Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s tomb open to the public

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The former pope died on December 31st at the age of 95. He first made history as the first German pope in 400 years and again in 2013 when he became the first pope to retire in 600 years…reports Asian Lite News

The tomb of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI beneath St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is now open to the public.

The former pontiff was buried on January 5th, immediately following a funeral in St. Peter’s Square. Benedict’s grave lies in the crypt under the basilica’s main floor.

The former pope died on December 31st at the age of 95. He first made history as the first German pope in 400 years and again in 2013 when he became the first pope to retire in 600 years.

On Sunday morning, Pope Francis baptised 13 infants as the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

This tradition of baptising the children of Holy See employees in the Sistine Chapel on the feast day was established in 1981 by Pope St. John Paul II.

Last week, heads of state and royalty, clergy from around the world and thousands of people flocked to the ceremony, despite Benedict’s requests for simplicity and official efforts to keep the first funeral for a pope emeritus in modern times low-key.

Many hailed from Benedict’s native Bavaria and donned traditional dress, including boiled wool coats to guard against the morning chill.

“We came to pay homage to Benedict and wanted to be here today to say goodbye,” said Raymond Mainar, who travelled from a small village east of Munich for the funeral. “He was a very good pope.”

Francis has praised Benedict’s courage to step aside, saying it “opened the door” to other popes doing the same. The reigning pontiff, for his part, recently said he has already left written instructions outlining the conditions under which he too would resign.

After some 200,000 people paid their respects during three days of public viewing, authorities estimated 100,000 would attend Benedict’s funeral, though it was not clear if that many did in the end.

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