Papal Apartment Is Sealed

Pope’s Secretaries, and Nuns Who Looked After Him, Depart Residence

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2005 ( John Paul II’s apartment has been definitively sealed and will not be reopened until it is occupied by the next pope, the Holy See reported.

The procedure was confirmed to the general congregation of cardinals this morning by the cardinal chamberlain, Eduardo Martínez Somalo, according to Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls.

The «definitive closing of the papal apartment» took place when it was «sealed with the seals of the Apostolic Chamber,» explained the director of the Vatican press office.

The procedure followed what John Paul II established in No. 17 of the 1996 document «Universi Dominici Gregis,» which states that the chamberlain «must also place seals on the Pope’s study and bedroom, making provision that the personnel who ordinarily reside in the private apartment can remain there until after the burial of the Pope, at which time the entire papal apartment will be sealed.»

No. 31 of the document establishes that «after the burial of the Supreme Pontiff and during the election of the new Pope, no part of the private apartment of the Supreme Pontiff is to be lived in.»

Those who resided in the Holy Father’s apartment were his two secretaries, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and the Ukrainian priest of Russian origin, Monsignor Stanislaw Mietek, as well as five Polish nuns who looked after the Pope during his 26-year pontificate.

All have moved temporarily to religious houses in Rome.

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