Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine
Taken from Bishop David's blog here.
It was not what I was planning for the week after the New Year break, but nevertheless it was a privilege to be one of the representatives of the Anglican Communion at the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop Christopher Hill, a distinguished ecumenist and one of my predecessors as Co-Secretary of ARCIC, and Archbishop Ian Ernest the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and I made up the trio of delegates.
It was cold and rather misty morning in St Peter's Square (and we were seated 2 hours before the mass began). But the square was soon filled with mourners from around the world who joined prayerfully in the requiem at which Pope Francis presided (from the chair) with the cardinals and bishops concelebrating.
There is no denying the range of views about Pope Benedict. He was loved by some for his strong teaching, particularly in his encyclical letters, and his emphasis on the beauty of the liturgy which he taught should be at the heart of the Church's life. Others were less pleased with the inadequate way he dealt with clerical abuse and with his conservative theological positions. But at his simple, dignified funeral such differences were put aside; we were all aware that we had gathered to commend a human being, like us prone to failings and error, to God our loving and merciful Father.
I was able to speak to Pope Francis for a moment to convey the condolences of the people of the Church of England Diocese in Europe.