Burial scroll sums up Pope John Pauls life in 842 Latin words
By John Thavis
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- It was a daunting challenge: summing up Pope John Paul
II's 84-year life and 26-year papacy on a short burial scroll.
Vatican officials did their best, hitting the highlights in only 842 Latin
Called a "rogito," the scroll was the Vatican's version of a notarized certificate of burial. It was placed in a tube and deposited in the pope's
casket shortly before it was brought to St. Peter's Square for the funeral
The document described the early years of Karol Wojtyla, his days as a
laborer under Nazi occupation of Poland, his ordination and rise through the
hierarchy, his election as pope in 1978 and his major accomplishments and
The scroll began by stating, in a tone that was historical and intimate, the
circumstances of the pope's death:
"In the light of Christ risen from the dead, on April 2 in the year of the
Lord 2005, at 9:37 p.m., when Saturday was drawing to an end, and we had
already entered into the day of the Lord, the eighth day of Easter and
Divine Mercy Sunday, the beloved pastor of the church, John Paul II, passed
from this world to the Father. The whole church, especially young people,
accompanied his passing in prayer."
The document ended by saying simply:
"John Paul II has left to everyone an admirable witness of piety, of holy
living and of universal paternity."
Among his accomplishments as pope, the rogito listed:
-- The "fall of some regimes, to which he himself contributed."
-- The pope's many foreign trips, which "he undertook with the aim of
spreading the Gospel."
-- The unprecedented number of papal meetings with "the people of God and
the leaders of nations."
-- The launching of World Youth Day celebrations.
-- Dialogue "with the Jews and with representatives of other religions."
-- His expansion of the College of Cardinals, the creation of new dioceses,
and the record number of Synods of Bishops convened under his papacy.
-- Reform of the church's Code of Canon Law and reform of the Roman Curia.
-- Promotion of prayer and liturgical spirituality in the Diocese of Rome
and throughout the world.
-- Celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and outlining pastoral
goals for the new millennium.
-- Convocation of special spiritual years to commemorate the Redemption,
Mary and the Eucharist.
-- A record number of canonizations and beatifications.
-- Enrichment and "courageous" promotion of Catholic doctrine, especially
through his many documents, including 15 encyclicals, 15 apostolic
exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions, 45 apostolic letters and
innumerable speeches, sermons and talks.
-- Promulgation of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church."
The rogito noted that Pope John Paul was the 264th pope.
"His memory remains in the heart of the church and of all humanity," it