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CNN Live Event/Special

CNN Special Coverage of Pope Benedict's Funeral in St. Peter's Square Facilitated by Pope Francis. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired January 05, 2023 - 03:00   ET




BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all over the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster live from London. We want to get to our special coverage of Pope Emeritus Benedict's funeral. In about 30 minutes from now, the funeral for the former pontiff will begin in St. Peter's Square.

NOBILO: Dignitaries from around the world will be attending and Pope Francis will be leading the mass. He'll become the first pontiff in modern times to preside over the funeral service for his predecessor. Moments ago, the coffin carrying Pope Benedict left St. Peter's Basilica where he's been lying in state since Monday.

FOSTER: Now, before he became Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger was born in 1927 in Germany, became a cardinal in 1977. Following the death of John Paul, he was elected pope in 2005. He resigned from his role as Pope in 2013. Benedict said his choice to step down was made to his lack of strength of body and of mind.

NOBILO: CNN is covering all angles of today's events. Senior International Correspondent, Frederik Pleitgen, and Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen are both in Rome, but we begin with Vatican Correspondent Delia Gallagher who's joining us from St. Peter's Square. Delia, explain to us what the atmosphere is like as the faithful gather on this day.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, I've been here for a few hours. Now, they started coming in the early hours of the morning to fill the square. There's about a 60,000-person-capacity seated there in St. Peter's Square. It looks like it's getting filled up.

At the moment, as you mentioned, the casket has just come out from St. Peter's Basilica. They are doing a rosary. They are saying prayers just before the mass begins. That coffin was sealed last night. Inside, they put coins and medals from Pope Benedict's pontificate as well as a scroll and the Vatican has given us the text of that scroll. The scroll contains the biography of his life and some salient points from his pontificate. So, for example, it mentions that his father was a police officer, his mother was a cook before they got married. It also mentioned the sex abuse crisis. It says that Pope Fran -- Pope Benedict, excuse me, firmly fought against the crimes committed by members of the clergy against minors and vulnerable people.

It also mentions of course the resignation. It gives his full resignation speech in Latin as well as some of the books that he wrote and some of the encyclicals that he wrote as Pope.

So that is all in the coffin. Those are traditional things that they do for a pope. It will now -- now, the coffin is on the altar, and when the mass begins, of course, Pope Francis will come out to begin the funeral service.

FOSTER: Delia, what sort of international dignitaries will we see here? Because it's not the sort of service we're used to, is it? We're used to seeing, you know, more recent popes having funerals, not retired popes.

GALLAGHER: Well, that's right, Max. And in fact, it was Pope Emeritus's wish that it was a simple ceremony and part of that means there's not the protocol that we would see for big international gatherings. As you well know, when a president or a prime minister moves, he moves with a big entourage. There is a lot of security and coordination that is required.

So, part of what simple means for the Vatican is please keep your entourage small and send representatives that maybe don't require such security. It's a lot of pressure on a city to organize that ahead of time.

So, you'll see, for example, the United States is sending their U.S. Ambassador to The Holy See, Joe Donnelly, who is already here. We know Queen Sophia of Spain, of course, will be here. We know the royal family from Belgium, the King and Queen of Belgium, again, catholic families.

Catholic queens as a small aside are the only ones who are allowed to wear white at a papal event. So, we will probably see them. As well as Germany and Italy, of course, are sending official delegations. Max, Bianca?

FOSTER: Delia, thank you very much indeed. A spectacular scene, isn't it?

NOBILO: Really incredible. Especially hearing the chanting and the hubbub as well as seeing the spectacular locations as well. St. Peter's Basilica being so opulent and gorgeous-- gorgeous location.


FOSTER: Let's bring in Fred. He's standing by as well. What's the atmosphere like, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been a humbling atmosphere over the past couple of days, Max. I was able to get into St. Peter's Basilica as Pope Benedict XVI's body was still lying-in state there. And there were just tens of thousands of people who were passing there and I think most of the people who came in there they understood the gravity of this moment, not just, of course, with a Pope Emeritus passing away but also what this means for the Catholic Church.

I mean Pope Benedict XVI, formerly, of course, Cardinal Ratzinger, was one of the most important figures in the Catholic Church over the past four decades, someone who was really an operator setting much of the doctrine, or influencing much of the doctrine of the Catholic Church over the past decades.

And you know, Delia was talking about it a little bit. Obviously, this is also a huge moment as well for Germany. And they are one of the countries that's sending an official delegation. I've sort of watched all of that evolve over the past couple of days where originally the Germans had said they would just send their President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and then I think it sort of sank in to them that, you know, there hadn't been a German pope in about 500 years.

So, this is a huge moment for the country. So now, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is there as well as all the heads of Germany's constitutional bodies. But also, if you look at Pope Benedict XVI, he was very much rooted in his homeland of Bavaria in the southwest of Germany. So, they're also sending a gigantic delegation as well.

They rented their own plane. The Bavarian governor is going to be there. The two former Bavarian governors are going to be there. So, definitely this is a gigantic moment for the country of Germany as a huge era is coming to an end with a German Pope having been around and then also, of course, for the church as well I think for the Vatican as well.

This is a big sea change that I think is about to happen and a huge person of influence who is being laid to rest today. And I think you can really see that by the gravity of this moment. And Delia was talking about the fact that, you know, Pope Benedict XVI had wanted a more humble ceremony.

Of course, we recall that when Pope John Paul II was laid to rest, it was a gigantic amount of people who came here to Rome, who came to the Vatican, literally millions of people who made the pilgrimage here. It seemed as if almost all of Poland had come here at this point in time. He sort of wanted a smaller ceremony if something like that is possible in a gigantic body like the Catholic Church, and of course, as Bianca put it in a location like St. Peter's Square.

But that was certainly also the kind of person that Pope Benedict XVI was. He was a very humble person, someone that when you met him you would not realize that he was someone who wielded the kind of power that he did wield because he was definitely a very down-to-earth figure, Max and Bianca.

FOSTER: I was just going to ask, Fred, what the atmosphere is like in Germany and whether they're all tuning in today and he was the German Pope.

PLEITGEN: Yeah, definitely. And certainly, if you look at the coverage in German media over the past couple of days, you can also see that for them an era is coming to an end as well. It's been a huge news story in Germany.

A lot of people of course also relaying their sympathies. And there once again in Pope Benedict XVI in Joseph Ratzinger's homeland in Bavaria, especially his home town of Marktl am Inn, close to the border with Austria, yeah there's a lot of people who are obviously in mourning, a lot of people who are portraying their sympathies as well and there are also a lot of Bavarians who had said they would make the journey to the Vatican today because they felt he was one of them.

He was one of their people. He was an important figure in Bavaria. And if you look back also at the time that he spent as the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, he was a big public figure in Germany, someone who was in the spotlight, someone who was around with politicians, especially in the Munich area, the Bavaria area, but definitely someone who was known on the national stage in Germany.

So, this is someone who everybody in Germany has known for a very, very long time. So, it's a big thing for Germany as well. However, we do also have to keep in mind that in Germany as well his legacy will be viewed in different ways by different people. There are a lot of people who do feel that he didn't do enough to, for instance, address abuse within the Catholic Church. And of course, it was in the last couple of months of his life that he acknowledged the mistake in having dealt with that when he was the archbishop of Munich and Freising in the late '70s and early '80s, Max and Bianca.

FOSTER: Fred Pleitgen, thank you.

NOBILO: And right now, let's bring in CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen with his perspective. John, who's also in Rome. Fred was just discussing how there are elements of the former pontiff's legacy which are more controversial. There was a Spanish journalist I read last night, Raphael Narbona who described Pope Benedict XVI as a man of light and shadows like all humans. How do you think he'll be remembered?


JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, Max, Bianca, I think when you ask how will a pope or president or say a president or prime minister be remembered, you have to ask who is doing the remembering? I mean, I think there are always different takes, aren't there?

I think the admirers of Pope Benedict XVI will remember him as a great teacher of the faith, as a man who stood fast for Catholic orthodoxy in a time of runaway secularization and moral relativism.

More progressive or liberal elements in the Catholic Church will see him as a somewhat tragic figure who in their eyes tried to slow down or obstruct some of the changes in the church that were intended by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and as they would see it are only now turning to fruition under Benedict's successor, the more liberal Pope Francis.

Some survivors of clerical sexual abuse, as Fred was saying, will remember Pope Benedict as the public face of Catholic denial and cover on the abuse scandals. Others, however, will remember Benedict as the pope who began a historic process of reform, the first pope to apologize in his own name. The first pope to meet with survivors of clerical abuse. The first pope to make zero tolerance the official policy of the church and on and on.

So, it's a complex kaleidoscope, isn't it? But I think the one thing that everyone can agree upon, you know, apart from whatever political judgments (inaudible) is that at a personal level this was an incredibly kind, humble, generous, almost shy figure. And at that personal level people will be mourning the loss of that personality today, Max and Bianca.

NOBILO: And john, we've discussed many times or we haven't seen a situation in over half a millennium where we have a reigning Pope and a Pope Emeritus like Pope Benedict XVI. He was living not far from the reigning pope, Pope Francis, in the Vatican gardens. And as we've been describing was an immensely influential figure in the Catholic Church in his last years too. How did the two pontiffs manage that relationship between themselves?

ALLEN: Well, Bianca, I think it's worth remembering that the last time that he we had a sitting pope and a retired pope the sitting pope had the retired pope thrown into prison, where he died. So, this is obviously a very different situation.

I think by all accounts the personal relationship between Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict was extremely warm. You know, Pope Francis said on more than one occasion that having Benedict with him in the Vatican was sort of like having your grandfather.

They had a weekly phone call for most of the decade that Benedict was living there at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery. Francis would often ask Benedict for advice on one thing or another. He would encourage him to attend public events and so on.

However, I also think it has to be said that at the symbolic level and almost against the intentions of these two men, Francis and Benedict did become symbols I think of the culture wars in Catholicism. More progressive elements of the church were big fans of Pope Francis, would often make unfavorable comments about Pope Benedict XVI.

And meanwhile, the supporters of Pope Benedict would sort of use him as a foil for their praises of Pope Francis. As I said, I don't think either pope wanted that but that was inevitably the politics of the church over this past decade, Max and Bianca.

NOBILO: John Allen, thank you so much for elucidating the impact of this hugely influential figure in the catholic church, the former Pope Benedict XVI.

And Catholics around the world are preparing to say their final farewells to Pope Emeritus Benedict. Let's listen in. (BEGIN LIVE FEED)






NOBILO: Welcome back. The funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is set to begin in about ten minutes' time.

FOSTER: Crowds and dignitaries have already gathered as you can see in St. Peter's square where Pope Francis will preside over the ceremony. The Vatican says the funeral will be simple because that's what Benedict wanted.

NOBILO: For more, we are joined by History Professor, Christopher Bellito, who teaches at Kean University.

FOSTER: He's also the author of "When A Pope Dies." He's speaking to us from Union, New Jersey. Just take us through, then, Christopher, you know, what we need to be looking out for in this service.

CHRISTOPHER BELLITO, HISTORY PROFESSOR AT KEAN UNIVERSITY: Well, this funeral is very much like a Catholic funeral that we would celebrate for those that we love who have passed away. It is obviously far more elaborate. There will be much more Latin. They'll sing every verse of everything.

But the thing that of course is historic is that you have a sitting pope presiding over the funeral of his predecessor. Typically, we have to bury one pope before we get the next pope.


And so, something that makes this funeral far different than every other papal funeral that we've seen is the fact that there's no what's next. When a pope dies, that's a starting pistol. And a series of events takes place. The funeral four to six days later, nine official days of mourning.

During those nine days of mourning the cardinals are coming from all over the world, having preliminary conversations. The Sistine Chapel is getting ready for the election. Then the conclave within 20 days of the death, white smoke, new pope, celebratory mass.

In this case instead of a month's activities we're just concluding about a week's activities because we already have the next pope.

NOBILO: And Christopher, we've been told about the solemnity and simplicity of this funeral and how Pope Benedict XVI had made those decisions to have those elements reflected. What does that tell us about his personality and his approach to faith?

BELLITO: Well, very different than the papacy and the person of Karol Wojtyla or John Paul II. An introvert, Ratzinger was -- excuse me, John Paul II was an extrovert. Ratzinger was very much a quieter person, an introvert, very much focused on the papacy itself, as opposed to the person of John Paul II.

And his resignation even said that. His resignation says that the papacy is bigger than just one person. One question that can't be answered is the following. Had benedict xvi died in office, would we be seeing larger crowds? Or is it possible that people have been mourning the end of the papacy eight-- years ago, almost ten years ago now, when he resigned in 2013?

FOSTER: In terms of St. Peter's Square and everyone sitting in there, I mean, what do you think about the setup? Because there was a lot of debate of course about how to handle this because, you know, as you said it's unprecedented. Do you invite heads of state? Do you send ambassadors as a foreign country? What do you make of what they finally come up with?

BELLITO: Well, I'm a little surprised. I'm not a diplomatic historian. But I am a little surprised that there aren't more representatives of other countries there. Certainly, Italy and Germany make a lot of sense. You'll have all of the ambassadors in town there as well.

But I think that we should always, whether a person is a pope or a parishioner in a pew, respect a person's decisions for their own funeral. And so, this is very much in keeping with the rather quiet nature of Benedict XVI. The only difference is that Benedict XVI really enjoyed -- he kind of dressed almost like a renaissance monarch.

He enjoyed a bigger, if you will, broader colorful set of liturgical vestments and things like this. So, this represents the end of his life, not necessarily the point of his papacy. In fact, I think that Joseph Ratzinger will probably be remembered more for his pre-papal career and his post-papal career than his papal career. After all, he's been a former pope longer than he was pope.

NOBILO: And Christopher, just letting our viewers know that they were just looking at pictures of Pope Francis appearing in St. Peter's Square. He'll obviously be presiding over the funeral today. Now, you make a very interesting point about how Pope Benedict XVI will be remembered.

What do you feel like he conceptualized as his mission within the church in his time as cardinal, his time as Pope and of course, when he resigned?

BELLITO: Well, I think there are a couple of interesting pieces to your question and we have to take those in turn. I think that he was always more concerned with affairs within the church and was concerned with the way that outside forces might be tainting what was going on within the church. Whereas John Paul II also is concerned but he had Cardinal Ratzinger taking care of that, was the big evangelist. And so, Benedict XVI's small papacy continued in that -- continued in that tradition.

FOSTER: Okay. Christopher Bellito, thank you so much for joining us. As the funeral of Pope Benedict gets under way, Pope Francis has arrived in St. Peter's square. The singing has begun. This will be a very long service, full hymns sung, as Christopher was describing.


And this is a really momentous and historic occasion because for the first time in anyone's memory obviously but in hundreds of years, we are seeing a pope presiding over the funeral of another pope.





UNKNOWN (voice-over): And as the entrance (ph) comes to a close, our holy father will open the liturgy. The altar was incensed by today's celebrant, the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.


CROWD: Amen.




UNKNOWN (voice-over): And we've been invited to recall to mind our sins.




CROWD: Amen.


NOBILO: You're watching the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square. Joining us again is CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher, who is in the square. Delia, this is a momentous occasion to watch, and I would imagine for Catholics everywhere, the historical consequence and poignancy of watching a current pope preside over the funeral of a former pope is really significant.

GALLAGHER: Yes, absolutely, Bianca. And, you know, we have to think about Pope Francis in this moment. He is the one who have this unique position as pope to have another pope behind him, albeit a retired one, but always present. And in the early years, certainly, that was helpful for him as a confidant. They apparently had a good relationship because, of course, they could understand the pressures of the job as it were.

But equally, it was something that led to some divisions in the Catholic church, having a more conservative pope who had retired and more progressive Pope Francis. So, one wonders if at this point, it isn't also a kind of new start for Pope Francis.

One thing to note about this mass, which Catholics around the world will recognize, it's mostly in Latin.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): There will be prayers in other languages as well. But Pope Francis is presiding over the mass, but he is not saying the mass. He has been brought in in a wheelchair. We know he has a problem with his knee. And primarily, he's not saying the mass because it requires somebody to stand for a long period of time at the altar. So, the mass will be said by the dean of the College of Cardinals, the sort of --

NOBILO (voice-over): Delia, we'll return to you in a moment. The pope is speaking.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Oh, God, who in wondrous providence, chose your servant, Benedict, to preside over your church. Grant, we pray, that having served as the vicar of your son on earth, he may be welcomed by Him into eternal glory, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the holy spirit, one God, forever and ever.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Our first reading today will be proclaimed in Spanish. The readings chosen from among those for funeral liturgies. From the book of the Prophet Isaiah.


FOSTER: Let's bring Delia back in at this point to just take us through what we're seeing here. Obviously, we want to hear from the sitting pope when he's speaking. But how would you describe this first part of the ceremony?

GALLAGHER: So, Max, when the pope is speaking -- this is a mass which is very much set in stone. He is not going to speak off the cuff here. So, what he was saying were prayers of the mass. He's going to go through and speak quite a number of times throughout the next hour and a half.

The only time we're really talking about him speaking is during the homily, which is a small speech that he will give in the middle of the mass, which is supposed to reflect sort of the readings of the mass.

So, this is a typical Catholic mass. You're going to have readings from scriptures, you're going to have some responses from the crowds, and then you're going to have the part which is the communion part, sort of the central part of the mass.

But it is all written. There's going to be no sort of off the cuff with the exception perhaps of the pope's homily, which is his moment in which he can speak to the crowds and perhaps say something as well about Pope Benedict. Max?

FOSTER (voice-over): Thanks, Delia. I just want to ask Fred, actually. Fred is there as well. Fred, obviously, a long-time journey (ph) correspondent. And Benedict was German.

And when we look at the service, it feels like an end of an era in a way, doesn't it? Because Benedict was the leader effectively of the conservative wing of the church. And lots of his supporters quite frustrated that it was downgraded from a full papal funeral.

So, this is a symbolic moment for the conservative side of the church and for many Germans as well, who identify him as a person of their country.

PLEITGEN: Yeah, Max, I think in general, you're absolutely right, it certainly is the end of a major era in the Vatican where Cardinal Ratzinger and then later Pope Benedict XVI was really one of the most if not the most powerful figure for a very long period of time, setting the doctrine, and especially, of course, someone who was very popular with the more conservative elements not just within the Vatican but I think with Catholics around the world.

Also, on a side note, I think one of the things that's really special about this moment as well is we've had this thick fog over Rome throughout the entire morning and sort of that veil of fog that's starting to lift through, but we can see the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. I think that's something that really adds to the moment. Obviously, there are very few bodies around the world that do ceremony as well and as impressively as the Catholic church does.

But to get back to your question, Max, I think you're absolutely (INAUDIBLE) that the end of an era is at hand with Pope Benedict XVI being laid to rest.

You know, he was someone who was just an absolute powerhouse within the Catholic church. Even before he came to Rome, even before he became the dean of the College of Cardinals, the head of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, even when he was in Munich and he was the archbishop there, he was someone who was extremely active.

And I think one of the interesting things that we've been (INAUDIBLE) is that as a pope, he was more introverted than, for instance, John Paul II was who, of course, was this extremely towering figure.

We also have to keep in mind, at the beginning of his papacy, you know, when he still had a lot of power himself, he, of course, took that office when he was already 78 years of age.


PLEITGEN: And one of the interesting things that he said shortly after becoming the pope is he said that when he was in the conclave after John Paul II passed away and it was sort of looking as though -- increasingly as though he might be the one who would be chosen, that he begged God not to do this to him, but it was one of the few times that God did not listen to him in this case, as he put it.

But I do think that after he became pope, he did sort of try to continue some of that legacy of John Paul II, tried to carry over some of that momentum. You know, all of us who covered the death of Pope John Paul II back then, we remember how special a time that was here in Rome and in the Vatican, all the positive energy. And certainly, throughout the first years of Pope Benedict's papacy, pontificate, he did attempt to carry that over and in many ways did manage to do that, Max.

FOSTER (voice-over): Okay. Fred, thank you very much indeed. Benedict had served under John Paul for 30 years and had a very different papacy.

NOBILO: Absolutely. And it's fascinating to hear about his approach in those moments when he knew that his life was about to change and he would become Pope Benedict XVI. Do stay with CNN. You're watching our special coverage of the funeral. We'll be back.







FOSTER (voice-over): The end of an era in the Vatican today, an era where we have two popes, effectively, in the Vatican, one emeritus and one in power. And now, we see the funeral of Pope Benedict. So, we will have one pope. And what's particularly unusual about what we are seeing today is this is the first time ever, as we understand it, one pope presides over the funeral of another.

And the great and the good of the Catholic church, of course, there are many dignitaries around the world. It is not a full-scale papal funeral as we used to where you see heads of state from all over the world arriving because this is effectively stripped-down service and one which we believe Benedict requested.

Let us speak to Claire Giangrave. She is Vatican correspondent for Religion News Service. She is at the funeral in St. Peters's Square. What do you make of what we are seeing today? They had to sort of work out a plan, didn't they, because it's unprecedented?

CLAIRE GIANGRAVE, VATICAN CORRESPONDENT, RELIGION NEWS SERVICE: Well, we -- it is a pretty historic moment even at the Vatican where things have happened many times before. Pope Francis will be signing the end of a whole year that defined his pontificate and starting really on his own. But even this funeral now leads to some new questions about what it will be like for Pope Francis in the years forward.

FOSTER (voice-over): Pope Francis is obviously from a different side of the Catholic church from Benedict. But he is in honor, isn't it, for Benedict. He honors Benedict by presiding over this service. So, while they are often pitted against each other, they actually have a lot of respect for each other as individuals.

Claire, can you hear us okay?

GIANGRAVE (voice-over): Yes, now I can. I don't know it went completely muted.

FOSTER (voice-over): Claire, I wondered what you made of the fact that these were two popes that had a lot of respect for each other even though they represented very different wings of the Catholic church.

GIANGRAVE (voice-over): Well, from the beginning, both Pope Francis and Benedict XVI tried to really make an effort to show that they were working together in continuity in the church. But that, in time, changed as faithful saw a more progressive side in Pope Francis and a more conservative voice in Pope Benedict, who even in his silence was quite eloquent and inspired a sort of quiet resistance, some would say, from those who believe that perhaps Pope Francis was taking the church too far and encouraging conversations that not everyone shares.

The secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, really made an effort, though, when he spoke to Italian media, saying that the differences between Pope Benedict and Pope Francis today, at this funeral, can be set aside. He said, in fact, that they proved that they work together up until the end and that there is no conflict or opposition between the two points of view.

NOBILO (voice-over): And Claire, what will the international impact of Pope Benedict step be? How are Catholics paying tribute around the world?

GIANGRAVE (voice-over): Well, masses are being said over the world, including the United States. But really, the impact of Pope Benedict's legacy is going to be seen in the coming years. It will up to faithful to kind of come to terms to what it means to have lived through this unique experience.

I mean for perhaps many, it will sign the end of a time. This is one of the oldest reigning pontiffs, the oldest pontiff that we are saying goodbye to today.

[03:50:04] GIANGRAVE (voice-over): He represented a change in church, a church that started under the second Vatican council and now it's continuing with Pope Francis's efforts to speak with people today.

And it's also a big change in terms of what it means for popes, if they can now step down and retire. And it will change the perspective about what it means for popes to hold power, how long they should hold power. And as the church is now questioning these questions, it will remain very important.

Lastly, Benedict's legacy really is a theological legacy. It is not for everyone to grasp. But for a faithful who has been very attached to him today, claimed that his thinking changed their world view. The way he tried to reconcile faith and reason, which seems like abstract concepts that actually are quite real today, will really remain close to them.

Benedict warned, with his last words really, in his will, his spiritual will, that reason without faith, we cannot go anywhere, and vice versa. Really, that leaves a lasting impression on world leaders, religions and faithful trying to struggle with the demands of today and questions of faith.

FOSTER (voice-over): Just a quick word, if I can ask you, Claire. There was commentary online about Francis and how he looked very frail. Obviously, this is something that the correspondents have been reporting on for some while but other people hadn't been aware of. I mean, how is his state of health?

GIANGRAVE (voice-over): Well, Pope Francis has said many times that he is ready to step down as pope if that's necessary, if his health calls for it. He said he has already written down a sort of renunciation of sorts if his health could no longer carry him forward in the vision that he has for the pontificate.

Definitely, the fact that there was already a pope living in his backyard provided a sort of limit for Pope Francis to decide whether he was prepared to do that or not. Now, with Benedict dead and the historic moment of this funeral, the possibility of --

FOSTER: Okay, Claire, sorry, we're hearing the homily now.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): -- open to the individuals and their stories that he encountered along the way allowed himself to be shaped by the Father's will. He shouldered all the consequences and hardships entailed by the gospel, even to seeing his hands pierced for love.

See my hands, he says to Thomas and to each of us. Pierced hands that constantly reach out to us. Inviting us to recognize the love that God has for us and to believe in it.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit. This is the implication and the program of life that you quietly expire (ph) in us. Like a father, he wishes to shape the heart of every pastor until it is turned to the heart of Christ Jesus.

(INAUDIBLE) great devotion, service to the Lord and to his people, service borne of Thanksgiving for a completely gracious gift. You belong to me, you belong to them, the Lord whispers. You're under the protection of my hand, you're under the protection of my heart. Stay in my hands and give me yours.

Here, we see the condescension and closeness of God who's ready to entrust himself to the frail hands of his disciples so they can feed his people and stay with him. Take and eat. Take and drink. This is my body which is given up for you.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) prayer for devotion, a devotion silently shaped and refined. And at the challenges and resistance that every pastor must face. Interesting obedience to the lord's command to feed his flock.

Like the master, I shepherd bears, the burden of interceding. And a strain of anointing his people, especially in situations where goodness must struggle to prevail and the dignity of our brothers and sisters is threatened.

In this (INAUDIBLE) intercession, the Lord quietly bestows the spirit of meekness (ph) that is ready to understand, accept, hope and risk, notwithstanding any misunderstandings that might result.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): It is the source of an unseen and elusive fruitfulness. Born of his knowing the one and whom he has placed his trust. A trust itself born of prayer and adoration, capable of discerning what is expected of a pastor and shaping his heart and his decisions in accord with God's good time.

Feeding means loving and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good. The nourishment of God's truth, of God's word, the nourishment of his presence.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Dedication (INAUDIBLE) by the consolation of the spirit who always (INAUDIBLE) his mission. The passion effort to communicate the beauty and the joy of the gospel, and the fruitful witness of all those who like Mary in so many ways stand at the front of the cross.

And the painful yet steadfast serenity that neither (INAUDIBLE). And the stubborn (INAUDIBLE) that the Lord will be faithful to his promise. The promise he made to our fathers and to their descendants forever.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): And also for us holding fast to the Lord's last words and to the witness of his entire life. We, too, as an ecclesial community, want to follow in his steps and to commend our brother into the hands of the Father. May those merciful hands find his lamb a light with the oil of the gospel that he spread and testified to for his entire life.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): At the end of his pastoral rule, Saint Gregory the Great urged a friend to offer him the spiritual accompaniment (ph). He said this. The shipwreck of the present life sustained me. I beseech you that the plank of your prayer (INAUDIBLE) sinks me down.

The hand of your (INAUDIBLE) will raise me up. Here, we see the awareness of a pastor who could not carry alone and within truth he can never carry alone. And can thus commend himself to the prayers and the care of the people entrusted to him.

And God's faithful people gathered here now accompanies and entrust to Him the life of the one who has surpassed. Like the women at the tomb, we too have come with fragrance of gratitude and the balm of hope in order to show him once more the love that is undying.

We want to do this with the same wisdom and tenderness and devotion that he bestowed upon us over the years. Together we want to say, Father, in your hands, we commend his spirit.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): And Pope Francis concluded his homily. Benedict, faithful friend of the bridegroom, may your joy be complete as you hear His voice now and forever.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): And we pause briefly in silence to reflect upon the words of scripture and the words of our holy father, Pope Francis.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Worthy of note, the homily we just heard contained a number of citations directly from Pope Benedict, from his encyclical Deus caritas est, from the Christmas homily he gave in 2006, and the homily for the beginning of his pontificate in 2005.