The former pope’s funeral will take place in St. Peter’s Square, the large square in front of the basilica, on Thursday at 9:30 am (08:30 GMT).

“As the Pope Emeritus wished, the funeral will be simple,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told reporters.


Pope Francis had alerted the world to Benedict’s frailty on Wednesday when he called on the world’s Catholics to pray for him.

She later visited him at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery inside the Vatican gardens, which became Benedict’s home when he retired.

Bruni said the former pope had earlier that day received “the anointing of the sick,” or “last rites,” as it’s often called, a Catholic tradition in which a person’s soul is cleansed of sins in preparation for the beyond.

This was done at the end of a mass at his home, in the presence of the Memores Domini, four nun-like lay women, who lived with him.

The body of the German pope, whose birth name was Joseph Ratzinger, will remain in the monastery until early Monday morning.

He will then be taken to rest in St. Peter’s Basilica, where the faithful will be able to pay their respects for three days.

In 2005, the body of John Paul II, the last pope to die, also lay before a funeral mass in St. Peter’s Square presided over by Ratzinger, then a senior cardinal.

An estimated one million people attended, along with heads of state from around the world.

– ‘Fisherman’s Ring’ –

The Vatican said official delegations from Italy and the former pope’s native Germany would attend the funeral.

Subsequently, “the coffin of the Supreme Pontiff Emeritus will be taken to St. Peter’s Basilica and then to the Vatican Grottoes for burial,” the Vatican said.

In 2020, media reports said that Benedict XVI had chosen to be buried in the former tomb of John Paul II, in the crypt of Saint Peter.

The body of the beloved Polish pope was moved to the top of the basilica when he was beatified in 2011. He was confirmed a saint in 2014.

Traditionally, when a Pope dies, his “fisherman’s ring” is also destroyed, a signet ring cast especially for each new Pope that was once used to seal documents.

When Benedict left office, the face of his ring was engraved with an “X” so it cannot be worn.