HomeFOREIGN FILEDead Pope Emeritus Benedict Dominates New Year At Vatican

Dead Pope Emeritus Benedict Dominates New Year At Vatican

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The start of the new year at the Vatican was overshadowed by the death of his predecessor, former Pope Benedict, as Pope Francis marked the Roman Catholic Church’s traditional World Day of Peace today.

Francis presided at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica as the body of Benedict, who died yesterday at the age of 95, was being prepared for three days of public viewing in the same church starting tomorrow.

On Saturday night, the Vatican had released Benedict’s two-page “spiritual testimony” written in 2006, a year after his election as pope.

There was no explanation why Benedict did not update the publication as he became older and more frail, according to Reuters.

In  his publication, Benedict asked in a general, spiritual way, that God would welcome him to internal life “despite all my sins and insufficiencies.”

Reuters reported that, in accordance with Benedict’s wishes, his funeral on Thursday will be simple, solemn and sober.

It will be the first time in many centuries that a sitting pope will preside at the funeral of his predecessor.

Benedict, who stepped down in 2013, had been the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.

January 1 is also the feast of the Mother of God and in his homily, Francis asked the Madonna to accompany “our beloved” Pope Emeritus Benedict “on his passage from this world to God.”

Benedict was also remembered in one of the prayers at the Mass.

Francis also appealed for peace, alluding to war-torn countries, including Ukraine, where Russia continued intense attacks on New Year’s Day.

“Let us pray to our Mother in a special way for her sons and daughters who are suffering and no longer have the strength to pray, and for our many brothers and sisters throughout the world who are victims of way, passing these holidays in darkness and cold, in poverty and fear, immersed in violence and indifference,” Francis said.

He urged his listeners to work actively for peace, and not “waste time glued to a keyboard in front of a computer screen” but to “dirty our hands and to do some good.”

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