Frantic photography inside the basilica has disturbed some mourners.
“People taking pictures with the corpse, it’s really outrageous,” said a woman in the line, Alessandra Erre, 49. “Selfies mostly,” said her father, Gavino Erre.
Silvana D’Amore, 79, held her rosary beads as she walked through the line under the basilica’s golden vault. She had taken a bus from a city outside Rome to pay homage to Benedict, who she said “is a person dear to me”.
“I prayed for him every day, even when he became emeritus,” she said. “He has always accompanied me.”
For the first 12 centuries of the church, popes were buried on the day of their death, usually in the evening, according to Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, a historian and expert on papal history. That changed with the death of Innocent III, who died in 1216 and was the first pope to lie, Mr. Paravicini Bagliani said, citing an account from the time.
Rules promulgated in 1274 regarding the election of the pope (first put into practice two years later) determined that voting could not take place until 10 days after the death of a pontiff “and this extended the time for lying in good condition,” Mr. Paravicini Bagliani said. , although popes were still normally buried after three days.
Benedict’s body was transported to Saint-Pierre before dawn on Monday morning from the monastery where he had lived, and it will remain there until his funeral on Thursday.