What will Pope Benedict XVI's funeral look like?

STORY: What will Pope Benedict XVI's funeral look like?

[Philip Puellella, Vatican analyst]

"The funeral for former Pope Benedict XVI will be very similar to the funeral that would be held for a pope who died while reigning in office. There had been some speculations before that the funeral would have to be vastly different because he was no longer pope when he died but the Vatican has just decided that the funeral service will be nearly identical. The prayers will be slightly different, but for the rest of it, it will be pretty much similar to as if he had died while on the throne of St. Peter."

The funeral will take place on January 5 in St. Peter's Square

following three days of public viewing of the former pope's body

"At about 08.45 a.m. (0745GMT) the casket holding the remains of Pope Benedict will be taken out of the Basilica and placed in front of the Basilica. Pope Francis, who will preside at the ceremony, at first will sit in front of the casket, facing the crowd and he will bless it and will say a few words. After the funeral mass which is expected to be attended by maybe 75,000 people, the casket will be brought back into St. Peter's Basilica and it will be taken down into the crypts where previous popes are buried. That casket, which will be made of cypress wood, will then be put into another casket which is made of zinc, it will be sealed and that one will be put into another casket made of wood. So there will be three coffins. After that, the casket will be buried in the crypts below St. Peter's Basilica.''

In 2013, Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope in about 600 years

to abdicate instead of ruling for life

‘’Pope Benedict before he died asked that he be buried in the same spot where Pope John Paul II was first buried in 2005, which is the year that he died. That spot is vacant now because in 2011 the body of John Paul II was brought up to the main level of the Basilica where is now on display in a chapel to the left of the chapel that holds the Pieta."