Tuesday, April 05, 2005

But if he'll have been there for four days, he'll stinketh


VATICAN CITY - Departing from tradition, Pope John Paul II was not embalmed, only "prepared" for viewing by hundreds of thousands of mourners, the Vatican said Tuesday.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls did not elaborate on the procedure, but an embalmer in Rome said it appeared John Paul's remains were only touched up with cosmetics.

Massimo Signoracci, whose family embalmed three other popes, said he could not be certain what had been done without examining the body.

Signoracci said even a light embalming is necessary for a body that is exposed for several days.

John Paul died on Saturday, and his remains were put on public view late Monday on an open platform in St. Peter's Basilica. He will be buried Friday...

Signoracci said his family had embalmed the remains of John XXIII in 1963, and of Paul VI and John Paul I, who both died in 1978.

Paul VI was only lightly embalmed before his body was placed before the public during Rome's hot summer. But after two days the skin and fingernails began losing their color.

Things could get interesting if there's a hot spell in Italy this week.

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