• Short Summary

    Thousands of mourners field past the body of Pope Paul VI as it lay in state in the papal summer palace at Castel Gandolfo on Monday (7 August).

  • Description

    Thousands of mourners field past the body of Pope Paul VI as it lay in state in the papal summer palace at Castel Gandolfo on Monday (7 August). The impact of the late Pontiff's death of hearth failure on Sunday (6 August) was felt deeply in his birthplace of Concesio, northern Italy. The cardinals who had been in Rome when the Pope died, went on Tuesday to Castel Gandolfo, which is thirty-eight miles south of the Italian capital, in the Alban hills, to pay homage. On Monday evening, about three thousand mourners went to St. Peter's Basilica, in Rome for a Requism Mass.

    SYNOPSIS: Security Guards at the Vatican City placed a chain across a man entrance. The historic procedures were already in motion to summon the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church to elect a successor to Pope Paul. The Conclave of cardinals must begin within eighteen days of the Pope's death, and is expected to get underway soon after the nine days of official mourning have ended. Vatican Secretary of State Jean Villot, who is a sixty-two-year-old French Cardinal, has taken over the Church's central administration.

    Procedures are following the constitution for papal succession that late Pope himself laid down three years ago.

    This is the township of Concesio, near Brescia, northern Italy, where Pope Paul was born in September 1897 and christened Giovanni Battista Montini. His family was devout and prosperous. A commemorative stone honours the township's most famous son, who had been archbishop of milan before becoming Pope in June 1963. In Concesio, the mourning had a deeper edge of sadness.

    The Pope lying in state. He had been in frail health for several years, and was given to speaking often of death in his final months, and calmly accepting its imminence. The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore on Monday praised this serenity as the most difficult teaching, showing how to prepare for death. The Vatican announced the same day that the Pope's body would be brought to St. Peter's from Castel Gandolfo on Wednesday.

    When official mourning is over, more than one hundred cardinals eligible to vote will assemble in the Sistine Chapel and stay there until they chose the new Pope. Observers believe he will be chosen from the skilled veterans of the Curia, the Vatican's central government.

    The Requiem Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Monday evening market the start of the official mourning for the Pope. The estimated three thousand mourners had been summoned by the solemn note of tolling bells into this, the mother church of the Roman Catholic faith. Archbishop Aurelio Sabattani paid tribute to Pope Paul, who will be laid to rest in the Basilica on Saturday (12 August). When Pope Paul prayed there six weeks ago, he had surmised that it would be his last chance to pray 'at the tomb of St. Peter'.

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