Pope Francis leads funeral for predecessor Benedict XVI, a first in modern times

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Pope Francis paid tribute to his predecessor former Pope Benedict XVI Thursday, in a funeral attended by tens of thousands of mourners at St. Peter’s Square.

The event marked the first occasion in modern times that a pontiff had presided over the funeral of his predecessor – and the first ever of one who resigned. Benedict, the first pontiff in almost 600 years to resign his position, rather than hold office for life, died aged 95 on December 31 at a monastery in Vatican City.

It was an occasion characterized by simplicity, as per the wish of the former pope. “It’s difficult to have a simple service in St. Peter’s Square, but I think it was,” Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, writer and editor, told CNN’s Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo on CNN Newsroom.




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