resigned from the post on February 11, 2013, this does not apply to his successor, Pope Francis.
On Sunday, Benedict was placed in the Mater Ecclesia monastery. Starting Monday morning, Benedict’s body will lie in state at St. Peter’s Basilica in Furama, where the faithful will bid him farewell.
Benedict’s funeral will be held in St. Peter’s Square on January 5 and will be presided over by the current Pope Francis – an unprecedented event in the history of the Catholic Church, which occurred after Benedict resigned in 2013.
In 2005, an estimated one million people attended the funeral of John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square. Scores of heads of state and crowned heads paid their last respects to the long-time head of the church. Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, presided over the funeral. After that, the cardinals elected him as the new Pope Benedict XVI.
According to Vatican rules, a pope must be buried four to six days after his death. Benedict is to be buried in the Vatican grotto of St Peter’s Basilica after a funeral mass on Thursday.
Benedict biographer Peter Seewald made public in 2020 that the pope emeritus wanted to be buried in the former tomb of his predecessor John Paul II. After John Paul’s beatification in 2011, his body was reinterred in the chapel in the aisle of St. Peter’s Basilica.
A ring is specially made for each Pope as a symbol of his authority. The head of the church uses this fisherman’s ring as a seal for documents. After his resignation, Benedict’s signet ring was rendered unusable with an “X”. The jewel is taken from the dead Pope’s finger and then broken.