VATICAN CITY—In a requiem mass that followed strict liturgical protocol for a deceased head of the Roman Catholic Church, the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI reportedly concluded Thursday with the ritual eating of the former pontiff’s body. “Father, into your hands I commend his spirit, as we commend to our stomachs his body and blood,” Pope Francis said as he presided over the solemn ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica, ripping a finger off the late Benedict’s corpse, raising it up for the Lord’s final blessing, and then sucking out the marrow in a church custom believed to date back more than a thousand years. “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is our pope. Take these arms and these legs, and with their blood let your thirst be quenched. God has made this sacred flesh to nourish us, however tough and stringy it may be. Don’t be shy, my children, come now—there are still plenty of ribs and shanks left.” At press time, church officials announced that any leftovers would be turned into papal jerky and made available for a limited time in the Vatican gift shop.
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