Cardinal Nichols visits St Peter’s Basilica to pray as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lies in state

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Shortly after arriving in Rome on Wednesday, 4 January, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference, spent some time in prayer and quiet contemplation before the body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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Lying in state in St Peter’s Basilica, the late Pope Emeritus was visited by almost 200,000 Catholics who paid their final respects and offered prayers for the repose of his soul.

Also present at this time were other bishops and ordinaries from England and Wales and senior clergy with links to our countries.

Former Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Mennini, who was nominated Nuncio to Great Britain by Benedict XVI in December 2010, came to pray. As did Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Ordinariate was established by Benedict, as Pope, in November 2009 for Anglicans and their clergy who wanted to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Ukrainian Catholic Eparch, Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski, also spent time in prayer before the Pope Emeritus. The Ukrainian Catholic Church in England and Wales was elevated to eparchial status – effectively a diocese – on Pope Benedict’s watch in January 2013.

The Requiem Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be celebrated by his successor Pope Francis on Thursday, 5 January 2023. The last Pope to celebrate the funeral of his predecessor was Pius VII in 1802.

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