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World Watches as Pope's Body on Display.
John Paul II Died of Septic Shock, Heart Failure, Vatican Says

By Daniel Williams, Alan Cooperman and Fred Barbash
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, April 3, 2005; 11:20 AM

ROME, April 3 -- The body of Pope John Paul II, clad in crimson and white vestments, was put on display at the Vatican Sunday morning for a private viewing by Italy's prime minister and other dignitaries.

John Paul's arms were folded in peaceful repose, his head resting on a golden pillow. The image was beamed across the globe on television, giving the world its first soothing glimpse of the man since the painful images of him struggling to speak from his apartment window last week.

The body, now in Clementine Hall in the Apostolic Palace, is to be transferred on Monday afternoon for public viewing in St. Peter's Basilica.

The pope, who had Parkinson's disease and had contracted urinary tract infections, died of septic shock and heart failure, the Vatican announced Sunday as it released the death certificate. His death was certified by electro-cardio tests that lasted more than 20 minutes, the announcement said.

The event set in motion an elaborate ritual of mourning and transition required by church law that will culminate, if all goes as planned, in the selection of a new pope sometime in the next month.

But public attention focused Sunday on the old pope. Two Swiss guards stood at attention on either side of the body as prelates, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and other dignitaries filed by to pay their respects.

The viewing followed a Requiem Mass at St. Peter's Square attended by a crowd estimated at 130,000. They heard the Pope's own words -- those he had prepared for his regular Sunday Mass this week -- read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri.

"It is love which converts hearts and gives peace," the text said.

"To all humanity, which today seems so lost and dominated by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, our resurrected Lord gives us his love which forgives, reconciles and reopens the soul to hope," John Paul's words said.

At almost the same time, thousands of Poles gathered for Mass in Krakow, where Karol Wojtyla was archbishop before becoming pope.

In Indonesia, as well, and in the Philippines, in Japan and Jerusalem, and on every inhabited continent, similar scenes were described in wire service dispatches Sunday morning.

At Santa Maria Cathedral on Nias island in Indonesia, a parish priest led Mass for the pope just five days after the island was devastated by a magnitude-8.7 earthquake that killed at least 594 people, wire services said. Nias and other nearby quake-hit islands are among the few Christian-majority areas in Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim nation.

Tears flowed in packed churches in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines, where the pontiff drew a crowd estimated at 4 million during a visit in 1995.

"Our people received the news of his death with a deep sense of grief and loss. He was a holy champion of the Filipino family," said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who declared a national period of mourning, urging government offices to put flags at half-staff.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday told his Cabinet that "Pope John Paul II was a man of peace, a friend of the Jewish nation . . . and worked for the historic reconciliation between the nations and for the renewal of diplomatic ties between Israel and the Vatican at the end of 1993."

About 100 people gathered for Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City, the Associated Press reported. Sister Rose, a 63-year-old from Germany, said: "He was an extraordinary man who gave his soul to the world. He did not belong to the Catholics but to everyone and he was a special friend to the young."

At St. Ignatius Church in Tokyo, worshipers recalled how moved they were when the pope, during a 1981 trip to Hiroshima, urged the world to remember the destructive impact of the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city.

"He put his all into working for peace," said church volunteer Kazuko Matsuda, 61. "When he spoke against war in Iraq, he thought of the people, of the children, who would be the victims of the air raids."

In India's eastern city of Calcutta, nuns of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, grieved in hushed prayers Sunday. Clad in customary white and blue bordered saris, some of the nuns wept as they knelt, heads bowed, wiping away tears.

The Vatican said the ancient ritual of the confirmation of the death and the certification of death was carried out at 9:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. EDT) Sunday.

Barbash reported from Washington.

Source: The Washington Post.