The last will and testament of Pope John Paul II indicates he considered resigning in 2000, when he turned 80.
At that time, the pope wrote that he prayed for strength, and that the Lord would "help me recognize how long I must continue this service."
Police cut off the line to the Basilica at 10 pm Wednesday night, frustrating many who had waited up to 24 hours in line to reach the front of the building.
But police did not block dozens of people who ran past a barricade, in a desperate effort to go inside.
An American woman was not so lucky. She complained, "I walked 13 hours here. It was stop, go. Stop, go. They cleaned the church at 1:30 this morning, so we slept on the ground over here, my group. I got sick, just about 45 minutes ago, I came here. They let me go use the toilets, now they won't let me back in my group."
By Thursday morning however, the crowd's frustration turned to joy, as police unlocked barricades and again allowed the masses to move forward.
Once inside, a steady stream of mourners made their way past the pope's body.
Various cardinals and other church officials knelt in prayer.
Wednesday evening, U.S. President George Bush his wife Laura, and Mister Bush's father and other predecessor, President Bill Clinton, entered the Basilica to pay their respects to John Paul.
Security has been stepped up across Rome. Italian authorities have sent thousands of extra police officers to the capital. Police are manning roadblocks across the city. Electronic signs have been posted, reminding residents that streets will be closed Friday.