Former pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict Thanks Over One Million Twitter Followers With First Tweet Photo by: POOL via AFP/Yannis Behrakis

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away in a monastery in Vatican City in an un-papal manner without the traditionally prescribed rituals for the death of the Vicar of Christ on Earth. No solemn announcement to the faithful by the Vatican monsignor was heard, neither was there a fisherman’s ring smashed nor was the diplomatic corps summoned to send their official delegation to the eternal city.

According to the Associated Press, only a two-sentence announcement from the Vatican press office was made, which further cemented the fact that the 95-year-old Pope Benedict had already retired from his papal duties almost a decade ago. The rituals conducted were said to be more in line with the passing of a retired bishop rather than a pontiff or a monarch, however, it was confirmed that Pope Benedict will indeed be buried in the red vestments of a pope.

Preliminary information released by the Vatican said that Pope Benedict’s funeral on Thursday in St. Peter’s Square was celebrated in a rather low-key manner as the former pope wished for a more modest affair while making it clear that his status as emeritus did not require the all-out papal send-off.

The late pontiff’s last words were, “Lord, I love you.” said his secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, quoting his nurse who assisted him during his final hours. Gaenswein said the nurse recounted hearing those words by the former pope around 3 a.m., who later passed away in the morning. The nurse added that his words were spoken in Italian, in a faint yet distinct manner.

The death of Pope Benedict closed a major chapter within the history book of the Catholic Church as he was the first pontiff in 600 years to retire back in 2013, leaving Pope Francis with the responsibility to follow up with how future successors might retire. Rumors said that Pope Francis may issue new protocols to regulate the office of a retired pontiff, as his predecessor mostly improvised his state of affairs. Other rumors said that Pope Francis himself may even consider retirement, as the issue of having two emeritus popes is no longer possible.

Former pope Benedict XVI's remains will be laid to rest in the tombs beneath St Peter's Basilica
Former pope Benedict XVI's remains will be laid to rest in the tombs beneath St Peter's Basilica. Photo by: AFP/Tiziana Fabi

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