Pope John Paul’s coffin to be exhumed for faithful

February 18, 2011
jp2 coffin

(The coffin of the late Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 8, 2005/Yves Herman)

Faithful attending the beatification of Pope John Paul in Rome will be able to pray before his coffin, which will be exhumed for the event, the Vatican said on Friday.

The Vatican also warned the faithful around the world not to fall prey to fraudsters, particularly on the Internet, who are selling tickets to the beatification ceremony on May 1.

“For the beatification Mass of Pope John Paul II, as made clear from the outset, no tickets are required,” the Vatican said.

It said people should also steer clear of tour operators promising to procure tickets as part of their packages.

Italian authorities and Church officials say perhaps more than a million people may attend the mass at which John Paul, who died in 2005, will be declared a blessed of the Church and move one step closer to sainthood.

The ceremony in St Peter’s Square, one of several over three days, will hark back to the funeral of the charismatic pope, which was one of the biggest media events of the new century.

jp2 tomb

(The tomb of the late Pope John Paul II under Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 2, 2009/Osservatore Romano)

John Paul’s wooden coffin will be exhumed from its current place in the crypts below St Peter’s Basilica.

After the beatification mass in the square it will be placed before the main altar inside the basilica. The closed coffin will remain there for viewing and veneration non-stop until everyone who wants to can see it, the Vatican said.

The night before the beatification ceremony, a prayer vigil will be held at Rome’s massive Circus Maximus, the oval shaped field which was a racing track in ancient times.

A mass of thanksgiving will be held in St Peter’s Square on May 2, the day after the beatification, and then his remains will be moved to their new resting place in a side chapel of St Peter’s Basilica.

Read the full story here.


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One comment

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Desecration of human remains, in my opinion. The faithful don’t need to see the actual coffin holding the remains…it’s rather macabre to dig up anyone’s coffin, Pope or not. It’s far better to leave his bones undisturbed and I question the purpose and the necessity to remove him to a new resting place because he’s beatified. And, you can bet his coffin will be opened secretly by the Vatican to determine whether or not his body shows signs of natural decomposition or not. If not, they can then claim a miracle to support their quest to officially declare the Pope a Saint. Modern day gravediggers are having a field day in their quest to prove or disprove one thing or another by digging up ancient graves, and it should be against the law to exhume remains for religious purposes or otherwise.

Posted by minutemanII | Report as abusive