Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Ackerman on the Plain Speaking Pontiff

Piers Ackerman wrote:

The simplicity of the cyprus coffin in which the Pope was buried beneath St Peter's basilica reflected the character of the plain-speaking Pontiff who resisted Nazism and Communism.

In fact, the coffin the Pope was actually buried in was substantially more elaborate than the cyprus coffin observed during Friday's mass. After the mass, that coffin was enclosed within a second coffin made of zinc and a third of polished walnut upon which were affixed metal trimmings depicting a cross and a papal coat of arms. The three nested coffins were laid to rest, in a tomb vacated by John XXIII, underneath a marble slab, itself beneath one of the most opulent buildings ever constructed by man.

The Pontiff may well have been plain-speaking, but that is hardly reflected by the choice of burial arrangements unless one chooses to ignore those parts of the burial arrangements that are inconsistent with one's rhetoric.


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