Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s final words before death revealed

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s last words before he died Saturday were, “Lord, I love you,” according to his longtime secretary.

Archbishop Georg Gaenswein quoted a nurse who was helping the 95-year-old and heard the words shortly before his death on New Year’s Eve.

The nurse recalled Benedict making the short statement at about 3 a.m. before he died later that morning, Gaenswein said.

“Benedict XVI, with a faint voice but in a very distinct way, said in Italian, ‘Lord, I love you,’” Gaenswein told the Vatican’s official media Sunday.

“I wasn’t there in that moment, but the nurse a little later recounted it.

“They were his last comprehensible words, because afterwards, he wasn’t able to express himself any more.”

Gaenswin, a German prelate, lived in the Vatican monastery where Benedict resided after he retired from the post in 2013.

The body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lies at the Monastero Mater Ecclesia in Vatican City.
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The Vatican reported that Pope Francis paid his respects right after Gaenswein called to inform him that Benedict had died a little after 9:30 a.m.

Francis prayed for Benedict’s passage to heaven and expressed appreciation for his service as head of the Catholic Church that lasted eight years.

“Today we entrust to our Blessed Mother our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, so that she may accompany him in his passage from this world to God,” he said.

A view of the convent of Mater Ecclesiae, the residence of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
A view of the convent of Mater Ecclesiae, the residence of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
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Benedict’s coffin will be viewed for three days starting Monday with no fewer than 25,000 to 30,000 mourners expected that day, said Rome Prefect Bruno Frattasi, an Interior Ministry official to Italian state television.

His body lay on a burgundy-colored bier in the chapel of the monastery where he lived in retirement.

With Post wires

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