Before the requiem for the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. his longtime confidante and private secretary Georg Gänswein said goodbye with a special gesture. The archbishop bent over the coffin in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday morning and kissed it.

Nobody has been closer to Benedict than Gänswein in recent years. In 2012 he was appointed curial archbishop by his mentor – that is, a bishop with a function in the Vatican but without a diocese – after he had been Benedict’s assistant and secretary for almost ten years. The two were already working together when Benedict was still Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under his birth name Joseph Ratzinger.