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Benedict’s funeral will be similar to that of reigning popes

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(This January 3 story was re-archived to correct grammar in paragraph 11)

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Tens of thousands more people paid their respects to former Pope Benedict on Tuesday, the second day his body was laid to rest in state, and the Vatican has announced his funeral will be similar to that of a reigning pope, including a three-burial coffin.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who like Benedict has called for the protection of Europe’s Christian roots, was among some 70,000 people who paid their respects at St. Peter’s Basilica, following 65,000 on Monday.

Among them was Loredana Corrao, a resident of Rome, who said she was a great admirer of Benedict, an imposing figure as an academic and a hero to conservatives but also a controversial leader who did not tolerate theological dissent.

“It was a fitting tribute. It was very emotional and moving. I came yesterday too but I had things to say to him and I came today too,” she told RockedBuzz via Reuters.

“I am sure that an important part of the history of the Church has closed and now we have to go on without him”.

Pope Francis has been carrying on his normal workload since Benedict died on Saturday at the age of 95. He had a regular series of hearings and meetings on Monday and Tuesday and will hold his weekly general hearing on Wednesday.

The death of Benedict, who in 2013 became the first pope in 600 years to resign rather than reign for life, could make any decision to leave office easier for Francis and for the Church, which has struggled with having “two popes “.

Francis will preside over Benedict’s funeral in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday in front of a crowd that according to the Vatican police will number in the tens of thousands.

THREE COFFINS

Since Benedict was no longer a reigning pontiff when he died, official delegations have been limited to those from Italy and his native Germany.

Among those expected to participate in a private capacity were the presidents of Poland and Hungary and the monarchs of Spain and Belgium.

Benedict lay in state without any papal regalia, such as a crozier, a silver staff with a crucifix or pallium, a band of woolen cloth worn around the neck by popes and archdiocesan bishops to indicate their roles as shepherds of their flocks . Popes are also bishops of Rome.

The choice not to have them during the public viewing seems to have been made to emphasize that at his death he was no longer pope.

The liturgy of Thursday’s funeral mass will be based primarily on that of a reigning pope, with some minor changes, particularly in the prayers, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

The palliums will be placed in Benedict’s coffin along with coins and medals struck during his eight years as pope and a sealed lead tube containing a Latin written document describing his pontificate – all customary for popes’ funerals.

As is the tradition for popes, Benedict’s body will be placed in a cypress coffin which will be carried out of St. Peter’s Basilica and into the piazza for the funeral.

Later, as is also the tradition, the one will be placed in a zinc coffin and then both will be placed in another wooden coffin.

Benedict will be buried according to his wishes in the same spot in the crypts under St. Peter’s Basilica where Pope John Paul II was originally buried in 2005 before his body was moved to a chapel in the basilica in 2011.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Alexandra Hudson, Raissa Kasolowsky, Mark Heinrich and David Gregorio)

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