Pope Benedict's body lies in state at St Peter's Basilica ahead of Thursday's funeral

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By Euronews
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lying in state at a Vatican chapel.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lying in state at a Vatican chapel.   -  Copyright  Vatican Media/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Thousands of people are expected to pay their respects to former pope Benedict XVI as a period of lying in state begins ahead of his funeral on Thursday.

Benedict's body was displayed on Sunday in a chapel of the Vatican monastery where he lived, but is now in St Peter’s Basilica for those who wish to pay tribute to him in person.

Benedict had a mixed reputation - he was regarded as a unrivalled theologian but attracted criticism for his failures to recognise and act on the scale of sexual abuse within the global Roman Catholic church.

He made history first as the first German pope in over 400 years and again in 2013, when he became the first pope to resign in 600 years. His death ends an era which saw two living men in white robes.

Current Pope Francis I is facing his own health problems, which raises the question as to whether he might follow in his predecessors footsteps and retire, should they impede his ability to do the job.

Benedict's funeral will be held in St Peter’s Square and will be a simple, solemn and sober ceremony in keeping with his wishes..