At least 60,000 people are expected to attend the funeral of former Pope Benedict XVI on January 5, and around 30,000 are expected to visit St. Peter’s Basilica every three of the three days of the body. The former pope’s body will be interred there, according to a report. Security officer for the city of Rome.
In contrast, hundreds of thousands of people participated in the contest 2005’s funeral of Pope John Paul, whose pontificate spanned 27 years to Benedict’s 8 years. An estimated two million people lined up past John Paul’s coffin in St Peter’s Basilica, amid a spike in pilgrims in a week that Italian officials estimate at three million or more.
Security official Bruno Frattasi said the airspace over St. Peter will be closed during Thursday’s ceremony and at least 1,000 police will be deployed. National civil protection service volunteers will also assist mourners and ambulances will be present, he added.
Rome’s public transport system will also be adapted to handle more passengers.
The decisions were made on Saturday at a meeting of the security and order commission of the province of Rome. Other logistical work – including how to move those wishing to pay their last respects through the basilica – were also discussed.
The committee is expected to meet again before the funeral to tweak the details.
Matteo Bruni, a Vatican spokesman, said Saturday that in accordance with Benedict’s wishes, the funeral would be “marked with simplicity”.
The Vatican said official delegations from Germany and Italy would be present.