The ceremonies at Pope John Paul's funeral today will be as similar as possible to the simple service held in August for Pope Paul VI.
Cardinals who have already gathered here made the announcement yesterday and the Vatican press office reissued a text of the same liturgical rites.
The only difference may be that the heavy rains which have been beating on Rome could force the service off St. Peter's Square and into the giant basillica fronting.
Work was said to have been finished on John Paul's gravesite in the crypt of the basilica. The 147th pope to be laid to rest there, he is to be placed across the aisle from the tombs of his two predecessors and papals namesakes, Paul VI and John XXIII, in such a way that John Paul's grave will be at the apex of a triangle formed by the resting places of the three.
The 44 cardinals present decided that John Paul's tomb would be inscribed solely with his name in Latin.
As the cardinals gathered, several of them made statements showing that they favor finding a new pope in the same pastor's image as John Paul rather than a veteran of the Vatican government, the Roman Curia.
Among those calling for another pastoral pope were Cardinal Timothy Manning of Los Angeles and Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York, although Cooke said, "We all certainly want a pastoral pope but that doesn't mean he may not be a good administrator."
That remark could be interpreted as an indirect reference to criticisms of the way that John Paul is said to have permitted mounds of paperwork, representing unmade decisions, to accumulate on his desk during his brief papacy.
Many Catholics here in Rome have demonstrated a belief that the prime candidate is Cardinal Giovanni Benelli of Florence.He was mobbed Sunday night at a service he offered in Lisieux, a French Pilgrimage center. A large crowd of the faithful pressed around him to touch his garments and he managed to free himself only with difficulty.
Considered the prime mover in the selection of John Paul, Benelli told reporters that "the indications received from the Holy Spirit during the last conclave remains valid." Benelli, 57, has only been in Florence for about a year. Before that, he was the number two man in the Curia and considered its moving force.
Meanwhile, there were growing reports of labor unrest among the Vatican's 3,000 employes. They fear that because of the Holy See's serious cash flow problems, they will not be paid the traditional extra month's salary paid upon the death of a pope nor the additional extra month paid upon the election of a new one. The extra pay is in compensation for extra work.
The basis for the fears is that while the Vatican staff did get their extra month when Paul VI died, John Paul then economized by giving each employe only a bonus of $250, regardless of salary. The average pay of Vatican employes is about $500 a month.
The estimated $2.3 million paid out to Vatican employes because of the last funeral and conclave represented the largest single part of the extra expenses incurred this summer.
Another major expense is the air fares for the cardinals from the distant poorer dioceses of the Third World.
Part of the deficit is made up by the special issue of Vatican Silver coins that are highly prized by collectors. Last time, they are estimated to have netted about $1.2 million, only about a quarter of the total cost of the last funeral and conclave, according to educated guesses.
The controversy over the refusal to order an autopsy of John Paul continues. Lawyers for an organization of Catholic traditionalists, Christian Civilization, requested that the Vatican's promoter of Justice, the equivalent of a public prosecutor, should "open a judicial inquiry into the causes of the death, which was given as a heart attack.
The Italian news agency said it had found precedent for a papal autopsy in one performed on the body of Pope Pius VIII. He died in 1830 at age 69 after 18 months in office.