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Beliefnet News

John Paul’s Casket Unearthed for Beatification

c. 2011 Religion News Service

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The casket of the late Pope John Paul II was exhumed Friday (April 29), in preparation for the late pontiff’s beatification ceremony on Sunday.

John Paul’s casket was removed in the early morning hours from its tomb in the Vatican Grottoes, under St. Peter’s Basilica, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office.

At 9 a.m., a brief prayer service at the opened tomb was attended by several Vatican officials, including the church’s No. 2 official, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Several dozen others, including nuns who worked in the papal residence during John Paul’s reign, also attended.


The casket was then wheeled about 20 yards to a spot beside the tomb of St. Peter, where it will remain until it is carried up to a spot in front of the basilica’s main altar.

After Pope Benedict XVI declares his predecessor “blessed” and puts him one step away from sainthood on Sunday, the public will be admitted to pay homage to John Paul’s remains until the early morning hours of Monday (May 2).

On Monday evening, the casket will be moved to a new permanent home in the basilica’s Chapel of St. Sebastian, near Michelangelo’s famed statue of the Pieta.

Lombardi said that John Paul’s body rests in a nested set of three caskets, one of metal and two of wood. The outermost casket is adorned with a cross, John Paul’s papal coat of arms, and a plaque inscribed in Latin with key dates of his life and pontificate.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    One has to dig up his body for all this special stuff? ICK!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment kenneth

    You would think that if your magick was strong enough to transform grain wafers and bargain wine into a god’s body and strong enough to brand someone’s very soul with ordinary water (baptism), that a blessing would be powerful enough to penetrate six feet of soil….

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment MH

    This strikes me as just plain gross.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment tsk tsk

    Aww, what a sad group of people you must be to go out of your way to post comments like that to something that so many believe in. Stupid world will never change. No repect for other’s religions, no respect for others in general.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment nnmns

    tsk, I think a lot of us would be content to leave those people in their foolish peace except that the RCC impacts so strongly on our world. Get them out of our politics and I, for one, will have less to say about them.

    But in the mean time they are fair game. And they are such easy targets.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    tsk—I agree with nnmns—the RCC makes themselves targets—easy ones. Watching the news this evening reporting on JP2 being made a really special dude—there are grown men in dresses KISSING the casket. Who in their right mind kisses a casket that has spent how many years in the ground? Dudes in dresses worshiping a box with a dead dude in it. That’s just strange on all levels.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Bill Ding

    Dont forget that before he can be sainted, they have to open the casket and see if his body is all rotted into papal goo, or like the other saints is incorruptible and still just like it was the day he died. Now that is GROSS….. And if it is a lead box full of papal goo, what then do they do with all the goo, just put it back and forget about it. Remember the law suits against Batesville Casket Company, the anerobic bacteria present inside a sealed casket thrive in an oxygen free environment, and turn the body into a puddle of slime, so if he isnt papal goo, he will certainly be a saint. But if he is papel goo, does that nix the sainthood deal ?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Elisa

    Bill Ding, pagansister and kenneth, are perfect examples of the idiotic and disrespectful opinions
    that Beliefnet will hopefully change. Too bad people like this are proud to parade the fact that they
    have the intelligence of lunch meat. The whole point of this website is to foster RESPECT for your
    fellow mans belief systems. You may not adopt or condone someone else’s religious opinions,
    but to blatantly mock them shows you people are amazingly unevolved. I am ashamed that
    I belong to a species that in the year 2011 still harbors such unenlightened thinking. Please try
    to learn SOMETHING you are giving the human race a bad name.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment nnmns

    Interesting, Bill. I didn’t know that. But if it’s true I think we can safely assume his body was well treated with preservative before burial.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    I would imagine he would have been “preserved” with the proper fluids—remove blood insert whatever it is instead. He had an open casket (I think) so that would have not been possible without being embalmed. So if he isn’t goo, it has nothing to do with his natural body not rotting because he was/is special saint material.

    What is your problem, Elisa? Not everyone agrees on articles here, that is the whole point. It’s called expressing your opinion. If, in this case, digging up a dead guy so the folks can kiss his casket and pray to him is for you—great—it’s not for everyone and thus the discussion. If indeed reading disagreement upsets you may I suggest you don’t read them? Have a nice day. :o)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Issabhandhu

    I am a crypt-keeper at a very nice Mausoleum.
    I see nothing awkward or out-of-line with this kind of reverence.
    His body was well sheltered and I’m guessing, in appreciable condition.
    It is more the technical feat that I appreciate. To move his Blessed body to it’s new disposition, all the while trying not to disturb the preservation.
    Best wishes to the Mausoleum Team!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    of course nnmns and pagan find it easy to disrespect other’s religion they’ve got their own little Westboro Baptist going on here, and Phelps has nothing on nnmns.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    Having a bad day,(or night) cknuck??

    The fact that those dudes want to unearth a body so they can kiss the casket containing the body, and basically worship the body inside seems to me contrary to the commandment against idol worship.

    As for your cute Westboro comment? I consider the source and disragard it. :o)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    OOPs! cknuck. spelling error…can’t have that: disregard it.

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