Death of Pope Benedict: His body in the Vatican in popular pilgrimage

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From January 2, the body of Pope Emeritus Benedict, who died this morning, will be placed in a popular pilgrimage to the Vatican

From January 2, body of Pope Emeritus Benedict, who passed away this morning, will be placed on a popular pilgrimage to the Vatican. Then, according to Italian public television Rai, an official funeral will be held, with political and religious leaders.

Pope Emeritus Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, was born on April 27, 1927 in Passau, Germany. His father came from a farming family and was a member of the local gendarmerie, while his mother, before marrying, had worked as a cook in various hotels.

Ratzinger spent his teenage years a short distance from the Austrian border, near Salzburg. As he himself had said, he experienced the Nazis’ hostile attitude towards the Catholic Church and was an eyewitness on the day his parish priest was beaten by the Nazis. During the Second World War he was assigned to the reserve anti-aircraft forces and then, from 1946 to 1951, he studied theology and philosophy in Munich. On June 29, 1951, he was ordained a priest and immediately began teaching theology, together with well-known professors of the time, in Bonn. He took part, as a scholar, in the Second Vatican Council, from 1962 to 1965. In 1977 Pope Paul VI appointed him archbishop of Munich and, in the same year, he was appointed a cardinal by the same pontiff.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II appointed Joseph Ratzinger head of the Vatican’s “ministry” for the correctness of the faith, and as the Vatican itself has emphasized, “his overall work, as a collaborator of Pope John Paul II, was continuous and valuable”. Shortly before his death, the Polish pontiff asked him to write the reflections of the Catholic Way of Martyrdom, (Via Crucis) for Easter 2005, in the Colosseum.

On April 19, 2005, Benedict was elected pontiff by the Conclave of Cardinals. Its main point of reference, the need to achieve peace in all regions of the planet. At the same time, he tried to limit the bureaucratic power of several top Vatican offices headed by clerics and emphasized interreligious dialogue, especially with the Orthodox. There were many analysts who pointed out that Benedict wanted to revive some typical elements of the tradition, starting with his own vestments: for example, he once again wore a red cape and cap, the carmauro and tabaro and red shoes.

As the Italian press writes, he was also the first pontiff to apologize to the victims of harassment and sexual abuse committed by clergy. He met many of the victims of these reprehensible and traumatic behaviors. For example, with regard to Ireland, in 2006 the pope called for the resignation of its bishops who had not combated cases of child abuse within the Catholic Church with sufficient determination. But in 2011, some associations of victims of clerical abuse went to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, accusing the German pope and other high-ranking Vatican clerics of crimes against humanity and cover-up of sexual abuse. In 2012, the lawsuit and charges were dropped by the links’ own lawyers.

On February 28, 2013, Benedict officially resigned as pontiff, causing enormous surprise to faithful Catholics and beyond. The reason for this decision, as he himself underlined, was his health problems, which had worsened. After the election of Francis, Benedict was named “pontiff emeritus of the Roman Catholic Church.”

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