Only two official state delegations — from Italy and Germany — will attend the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the Vatican’s press office has confirmed.
The PUNCH had reported that Pope Benedict XVI stood down ailing health for almost a decade before his eventual death on Saturday, December 31, 2022.
He led the Catholic Church for fewer than eight years until, in 2013, he became the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.
Benedict spent his final years at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery within the walls of the Vatican where he passed away.
The German-born Benedict, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, lived in Italy for more than 40 years, beginning in 1981.
The Holy See Press Office confirmed on December 31 that the two countries were sending official representatives to the funeral, which will be on Thursday.
Both Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Italian Prime Minister Geogia Meloni paid their respects to the late pontiff Monday morning at St. Peter’s Basilica, where his body will lie in state through January 4.
While there, Meloni offered her condolences to Benedict’s longtime personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein.
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