The customs and traditions associated with a pope's death have changed quite a bit from the time when popes were buried in the underground catacombs of Rome. Various ceremonies, rites, and rituals that were fundamentally similar developed over time, but a formal procedure for the death of the pope wasn't initiated until the early fourteenth century, and even then, the protocol wasn't always followed to the letter. This comprehensive reference book provides information on the deaths, funerals, and burial places of each pope from St. Peter (Apostle) to John Paul I. Among some of the most interesting are the deaths of Innocent X, who was almost gnawed by rats because no one would bury him; Alexander VI, who was stuffed into an old carpet and pummeled into his coffin; and Formosus, whose corpse was physically put on trial. The Introduction presents a brief history of papal funerals and tombs, and also covers modern burials. The author also explains such details as why a pope can only be declared dead when he is tapped with a hammer three times, why a pope must be embalmed (and how strangely some popes have been embalmed throughout history), and why three bags of coins and a brass cylinder are buried with the pope.