St. Peter's Open For Public Viewing

Doors at St. Peter's open for public viewing

The bronze doors of St. Peter's Basilica are open to welcome the public for a last view of Pope John Paul.

People are crossing themselves as they walk past the body. Some are taking pictures of the late pope in his crimson robe and white bishop's miter. With tens of thousands waiting in line outside, Italian news reports say police had to intervene to control the crush when the public was first allowed to enter the church. There were no reports of injuries.

Inside, guards are moving people along, not allowing anyone to stop for more than a second or two. The public was admitted an hour earlier than expected, but only after a private prayer service that was attended by cardinals, prelates and other dignitaries. That service followed a solemn procession in which John Paul's body was carried from the Apostolic Palace, where he died, to the basilica beneath which his body will be interred on Friday.

Some mourners applauded as 12 pallbearers, flanked by Swiss Guards, carried his body through the St. Peter's Square.