1672720205 Vatican

Vatican anticlimax


Death is not the end. For those who want to believe it, of course. But sometimes it’s not even the beginning. That of Benedict XVI. is the first time in six centuries that a pope has left us without a conclave. Anticlimax in the Vatican.

There were no chairs during the funeral of John Paul I. Carlo Confalonieri presided, 93 cardinals concelebrated and when they sat down they found the situation. It was no surprise, it had happened months earlier, at Paul VI’s funeral. There is no record of it occurring with John Paul II, although 140 cardinals concelebrated – and Ratzinger presided. Nor does it look like it’s going to happen at Benedict’s Church, which is at 9 a.m. next Thursday and will be presided over by Pope Francis. It’s what has to die on the bench, maybe Juan Carlos I is thinking about it.

The body will not be carried in procession, it will not carry a canopy, the participating heads of state will only do so in their personal capacity, and the Camerlegno will not intervene because a pope is not buried. Someone who has been buried will be buried. They promise a solemn but sober funeral. Solemn, but little. Ana Blanco and Lorenzo Milá broadcast the funeral of John Paul II, Televisión Española’s first full broadcast. It had an audience share of 40% with just over 1,700,000 viewers. And Antena 3 and Telecinco also told it live. Benedicto’s is simulcast on TVE, I still don’t know who’s behind the wheel. It will certainly have a small audience.

We bury someone who renounced the ministry of God on earth with very little pomp and pomp, a priceless token of a time that believed not only in faith but also in ritual. We have many chairs and we lack seating.

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