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Pope Benedict XVI funeral ceremony underway (see photos)

The funeral of former Pope Benedict XVI, who died Saturday at the age of 95, began Thursday in a traditional ceremony led by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

In line with Benedict’s wishes, his funeral will be “simple,” according to the director of the press office of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni. It will be the first occasion in modern times a pope has presided over his predecessor’s funeral.

Members of the faithful have lined the square, which can seat approximately 60,000 people, in anticipation of the ceremony.

The ceremony will be similar to that of a reigning pope but there will be some modifications, Bruni said. Benedict will be named pope emeritus during the funeral, and the language of some prayers will be different because he was not the reigning pope when he died.

Pope benedict 94
Pope benedict 93

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