ROME – Thousands of mourners continued to stream into the Vatican Tuesday for the public viewing of Pope John Paul II (search) while the College of Cardinals met to establish details for the conclave to elect a successor to the pontiff.
The election of the new pope will be announced by a ringing of bells in addition to the centuries-old practice of sending up puffs of white smoke.
Hundreds of thousands of people on Tuesday waited in line for up to nine hours to view the pope at St. Peter's Basilica (search), where John Paul will lie in state until his funeral Friday. The faithful were slowly winding their way through the streets surrounding the Vatican and through St. Peter's Square to the basilica to get a very brief glimpse of the pope, who died last Saturday at the age of 84.
Free live streaming video of the pope's funeral at 4 a.m. EDT on FOXNews.com.
"Millions of people throughout the world are offering solidarity," Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali (search) told FOX News on Tuesday. "This is the fourth funeral of a pope that I will participate in and I think this exceeds everything ... this is the most extraordinary thing that has ever happened."
Rome is bracing for an unprecedented flow of pilgrims for the days leading to the funeral. On hand in St. Peter's Square was an entourage of security and emergency teams provided by the city to handle as many as 3 million people who are expected to come through Rome this week.
Some sources told FOX News that as many as 700,000 people have already viewed the pope's body and Tuesday was still only the first full day of viewing.
About 2 million Poles are expected to travel to Rome for the funeral of the Polish-born pope. Parishes across Poland have been chartering buses to bring worshippers to Rome for Friday's funeral. Extra trains and flights from Poland to Italy are also being organized.
Italy was calling in extra police to Rome and planned to seal off much of the Eternal City to protect a VIP contingent including such leaders as President George W. Bush, French President Jacques Chirac and many Western heads of state as well as the presidents of Syria and Iran.
"It's an extraordinary day," said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, archbishop of Genoa, who was greeting pilgrims in line Tuesday. He said the crowds were there "to give back to the pope all the love the pope gave to the world."
The doors of St. Peter's Basilica were opened to the general public Monday evening. At 3 a.m. Tuesday, the doors were closed for cleaning and the faithful outside started chanting "Open up, open up!" in protest.
"It was sad but amazing; there were so many people in the basilica but it was still completely silent," said Lauren Davia, a 20-year-old American who is studying in Rome. Davia saw the pope after a four-hour wait that began early in the morning. Faithful coming during the day could expect to wait for even longer.
Margherita Saccomani, who came from the Tuscan port town of Leghorn to pay her respects to the pope, huddled under an emergency foil blanket with her three children during the wait.
"I hope it's not curiosity but deep faith that brings people here," the 43-year-old Saccomani said. "I am here because I want my daughters to experience this."
Bush and his wife will lead the U.S. delegation, which will also include former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Britain's Prince Charles postponed his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles by a day so he could represent Queen Elizabeth II at the funeral. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams confirmed Tuesday that he will attend the funeral, becoming the first serving leader of the Church of England to attend a pontiff's burial. At the funeral, Williams' office said, he would be wearing a ring presented by Pope Paul VI to a previous archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey. Ramsey, who was then retired, attended the funeral of Paul VI.
Others attending will include the heads of Muslim states and a delegation from communist Cuba.
Choosing a New Pope
Addressing reporters about the cardinals' meeting, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said a date had not been decided for the conclave, which must occur between 15 and 20 days from a pope's death.
"He raised the bar. He was a wonderful pope. We need a wonderful pope," said Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop of Washington.
Navarro-Valls said the cardinals spent Tuesday continuing to work out details of Friday's funeral, in which John Paul will be laid to rest with regal pageantry near the traditional tomb of the first pope, St. Peter.
He said 91 of the 183 cardinals were in Rome as of Tuesday. Only 117 of them — those under the age of 80 — can vote in the conclave.
Brazilian Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia, told Italian state radio Tuesday that he thought a new pope would be chosen quickly.
"I don't think it will be a long conclave," he said, adding that cardinals would have had time to reflect before the conclave and should already have "clear ideas" when they begin the balloting. Asked if he was "papabile," or having the qualities of a pope, Agnelo answered, "I have always said my shoulders were too small for such a heavy weight."
The next pope is likely to follow John Paul's conservative bent closely — the late pontiff appointed all but three of the 117 cardinals entitled to vote.
John Paul opposed divorce, birth control and abortion, the ordination of women and the lifting of the celibacy requirement for priests, issues that sharply divided the church.
The cardinals — who are sworn to secrecy on their deliberations — are to review any papers the pope may have left for them.
One may reveal to the college the name of a mysterious cardinal John Paul said he had named in 2003 but had never publicly identified. The cardinal is called "in pectore," or "in the heart" — a formula that has been used when the pope wants to name a cardinal in a country where the church is oppressed.
Navarro-Valls said Tuesday he didn't know if the pope had included any mention of the "in pectore" cardinal in any documents given to the cardinals to read.
On Monday, John Paul's body was removed from the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, where it had lain in state for prelates and dignitaries. On his feet were a pair of the simple brown leather shoes he favored during his 26-year pontificate and wore on many of his trips to more than 120 countries — a poignant reminder of the legacy of history's most-traveled pope.
Navarro-Valls confirmed Tuesday that John Paul would be buried in an underground tomb where Pope John XXIII lay before he was brought up onto the main floor of the basilica after his 2000 beatification because so many pilgrims wanted to visit his tomb.
John Paul expressed a wish "to be buried in the ground," Archbishop Piero Marini said Tuesday.
Navarro-Valls said John Paul hadn't been embalmed, but had been "prepared" for the days of public viewing in the basilica. He didn't elaborate. An embalmer in Rome said it appeared John Paul's remains were only touched up with cosmetics.
Massimo Signoracci, whose family embalmed three other popes, said even a light embalming is necessary for a body that is exposed for several days.
A Ceremonious Burial
The pope will be laid to rest with a white silk veil on his face, a rosary in his hands and his body clad in liturgical vestments and the white miter. Following the centuries-old custom for burying popes, his body will be placed inside three coffins — wood, zinc and wood — a design meant to slow decomposition, the Vatican confirmed.
A small bag of commemorative medals issued over the course of his 26-year pontificate, as well as a sealed document featuring a brief description in Latin of John Paul's life, will be buried with him near the tomb that is traditionally believed to be that of the first pope, St. Peter.
John Paul will be laid to rest with regal pageantry near the tomb that is traditionally believed to be that of the first pope, St. Peter. Marini brushed off rumors that Polish soil would be placed in the coffin.
"Everybody has wishes. It is impossible to fulfill them all," he said.
One of John Paul's wishes, Marini said, was for bells to ring in the announcement of a new pope to avoid confusion over the color of the smoke coming from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel.
Black smoke signals no decision has been made after a papal ballot, while white smoke means a pope has been elected.
"This time we plan to ring the bells to make the election of the pope clearer," he said, recalling wrong calls in past elections. "This way even journalists will know," an acknowledgment of the Vatican's interest in the media to get its message across to a worldwide audience.
In other developments, John Paul's personal physician was quoted as telling La Repubblica newspaper that John Paul "passed away slowly, with pain and suffering which he endured with great human dignity."
"The Holy Father could not utter a single word before passing away," Dr. Renato Buzzonetti was quoted as saying. "Just as happened in the last days he could not speak, he was forced to silence."
FOX News' Greg Palkot and The Associated Press contributed to this report.