Pope Francis on Thursday presided over the funeral of his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
In one of the rarest of scenes in two millennia of Catholic Church history, Pope Francis offered a subtle send-off to someone he extolled as a pastor who “spread and testified” to the Gospel for his entire life.
During a brief, seven-minute homily to a crowd of thousands gathered during a cool, foggy morning in St. Peter’s Square, Francis reflected on the life of Christ, marked by “hands of forgiveness and compassion, healing and mercy, anointing and blessing,” seemingly drawing a parallel to the same devotion with which Benedict served the church.
Cardinals in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, before the funeral.
A cardinal blessing Benedict’s coffin.
Mourners arriving early in St. Peter’s Square.
Thousands gathered for the ceremony.
In Uganda, members of the Catholic community held mass in honor of Pope Emeritus Benedict.
The body of Benedict XVI lying in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Bishops and cardinals prayed in the basilica near Benedict’s body.
Lining up to pay homage to the pope emeritus.