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Home ยป Thousands Queue To See Former Pope Benedict’s Body Lying In State

Thousands Queue To See Former Pope Benedict’s Body Lying In State

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Thousands of people are paying their respects to former Pope Benedict XVI as his body lies in state at the Vatican.

Doors to St Peter’s Basilica were opened to the public on Monday morning as mourners pay their respects to the late pontiff, who died on Saturday at the age of 95.

Members of the public, some of whom had waited for hours in the dampness before dawn, filed past his body.

Benedict will lie in the open at the centre of the famous basilica ahead of his funeral on Thursday morning.

Image: Benedict’s body is lying in state ahead of his funeral on Thursday Security officials expect at least 25,000 people to pass on the first day of viewing.

Among those queuing was Filippo Tuccio, 35, who came from Venice on an overnight train.

He said: “I wanted to pay homage to Benedict because he had a key role in my life and my education.”

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Mr Tuccio said that he had studied theology and “his pontificate accompanied me during my university years”.

“He was very important for me, for what I am, my way of thinking, my values,” Mr Tuccio added. “This is why I wanted to say goodbye today.”

Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world in 2013 by retiring from the papacy, the first to do so in 600 years, saying he no longer had the physical and mental strength to run the Catholic church.

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The legacy of Pope Benedict XVI During his time as pope, he faced a slew of criticism over the Catholic Church’s response to child sex abuse allegations, as well as claims of corruption and feuding within the Vatican.

Following his resignation, he lived in the Vatican monastery and served as pope emeritus. He was replaced by the current head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

Public viewing of the body will last for 10 hours on Monday in St Peter’s Basilica.

Twelve hours of viewing are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday before Thursday morning’s funeral, which will be led by Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square.