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Vatican to open Pope's grotto

The College of Cardinals resumed its pre-conclave discussions about the state of the Church yesterday as the Vatican prepared to open the grottos beneath St. Peter's Basilica to the public for the first time since Pope John Paul II was laid to rest there.

Starting at 7:00 am local time today, the public will be able to visit John Paul's simple tomb, placed in the ground and covered by a plain white-marble slab etched with his name and the dates of his pontificate.

Cardinals were expected to visit the tomb as a group on Tuesday evening following the fifth of nine Masses of mourning for John Paul, celebrated by Brazilian Cardinal Eugenio Sales de Araujo.

The Mass is celebrated with the participation of the entire College of Cardinals, in front of thousands of pilgrims and is broadcast live on Italian television. By its very nature it raises the profile of whoever leads it.

The homily delivered during the daily ritual also is closely scrutinised for signals indicating how the cardinal may vote in the upcoming conclave to choose a new pope or what his priorities might be.

So far, the cardinals have been careful to abide by a pledge of silence regarding all things related to the conclave, which begins on Monday. However, at the end of Monday's meeting, Indian Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil was quoted as telling the APcom news agency he thought John Paul's successor would be chosen quickly.

"We'll have John Paul II's successor in a couple of days, maximum three," he was quoted as telling APcom. "In my opinion, it will be a rather short conclave, at least it seems to me these are the prospects."

Outside in St. Peter's Square, special edition Vatican stamps went on sale yesterday. The "vacant see" stamps mark the period between John Paul's death and the election of his successor, and are expected to be snapped up quickly by collectors.

The Vatican also released a video giving outsiders a peek at the conclave where a new pope will be selected by the 115 cardinals who are under age 80 and thus eligible to vote.

Vatican to open pope's grotto (CNN 12/4/05)

Farewelling Pope John Paul II - a personal reflection from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Francis Carroll, in Rome (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 12/4/05)
"He's moved on a stage that's absolutely gigantic" - Cardinal Pell ( 12/4/05)
Vatican to open pope's grotto (CNN 12/4/05)
Anger over Catholic Church's endorsement of Archbishop of Boston (ABC Radio The World Today 12/4/05)
Cardinals to pray at pope's tomb before it opens to public (Catholic News Service 11/4/05)
Cardinal Law says pope went to ends of the earth to preach Gospels (Catholic News Service 11/4/05)
Papal apartments sealed, Cardinals to receive official condolences from world diplomats tomorrow (Catholic News Agency 12/4/05)
College of Cardinals to pray before tomb of John Paul II Tuesday afternoon (Catholic News Agency 12/4/05)
Papal apartments closed; papal seal destroyed (Catholic World News 12/4/05)
Brazilian cardinal sure that John Paul II is in heaven (Catholic World News 12/4/05)
On WYD 2005 web site young people of the world write messages about Pope John Paul II. German Bishops call Catholics to give generously to support World Youth Day and help renew missionary spirit (Fides 11/4/05)
Vatican to Open John Paul's Tomb (The Herald-Sun Durham North Carolina/Associated Press 12/4/05)
Pilgrims may visit John Paul II's grave from tomorrow (Vatican Information Service/Independent Catholic News 12/4/05)
John Paul II's Tomb May Be Visited Starting Wednesday (Zenit 11/4/05 - temporary url)

Italian paper backs Pell for pope (The Australian 13/4/05)
Pope poll picks Italian cardinal (The Ledger-Enquirer 12/4/05)
"He's moved on a stage that's absolutely gigantic" - Cardinal Pell ( 12/4/05)
Opus Dei awaits papal decision (Irish Times 12/4/05)
Betting on the papal stakes (BBC 12/4/05)
Issue for Cardinals: Islam As Rival or Partner in Talks (Pew Forum 12/4/05)
Cardinals resume pre-conclave talks (Seven News/Australian Associated Press 12y/4/05)
New 'Flying Saucer' Urns to Receive Papal Ballots (Reuters 11/4/05)
Who is worthy? Cardinals look for pope who will 'be himself' (Catholic News Service 10/4/05)
Vatican: 'May the Lord illuminate the minds of the papal electors' (Catholic News Agency 12/4/05)
Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, a "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"? ( the Vatican 12/4/05)
Plans set for opening of conclave (Catholic World News 12/4/05)
Venice Cardinal Projecting Dynamic Image (The Guardian/Associated Press 12/4/05)
Cardinals Discuss Church Finances (The Guardian/Associated Press 12/4/05)
Electronic Spying Threatens Vatican Secrecy (The Herald-Sun Durham North Carolina/Associated Press 12/4/05)
Wanted as next pope: A man of the people (New York Times/International Herald Tribune 11/4/05)
Three cardinals emphasize collegiality (National Catholic Reporter 12/4/05)
Conclaves were once raucous and long (National Catholic Reporter 12/4/05)
Issue for Cardinals: Islam as Rival or Partner in Talks (New York Times 12/4/05)
Cardinals begin countdown to conclave (New Zealand Herald 12/4/05)
Desmond O'Grady: Rome Diary 2: Here Comes Everybody! (Online Catholics 13/4/05)
Secrets of the conclave (The Age 13/4/05)
The legend of Pope John, or should that be Pope Joan? (The Age 13/4/05)
Cardinal Ruini Calls for a Bold Church, as Pope Wished (Zenit 11/4/05 - temporary url)
Cardinal accused of manipulating vote (Sydney Morning Herald 13/4/05)

Farewell Pope John Paul II (Tenterfield Star 12/4/05)
People gather to remember the Pope (Ararat Advertiser 12/4/05)

Gibson sets sights on Pope's life (Irish Times 12/4/05)
Saint plea as Pope credited with tumour cure miracle ( 12/4/05)
Church officials reject making late pope an instant saint (Catholic News Service 12/4/05)
Alleged Miracles Attributed to John Paul (The Herald-Sun Durham North Carolina/Associated Press 1/4/05)
Archbishop says beatification of John Paul II could come soon (Catholic News Agency 12/4/05)
John Paul II on fast track for canonization? (Catholic World News 12/4/05)
Vatican denies claim of fast-track sainthood for John Paul II (Ecumenical News International 12/4/05)
Cardinals discuss Pope's sainthood (The Australian/AFP 13/4/05)

U.S. Priests Hopeful About Papal Reforms (The Guardian/Associated Press 12/4/05)
Law's activities, positions illustrate "clash of cultures" between U.S. and Rome (National Catholic Reporter 12/4/05)
Paul Collins: The bishops on "authentic democracy" (Online Catholics 13/4/05)
Editorial: Actor Pope's Calculating Charisma (Online Catholics 13/4/05)
Emily Maguire: Time to speak ill of a dead leader who let millions live in anguish (Sydney Morning Herald 13/4/05)
William Rees-Mogg: Before you take the new job, your holiness, read a little Adam Smith (The Times 11/4/05)

13 Apr 2005