Tags: Pope | Buried | After | Biggest | Funeral | History

Pope Buried After Biggest Funeral in History

Friday, 08 April 2005 12:00 AM

Ratzinger talked about the life of the former Karol Wojtyla, beginning with his days as a factory worker in Poland during World War II when the country was under Nazi occupation. He also mentioned one of the pope's final appearances at his Vatican apartment window on Easter Sunday.

"We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the father's house," said an emotional Ratzinger, pointing high above. The pope "sees and blesses us," he said.

"Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality - our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time of joyful hope and profound gratitude."

The open-air service in St. Peter's Square, watched on television by billions, was one of the largest gatherings of international leaders in history. Commentators have also called it one of the world's largest religious gatherings.

Heads of state and government from more than 80 nations attended the funeral, including Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders.

President George W. Bush headed an American delegation that included two former presidents -- his father and Bill Clinton; and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Heads of state were seated in alphabetical order, a protocol that sometimes placed world leaders who have strained relations close to each other.

President Mohammed Khatami of Iran was seated near Israeli President Moshe Katsav. President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush were seated next to President Jacques Chirac and his wife.

Security in Rome was tightly controlled with air space closed to all traffic and no cars circulating in the city since midnight.

Patrol ships, NATO surveillance planes and anti-aircraft rocket launchers were mobilized to protect the world leaders and huge crowds, but the funeral went on without incident.

The funeral mass was continuously interrupted by applause and at one point, the crowd took up a chant demanding sainthood for the pope.

Some four million Roman Catholic pilgrims, many of them from the pope's home country of Poland, flooded into Rome in the past week, sleeping in tents and/or sleeping bags. Those lucky enough to arrive in time stood in line for hours to view the pope's body.

Pope John Paul II has been praised for his achievements in human rights and his contributions to peace in the world, including his personal efforts to bring about the end of communism.

However, the Catholic Church under the pope's leadership also advocated a conservative doctrine that some have criticized as out of place in the modern world.

Europe, where the dominantly Christian population considers itself mostly secular, has been taken aback by the outpouring of emotion at the death of the man who headed the Roman Catholic Church since 1978.

In France, opposition political parties have criticized the secular government for ordering flags to be flown at half staff at a time when all religious insignia such as Muslim headscarves, Jewish skullcaps and large crosses have been banned from public schools.

In Spain, some Communist and Socialist parliamentarians decided not to stand during a minute of silence offered to the pope by the Spanish parliament.

In his will, Pope John Paul II requested that he should be buried in the "bare earth." His final resting place will be under St. Peter's Basilica, near the remains of St. Peter, which are said to be buried at that spot.

Copyright: CNSNews.com.

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Ratzinger talked about the life of the former Karol Wojtyla, beginning with his days as a factory worker in Poland during World War II when the country was under Nazi occupation. He also mentioned one of the pope's final appearances at his Vatican apartment window on Easter...
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Friday, 08 April 2005 12:00 AM
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