Início » Thousands of faithful in St. Peter’s Square to bid farewell to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Thousands of faithful in St. Peter’s Square to bid farewell to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Under a thick blanket of fog enveloping the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, hundreds of faithful began, this morning, to gather in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, to attend the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

When the bells struck at 07:00 local time (06:00 in Lisbon), the Italian Daniela Notarbartolo, 69, was walking in St. Peter’s Square, in the Vatican, after seven hours by train where she took the opportunity to sleep.

For Daniela, her presence at the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has a justification: “We love him very much. We recognize in him a help to our faith.”

At the same time, mother and son, Maria, 46 years old, and Emanuele, 12 years old, were also heading to the square. “It is a very important opportunity”, summarized Emanuel Sevi, while Maria Vicentini said that she had already attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II (1920-2005).

“The love [for the popes] is the same. But I grew up with John Paul II”, declared the Italian from Rome, explaining that Benedict XVI particularly admired the moment when he “remained in adoration”.

From Munich (Germany), Martina Scharding, 44 years old, her husband and five children accelerated their pace to attend the funeral of the last German pope. “He is a special person, a great theologian, he was very important for Germany”, she said.

In St. Peter’s Square, where the security device is tightened and stands out, Frederico Batistte, 65 years old, has joined, as a volunteer, the Civil Protection group in the region of Lazio, the most important city in the region is Rome, because today “is an important day”.

In 2005, at the funeral of John Paul II, he did the same, but the difference is substantial. “At this time [07:43] it was already full,” he recalled. Around 100,000 people are expected to attend today’s funeral ceremonies for Benedict XVI, according to local authorities.

A little later, Manuel Runch, 46, an Indian priest who lives and works in Rome, runs to the gates with a briefcase in hand.

“Pope Benedict XVI represented a beacon of light for us on our journey of faith. He was a teacher, a guide for all of us in the world”, he told Lusa as he walked quickly towards the checkpoints.

Right before the gates, a traffic and police barrier protects the area dedicated to journalists – more than a thousand people from all over the world arrived, according to the authorities.

Michael Brown works for the Taz, a Berlin newspaper, and explained why he wasn’t surprised not to see so many Germans in the square.

“Although our newspapers had the headline ‘we are Pope’ when Ratzinger was elected, in Germany we noticed a certain distance from him, both because of the many discussions about abuses in the Church, and because of a much simpler fact, today in Germany most people do not recognize themselves in any faith,” he said.

Sofia Castro, 22 years old, from São Paulo, Brazil, arrived at the square with three friends who were with her visiting Rome for tourism.

“We are Catholics and this is a historic event. I think it was necessary to be here to participate. Even if we didn’t know this Pope well, as Christians it is our duty to participate”.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died on Saturday aged 95, shook the Church by resigning from the pontificate for health reasons on February 11, 2013, two months before completing eight years in office.

Joseph Ratzinger, who was pope between 2005 and 2013, was born in 1927 in Marktl am Inn, in the German diocese of Passau, becoming the first German to head the Catholic Church in many centuries and a representative of the most dogmatic line of the Church.

*With Lusa

Contact Us

Generalist media, focusing on the relationship between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.

Plataforma Studio


Subscribe Plataforma Newsletter to keep up with everything!