The Vatican announced on Saturday that former pope Benedict XVI has died at the age of 95, nearly a decade after becoming the first pope to resign in six centuries. According to his nurse, the Pope’s last words were recorded.
Archbishop Georges Ganswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, told Vatican News, “In a whisper, but in a clearly recognizable manner, [Benedict] He said in Italian, “Lord, I love you!” I wasn’t there, but the nurse told me so shortly afterwards.”
Mr Ganswein added, “These were his last words that could be understood because after that, he could no longer express himself.”
The German pontiff emeritus, born Joseph Ratzinger, has been living a quiet life in a former monastery inside the Vatican grounds since his shocking decision to step down in February 2013, according to AFP.
According to the Vatican News website, his health had been deteriorating for a long time, and his condition worsened on Wednesday, while his successor, Pope Francis, called on Catholics around the world to pray for him.
Tens of thousands of people paid their respects Monday to former Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, starting three days of lying down in St. Peter’s Basilica ahead of his funeral.
And they began to line up before dawn to see the body of the German theologian, which was removed early in the morning from the monastery on the Vatican grounds where he died on Saturday at the age of 95.
“I arrived at six o’clock in the morning,” said an Italian nun, Sister Anna Maria, near the front of the line that wraps around the vast avenue Sainte, “and it seemed natural to come and greet him after all he had done for the church.” Peter’s Square.
Benedict led the Catholic Church for eight years until 2013 before becoming the first pope in six centuries to step down due to failing health.
His successor, Pope Francis, will preside over the funeral on Thursday in St Peter’s Square before Benedict’s remains are laid to rest in the tombs below the cathedral.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Monday that he will be buried in the cemetery that housed the remains of Pope John Paul II until 2011.
Benedict’s body, dressed in a papal red mourning robe and a gold-edged cowl, was placed on a cage covered with gold tapestry in front of the altar of St. Peter’s, flanked by two Swiss guards.
Many of those ex-files took pictures on their smartphones, while some prayed or made the sign of the cross.
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