Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/413

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then placed to lie in state in the great throne room. The watch is kept by prelates and members of the Noble Guard. Then the Guard and the Papal court escort the body in procession to the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Peter's. There, behind the grille, the dead Pontiff rests on a low catafalque; but the body is placed so close to the iron bars that the feet can be reached by the pious who wish to kiss them. Day and night the canons of St. Peter's pray at his side. A solemn high Mass is celebrated every morning. Then one morn- ing the chapel is empty: during the night the dead Pontiff has been removed to his tomb in the locked cathedral. In the glare of torches and candles the canonists have borne him under the dark dome, past the throne and altar, to the last stage of his journey and the wait- ing three coffins. Chaplains and members of the Noble Guard place the body in a coffin made of cypress wood, cover the face with a white veil, lay a purple cloth on the breast and spread a covering of brocade over the body. The coffin is then closed and sealed and is placed in a second coffin of lead. This the Cardinal Chamberlain and Major- domo, arch-priests, and members of the Chapter seal with their coats of arms. It is then in turn placed in a coffin of elmwood. A niche in the wall high above the floor then receives this covered three-fold coffin, and is walled shut. More than a year must pass until the final resting place, which may be in one of the churches of Rome or in the crypt of St. Peter's, receives the dead Pontiff. The "great funeral celebration" of the final three days, a tumultuous parting coda, takes place round about an empty catafalque which rises monumentally in the central nave of the Cathedral.

Then all thoughts turn to the new election. Every cardinal in the Congregations takes an oath to respect the rules laid down by Leo XIII and Pius X concerning the Papal elections, and is in addition informed of any especial wish uttered by the late Pope. The two constitutions of 1904 (Pius X) are of especial significance. One, which resulted from the memorable appearance after the death of Leo XIII of Cardinal Puzyna of Cracow with a veto of Cardinal Ram- polla in the name of the Emperor of Austria, protects the freedom of Papal elections and the dignity of the Sacred College by forbidding every form of interference by a secular power, and threatens to ex- communicate any Cardinal or participator in the Conclave who ac-