by Anura Guruge
On May 2, following his May 1, 2011 beatification, the remains of Bl. John Paul II (#265) will be re-interred within St. Peter’s Basilica in the Chapel of St. Sebastian, beneath the altar — above ground. See this post for more details and even a picture.
A transcript of John Paul II’s last will and testament, published on April 7, 2005, is available from the Vatican.
This would violate an explicit, handwritten margin note by John Paul II, on March 13, 1992, on his will that categorically says: burial in the ground and not in a sarcophagus, 13 March 1992.
As many know John Paul II was indeed buried in the ground, in bare earth, in the grotto under St. Peter’s Basilica — in an alcove previously occupied by Bl. John XXIII’s (#262) coffin before they were moved after he was beatified. [See picture of original tomb below.]
While it is indeed customary to move the remains of popes to the main body of the Basilica once they are beatified, removing John Paul II’s coffin from below ground and having elevated above ground seems somehow wrong — though this was, of course, approved by his friend, the current pope.
What makes this doubly wrong is that it is the second thing in his will that has been overridden. As with burial in the ground, he explicitly asked for his personal notes to be burned — by Dziwisz. Dziwisz has publicly admitted that he did not burn them — despite the precise, unequivocal instructions in the will.
Then there is the whole issue that he wanted to be buried in Poland. But, that (mysteriously) is not stated in the will. See ‘The Next Pope‘ book page 79.