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Bury Me In Rome, Not Vatican – Pope Francis




Bury Me In Rome, Not Vatican - Pope Francis

Pope Francis has announced his decision to be buried in a Roman basilica, breaking from the convention of resting alongside his immediate predecessors in St Peter’s Basilica.

In an interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa’s N+ streaming service, the pontiff, who is turning 87 this weekend, disclosed, “The place is already prepared. I want to be buried in Santa Maria Maggiore.”

In the same conversation, Pope Francis revealed plans to visit Belgium in 2024 and expressed the hope of visiting his native Argentina and Polynesia.

His decision marks a departure from tradition, making him the first pope in over a century to choose a burial site outside the Vatican. The last pope to do so was Leo XIII, who passed away in 1903, with his remains interred in the Basilica of St. John the Lateran in Rome.

Santa Maria Maggiore, one of Rome’s four papal basilicas, holds special significance for Pope Francis, as he often visited it on Sundays before his papacy.

Since assuming the papacy in 2013, he has continued to pray there, both before and after his travels, as well as following surgical procedures.

Seven previous popes rest in Santa Maria Maggiore, according to the Vatican News official media outlet.

Pope Francis, facing health challenges, recently had to cancel a visit to the COP28 climate talks in Dubai due to bronchitis.

In the recorded interview, where he appeared in improved health, the pope acknowledged his predecessor, Benedict XVI, for the courage to resign due to failing health in 2013.

Benedict passed away on December 31, 2022, and was buried in the tomb beneath St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the same resting place as former Pope John Paul II before his beatification in 2011.

While open to following Benedict’s example if unable to fulfil his duties, Pope Francis emphasized that resigning should not become a norm for popes.