This afternoon has been a sorrowful one for most Christian faithfuls after the Vatican announced the death of former Pope Benedict.
Below is a breakdown of what happens when a Pope passes away;
Once a Pope passes away, a doctor confirms the death in the presence of the Cardinal Chamberlain and the Vatican's Director of health services.
To mark the Pope's death, the bells of St. Peter's Basilica toll. Then, throughout the city of Rome, churches join in spreading the news throughout the Eternal City.
Tradition holds that the Cardinal Vicar of Rome makes the official announcement to the public. Usually a period of nine days is declared for official mourning, which also gives time for pilgrims, cardinals, and heads of state to travel to Rome.
The body of the deceased Pope is then placed in the Apostolic Palace for members of the Curia to pay their respects, and then it is moved to St. Peter's Basilica to allow pilgrims to pay their last respects.
But, with the death of the Pope emeritus, typical Vatican protocol is likely to differ.
As he was the Bishop of Rome for 8 years, Pope Francis may ask for the Pope emeritus' funeral to be conducted like that of a reigning pope. This would mean a Vatican state funeral held in St. Peter's Square.
Normally, a cardinal would celebrate the funeral Mass. For example, when Pope John Paul II died, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the celebrant. However, as there is a living pope, Pope Francis will most likely celebrate the Mass for the Pope emeritus.
It will be a state funeral as the Pope is the Head of the Vatican State. So it's likely different heads of states and delegations from around the world may come to pay their respects.
Once the funeral Mass is over, the coffin is then taken into St. Peter's Basilica to be laid in its final resting place. There, pilgrims will be able to visit and pray at Pope emeritus Benedict XVI's tomb.
At the request of the Pope emeritus, his coffin will be kept in the Vatican crypt. It will be placed in the same area in which St. John XXIII was buried for 38 years and St. John Paul II for 8 years.
May the soul of Pope Benedict rest in peace.
Source: @vatican news
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