Here’s Pope Francis’ First Words About Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s Death

Vespers and Te Deum Prayer at St Peter's Basilica on Dec. 31, 2022 / Vatican Media / EWTN

Pope Francis made his first statement following the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

He commented on the Pope Emeritus’ passing during a Dec. 31 prayer vigil for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, at St. Peter’s Basilica.

“At this moment, our thoughts go spontaneously to the dearly beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who left us this morning,” he said. “With emotion, we remember his person–so noble, so kind– that we feel so much gratitude in our hearts.

Gratitude to God for giving him to the Church and to the world; gratitude to him for all the good he accomplished, and especially for his witness of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his retired life.”

“Only God knows the value, the strength of his intercession, of his sacrifices offered for the good of the Church.”

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The Vatican announced Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died at 9:34 a.m. local time on Dec. 31, 2022.

The Pope Emeritus died at his residence in Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, where he lived since his 2013 resignation.

The Holy See Press Office issued this statement on the morning of Dec. 31:

“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 AM in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible.  As of Monday morning, 2 January 2023, the body of the Pope Emeritus will be in Saint Peter’s Basilica so the faithful can pay their respects.”

Pope Francis will preside over the funeral on Jan. 5, 2023 9:30 a.m. Central European Time (CET) in St. Peter’s Square.

The Vatican said Saturday morning that the Pope Emeritus will be buried in the crypt underneath St. Peter’s Basilica.

Bruni also said that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI asked that “everything – including the funeral – be marked by simplicity, just as he lived his life.”

Eternal Rest, grant unto Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.

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[See also: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Dies at 95, Funeral Plans Announced]

[See also: How Benedict XVI’s Resignation Transformed the Papacy]

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Jacqueline Burkepile is the editor for the English edition of ChurchPOP. She is a journalist, former university campus minister, and a wife and mother. You can follow her posts on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

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