Chicago Tribune | `He was our father’ is the following interesting informaton on the meaning of the triple coffin of the pope, and so on:
The pope’s body is encased in three coffins, placed inside a marble sarcophagus.
Cedar:The cedar inner coffin represents his humanity.
Lead:The cedar coffin is sealed in an 800-pound lead liner bearing a skull and crossbones and a bronze plaque with his name and significant dates in his life.
Elm/oak:The outer coffin is of elm or oak, to signify dignity. The coffin also has a bronze plaque with his name and significant dates.
In the coffin:It is tradition to include in the coffin the destroyed “ring of the fisherman,” a red velvet pouch containing medals, coins, copies of significant documents from his papacy, a funeral homily and a death certificate.
The pope’s body is dressed in papal vestments.
Alb:White linen signifies purity of conscience.
Chasuble: Red is the papal color of mourning.
Miter: Both of John Paul II’s most recent predecessors wore the tall, triangular, gold-trimmed white miter.
Cincture: Linen band, symbol of modesty.
Stole: Silk band represents Christ’s burden carrying the cross.
Pallium: Partially lamb’s wool, refers to Jesus (the lamb of God,
The accompanying helpful graphic can be seen here: Rites for the pope. The notes on the location of other papal tombs, and notes on the “Door of Death” in St. Peter’s Basilica, are interesting.
The latest briefing is reported here:
Zenit News Agency – The World Seen From Rome , which states certain things, including the non-revelation of the Cardinal in pectore (I’m now convinced it’s a Chinese Cardinal), and the release, tommorow, of the pope’s spiritual testament.