Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. was closely connected to his Bavarian homeland all his life, was happy about visitors from Bavaria in the Vatican and even traveled to his former home one last time in 2020. Now many Bavarians are paying their last respects.
Munich (dpa / lby) - Believers and representatives of politics, church and society from all over Bavaria want to say goodbye to Benedict XVI personally in Rome. take. Delegations from all over the Free State are making their way to the funeral service for the Pope Emeritus on Thursday at St. Peter's Square. Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) leads a 170-strong delegation from the Free State; half the cabinet is there. State President Ilse Aigner (CSU) and several parliamentary group leaders have also announced their presence.
The Bavarian Pilgrim Office has sent three buses. Groups travel to Rome from Benedikt's birthplace Marktl am Inn and from his later place of residence Pentling. Around 200 Bavarian mountain riflemen, of which Benedikt was an honorary member, want to leave on Wednesday.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx will take part in the funeral service for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, in which Benedict was Archbishop from 1977 to 1982 as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Regensburg's Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer started on Tuesday, as did Passau's Bishop Stefan Oster. According to the State Chancellery, Eichstätt's Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke is a member of Söder's delegation, as is Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm and the President of the Jewish Community in Munich and Upper Bavaria, Charlotte Knobloch.
The governor of the Bavarian Mountain Riflemen, Martin Haberfellner, and three other representatives want to travel with Söder, as does a four-man delegation from the Bavarian Traditional Costume Association. The emeritus pope, who came from Upper Bavaria, had a special connection to customs and tradition. The mountain riflemen, in particular, who celebrate their patron saint's day every year in honor of the Mother of God as patroness, were always closely connected to the former pontiff. Most recently, a small group visited him in April 2022 for his 95th birthday in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican.
Archbishop Ludwig Schick, who has resigned, comes from the Archdiocese of Bamberg. Auxiliary Bishop Ulrich Boom represents the Diocese of Würzburg because Bishop Franz Jung is visiting the partner diocese in Brazil at the same time. Augsburg's Bishop Bertram Meier has already been to the Vatican to commemorate Benedict. A spokesman said he would not take part in the funeral service because of a retreat that had been planned for some time.
Mayor Barbara Wilhelm and her deputy Sebastian Hopfensberger from the community of Pentling, where Benedikt lived during his time as a theology professor at the University of Regensburg, will take part in the funeral service, a spokesman said. Mayor Benedikt Dittmann from Marktl wants to be there. In addition, numerous citizens and local councilors made their way to Rome by coach to accompany Benedict on his final journey. A delegation of flags and a delegation from the volunteer fire brigade also want to honor Benedict.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. died on New Year's Eve 2022 at the age of 95. After the funeral service, he is to be buried in the Vatican on Thursday. He is to be laid in the tomb where his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, lay before his remains were moved to another location in the main room of St. Peter's Basilica.