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Cassandra Morgan

Australian Catholics mourn Benedict

A memorial mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict was held at St Francis Xavier's Cathedral in Adelaide. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Australian Catholics are mourning the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as his requiem mass is held in Rome.

The funeral mass for Benedict was being held at St Peter's Square in Vatican City on Thursday, beginning at 9.30am Rome time (7.30pm AEDT).

Pope Francis was presiding over the funeral, with Australia represented in Rome by ambassador to the Holy See, Chiara Porro.

The Australian flag was flying at half-mast all day on Thursday at government departments and agencies in honour of the late pope.

Australian Cardinal George Pell was among high-profile mourners who viewed Benedict's body inside St Peter's Basilica at The Vatican ahead of the funeral mass.

Benedict was the head of the Roman Catholic Church from 2005 until he retired in 2013.

He died at age 95 on Saturday in a Vatican gardens monastery.

In Adelaide, St Francis Xavier's Cathedral will hold a special memorial mass for Benedict at 5.45pm (ACDT) on Thursday, celebrated by Vicar General Father Dean Marin.

In Melbourne, a holy hour was being held at St Patrick's Cathedral to remember Benedict's life from 6.30pm (AEDT) on Thursday.

Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli asked that faith communities offer a mass for Benedict.

The archbishop is to lead a memorial mass for Benedict at St Patrick's Cathedral at 6.30pm on January 29, about a month after the pope's death.

In Sydney, St Mary's Cathedral will hold a solemn pontifical requiem mass for the late pope at 5.30pm on January 12.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher, who travelled to Rome to represent Australia at Benedict's funeral, will preside over the mass.

It will be broadcast on the cathedral's YouTube channel.

Archbishop Fisher, in a statement through the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, remembered Benedict as "one of the finest minds and most faithful souls to fill the chair of St Peter in the last two millennia".

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge will preside over a mass to celebrate the former pope's life at The Cathedral of St Stephen at 11.30am on Saturday.

The mass will be broadcast through the cathedral's website, and also on the Archdiocese of Brisbane's website.

Perth's St Mary's Cathedral will hold a mass for Benedict at 11am on Sunday, with Archbishop Timothy Costelloe presiding over it.

Archbishop Costelloe said Benedict's death brought to an end "the earthly life of a man of deep faith, of gentleness and humility".

In Canberra, St Christopher's Cathedral will host a mass for Benedict at 6pm on Thursday, while in Darwin, a requiem mass to celebrate the former pope will be held at St Mary's Star of the Sea Cathedral at 6.30pm on Thursday.

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