Vatican City, Jan 2 (EFE).- The security of the Italian capital has been reinforced on the occasion of the funeral chapel and the funeral of the emeritus pontiff Benedict XVI, with the presence of more than a thousand police officers and the closure of airspace in Saint Peter’s Square for the funeral that next Thursday will be presided over by Pope Francis.
“Our objective is to guarantee the safety of those who wish to pay their respects,” said the prefect of Rome or government delegate, Bruno Frattasi, explaining the measures adopted at the meeting of the provincial commission for public order and security on the occasion of the operation deployed during the last goodbye to the German pope.
Some 35,000 people are expected to come to say goodbye to Benedict XVI during the three days of the funeral chapel, which opened today, while up to 60,000 will be present at his funeral, which Pope Francis will preside over next Thursday, also in the Plaza de San Vatican Peter.
“We will have at least 1,000 law enforcement officers on the ground for the funeral, a number not less than what was planned for New Year’s Eve,” Frattasi said at the end of the meeting held this Sunday, when he confirmed that the day of the funerals “An interdiction of the airspace over Saint Peter’s Square is planned”
In addition, during the three days of the funeral chapel, there will be a deployment of several mobile medical units and ambulances, as well as 500 Civil Protection volunteers who will also have the task of reporting on queues and waiting.
The prefect will reconvene the commission tomorrow for one last check before the funeral.
The funeral chapel of the pope emeritus, who died on December 31 at the age of 95, opened today at 9:00 am (8:00 am GMT), for the last goodbye of the faithful, hundreds of whom have been waiting in line since the early hours of the morning. dawn to enter the basilica of San Pedro and say goodbye to the pontiff.
The basilica will remain open this Monday for ten hours, but that schedule will increase on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the faithful will be able to pass before the body of the deceased pope from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (6:00-18:00 GMT).
On Thursday at 9.30 (8.30 GMT) his successor, Francis, will preside over the funeral in Saint Peter’s Square, in the presence of faithful and official delegations from Italy and Ratzinger’s native country, Germany. Other authorities may attend in their personal capacity.
The funeral chapel of Benedict XVI was installed in the central nave of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, in front of the so-called confession altar, next to Bernini’s famous canopy.
The remains were transferred there from the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where the pope emeritus resided since his historic resignation in February 2013 and where this Sunday they were watched over by friends, citizens and Vatican workers, as well as by cardinals and members of the Curia.
Before opening the funeral chapel in the basilica, a private liturgy was celebrated with the cardinals and those closest to the pontiff. Among those present were the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and the Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni. EFE