The College of Cardinals convened in the Vatican today and Italian news agencies reported that it decided that Pope John Paul’s funeral will be held on Friday at 9am Irish time.
ANSA and Apcom cited “well-informed” but unidentified sources on the funeral. Under Vatican tradition, it would have to be held between Wednesday and Friday.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said there would be a news briefing at 12.15 Irish time.
The meeting at the Bologna Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, which lasted about two and a half, was the first gathering of the world’s Roman Catholic cardinals since the pontiff’s death.
After taking an oath of secrecy, they were to open any final documents John Paul may have prepared for them and to set a date for this week’s funeral.
The body of John Paul emerges from an inner sanctum of the Vatican this afternoon for the public to bid farewell. It was displayed Sunday for prelates, ambassadors and other dignitaries. Vatican employees filed silently past the body this morning to pay their last respects.
The former chief rabbi of Rome, Elio Toaff, who had hosted John Paul during his historic visit to Rome’s central synagogue in 1986, viewed the body today. He raised his arm before the body in a gesture of tribute.
John Paul’s body appeared to have been touched up or embalmed overnight.
Up to two million mourners are expected in Rome to pay tribute to the Polish-born prelate who reigned firmly over his flock for 26 years with unbending loyalty to its ancient precepts, resisting calls from modernises for the church to adapt.