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Thousands gather in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City to Mourn Death of Pope; Pope Mourned In Poland; Long-standing Ritual Dictates How New Pope Will Be Chosen.

Aired April 2, 2005 - 19:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a look at what happens behind the locked doors of the Vatican choosing the next pontiff of the Roman Catholic church. This is a CNN primetime special report, "An Extraordinary Pope: John Paul II," with Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour in Rome and Paula Zahn in New York.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: An extraordinary pope, indeed, and an extraordinary man. And tonight, we will be looking back at his life, talking about his death and celebrating his life, the life he lived up until just a few hours ago. At 9:37 PM Eastern time here in Rome in Vatican City, the pope passed away, the announcement made shortly after that.

I want to show you what is happening right now in St. Peter's Square, tens of thousands all day long and all throughout these last many days, these difficult days for the ailing pontiff, tens of thousands are still gathered right now in St. Peter's Square. They are lighting candles. And if you listen -- just for a moment, we're going to just listen to the sound -- I don't know if you can hear it from here, but drifting over the air, drifting over the city of Rome, drifting over Vatican City, you can hear people in the square singing. It is not an organized singing, it is just people singing of their own volition, gathered together in small groups. But just listen and see if you can hear, drifting over the sound -- drifting over the air, the sound of singing.

Candles have been lit, as groups are standing around in circles, talking to one another, silently praying, people all day long, all week long, and especially in these late hours. It is just past 2:00 AM here in Rome. People just are still coming. They want to be here. They want to be close to the pope. The lights in his apartment are still on, as they have been all throughout his long illness. I'll show you a shot -- the three lights you can still clearly see in the papal apartment, still a symbol of hope. They have not turned these lights out yet. People are waiting, still looking up at those windows, wanting to be close to the pontiff who is still believed to be in the papal residence. He will be on view in the Sistine Chapel on Monday. There is no confirmation yet exactly what day he will be buried.

The announcement was made of his death about 20 minutes or so after his actual death. Let's listen to what the Vatican said when they announced the pope's passing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our beloved holy father, John Paul II, has returned to his home.


COOPER: He has gone home.

Pope John Paul wasn't just part of history, part of our lives. In many cases, he made history. He is the only pontiff many of us who are alive today have ever known, the third longest reigning pontiff in Catholic history.

Jim Bitterman now takes a look back at the life and the legacy of Pope John Paul II.


JIM BITTERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When he was young, Karol Wojtyla, the man who would become Pope John Paul II, wrote that he believed man reveals himself not in thought but in his actions. Reality, he said, is in the confrontation itself, when man has to take an active stand. The pope was throughout his life defined by his actions, actions which left a distinct mark on the last decades of the 20th century and into the 21st. Rarely has such a wide combination of talents encountered such rich opportunity. Seldom has someone been so suited for his office as John Paul. And yet, when he stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter's basilica on an October evening in 1978, Karol Wojtyla hardly seemed to be at the right spot at the right time. Few outside church circles even recognized his name or knew anything about him. One of his first trips was back to his native Poland, where he urged his countrymen to be strong and stand up for moral order.

ROBERT MOYNIHAN, "INSIDE THE VATICAN" MAGAZINE: That was the beginning of the end of what we call the Soviet empire. I think he brought that empire down, but not with missiles and not even with economic sanctions, et cetera, but just by being a man, by being a man of faith.

BITTERMAN: Many believe the pope's faith was such a threat to communists, Moscow tried to assassinate him. He very nearly died after Turkish gunman Ali Agca fired from the crowds in St. Peter's Square on a sunny May afternoon in 1981. The pope used his time recovering from his wounds to approve a new code of canon law for the church and orchestrate a campaign to ban nuclear weapons, one of many campaigns during his reign in which he crossed swords with superpower leaders.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: Peace is not only the absence of war, it also involves reciprocal trust between nations.

BITTERMAN: John Paul believed strongly in preaching moral justice to the point that Vatican observers believe he has changed the fundamentals of the papacy.

MARCO POLITI, VATICAN AUTHOR: Now the role of the Roman pontiff has become the role of a spokesman for social justice and for human rights.

BITTERMAN: The pope, as he traveled the Catholic world throughout more than two decades, put the church squarely on the side of the downtrodden and underprivileged. In fact, strong discipline was a hallmark of John Paul's reign. While he initiated numerous consultative bishops' conferences called synods, some of those who attended said dissent was not an option. And his version, traditionalist and unyielding on issues of doctrine, always prevailed.

But out on the front lines, the pope's priestly foot soldiers reported that his fixed teachings on issues such as sexuality, divorce, abortion and the role of women were driving Catholics from the church.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Carl Ronner (ph), probably the most famous theologian of the 20th century, said in 1984, before he died, that this pope came to teach and to preach. He is not a pope of dialogue. And I think, in many ways, that's true. I think that captures what John Paul wanted to do as pope.

BITTERMAN: Everywhere the pope did go to preach and teach, though, enormous crowds came to see him. He instituted something he called "World Youth Days." To the astonishment of those around him, young people by the millions flocked to see him, even when the generation gap grew as the pope's age and infirmity took their toll.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: John Paul II, he loves you!

BITTERMAN: But the pope was growing older. From 1994, beginning with a tremble in his left hand, his Parkinson's disease, and then other ailments, took a steadily growing toll on someone so constantly in the public eye. Observers could not stop nattering about the pope's health. There were predictions he would not reach his most cherished goal, taking the church into the third millennium. But when the jubilee year began to mark the 2,000th anniversary of Christ's birth, the pope was leading the celebrations.

During the year, he accomplished two further goals: a day of atonement, during which Pope John Paul led his clergy to publicly confess for the church's sins.

POPE JOHN PAUL II (through translator): Let us ask for forgiveness for the divisions that have come between Christians.

BITTERMAN: And his second goal, a rigorous and politically challenging trip through the Holy Land. But the pope's efforts in the later years of his papacy to reach out to Judaism and other religions met with only mixed success. And an even bigger disappointment for John Paul came from his own churchmen. A sex abuse scandal centered mainly in churches in the United States outraged Catholic faithful. A staggering number of charges were brought against priests accused of molesting children and teenagers. Vatican observers said John Paul, who had made family life a pillar of his papacy, was clearly pained by the scandal.

(on camera): Yet many are certain the pope's reign will be remembered not for its shortfalls but its achievements. Decades before he became pope, John Paul wrote in his book entitled, "The Acting Person," that a person's actions defined what he stands for. It is the epitome of the pope's life.

BITTERMAN: Late in his pontificate, John Paul surprised and befuddled his critics by naming a wide variety of new members to the College of Cardinals, the exclusive club of high churchmen who will select his successor. Among his choices are independent minds who are sure to intensely debate who should be the next pope, and John Paul clearly shifted the geographic center of the college toward Latin America and the underdeveloped world.

That perhaps will be the past pope's single most important legacy, ensuring his church's future by directing it firmly down its path of the past, alongside those who, like the pope himself, come from humble beginnings and trust in faith to help them persevere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if they'll call him John Paul II the Great. He did leave some things undone. He did not, in many ways, heal the fractures internally in the church between left and right, liberal and conservative. But as a figure on the world scene, he was a giant.

COOPER: We're joined now by CNN Vatican analyst John Allen. John, thanks very much for being with us. John, you have covered this pope for many years, "The National Catholic Reporter" here in the Vatican. Your personal thoughts when you heard finally that the pope had passed away at 9:37 PM this evening? What went through your mind?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, Anderson, I tell you, you know, in many ways, I have spent the better part of the last several years preparing for this moment, but -- but when that -- when that news flash -- and of course, the way it worked is those of us who cover the pope got the news flash on our cell phones, telling us the declaration was in our e-mail box, and I read the words saying the pope had died at 9:37 PM, part of me couldn't believe it. Part of that is just the journalistic experience that we have been through so many moments in which we thought the end had come. Jim Bitterman's set-up piece a moment ago referred to the jubilee year in 2000. Many people thought that would be John Paul's last act, and yet it wasn't. The pope had more work to do.

Part of us, I think, just believed that this moment would never come. I mean, we came to thought of John Paul as almost invulnerable, immortal. And of course, in the end, he wasn't, as none of us are. And so there was that instant of disbelief that I had to get over, and then, of course, get on with the task of trying to help all of us understand what this pope meant -- his life, his legacy, his impact on our times, and also the very real work of preparing for what comes next because, of course, you know, as they said of the ancient King Canute, time and the tides stop for no man.

And the tide now will begin swirling in the direction of preparing the election of his successor, who will have to step into these enormous shoes, as we call them in the church, the shoes of the fisherman, referring to, of course, Peter, the first pope, who was a fisherman, and try to pick up the burden of leading this church forward. So this is a -- this is a deeply historic moment. A giant on the world stage has been lost, very important moment for this -- the world's largest and most complex religious organization looms ahead of us. And so it is just an amazing moment to be living through, Anderson.

COOPER: And an amazing moment for us all to be living through and witnessing, either here in Vatican City or in Rome or on television, as many -- many millions are right now around the world. We've been watching the lights in the Vatican apartment, in the pope's apartment, which are still on, those three windows that the tens of thousands of people who are in St. Peter's Square right now are still gazing up and looking at. There's a tradition behind those lights, behind them turning on, turning off. Will they be turned off at some point?

ALLEN: Yes. What will happen -- well, let me first describe the meaning of that. When the shutters of those windows are open -- not that the window itself is up, but when the shutters are open, that signifies that the pope is present, that he's in the apostolic palace. When the lights are on, that typically means there's activity. And generally, that activity means the pope is still awake, he's still doing something, some reading, meeting with aides, following the life of the church. And of course, there is still activity in those rooms, Anderson, at the moment. What will happen -- what either is happening now or will happen shortly is that the technicians who will prepare the pope's body to lie in state presumably are doing that work now.

But eventually, of course, the pope's body will be removed. And then, of course, the papal apartments will be emptied and sealed off. And at that stage, of course, the lights will go off, and they will probably not go back on until there is another pope, a new successor of Peter, who will move into those apartments and beginning the almost unfathomable task of trying to follow the act, if you like, that was John Paul II.

COOPER: The act because of his charisma, his willingness to travel and to go out and to touch and to be touched and to hug and be hugged.

ALLEN: Yes. Let's not forget, this pope was a magnet for humanity. I mean, there are other events in which millions of people gather. There's an annual Hindu festival of bathing in the Ganges, for example, when some 10 million people will gather over the course of 24 hours. Roughly 2 million people showed up for the funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini. But no one in history has ever attracted crowds of millions with the regularity that John Paul II did. I mean, almost every place he went, crowds of 1 million, 2 million, in Mexico in 1979, upwards of 10 million people. He has been seen by more people in the flesh than any other person who ever lived. It is a -- he was a remarkable, remarkable public figure in that sense.

And of course, part of that was his sense that the papacy was not just about governing an institution, moving the levers of power, the papacy was about evangelizing -- that is, taking the message of the Gospel to the men and women of our times. He said when he was elected that it was time for the pope not just to be Peter but also to be Paul -- that is, the reference being to St. Paul, the great evangelist of the early church. And I think we certainly have to say that if that was the program he set out for himself at the beginning, measured against that standard, this man was a remarkable, remarkable success.

COOPER: And just in reading about him today, I was struck at how his early life, his early years, the suffering -- you know, we've all talked about the suffering that he went through in these last few years with Parkinson's -- the suffering that this young boy experienced -- I mean, at the age of 9, losing his mother, than soon after, losing his brother, then later his father, suffering under Nazi occupation in Poland. I'm fascinated by how that early suffering shaped his view of the importance of suffering. That's something I want to talk to you about a little bit later on, John, as we continue our coverage tonight. We'll be checking in with you a little bit later on. Thank you very much, John Allen, CNN Vatican analyst.

I'm joined right now by CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, who is also in Rome, who has been talking to people on the streets for these last several hours. Christiane, a remarkable evening.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed. And really, it's been a remarkable 48 hours for us here in Rome, ever since it was declared that the pope was really in his last moments on this earth, people started to flock to St. Peter's Square, and they've only just started to dwindle away. They've been keeping a long vigil. It is Christian tradition, these vigils -- candles, again, the symbol of life. And people have been here with them, basically saying that since he was their pope for the last 26 years, he has been a part of their lives, inevitably, inextricably.

He has been such a huge giant on the world stage, not just within the Catholic faith but also reaching out and embracing so many other faiths, as well, and in so many ways, having and being a historic first in just about every step he took, whether it was in embracing the Jewish faith, in going to a synagogue for the first time, reconciling with the Jewish faith, announcing to the Jews that they -- Catholics no longer blame them for the death of Christ, which, you remember, they did for centuries, apologizing to the Jews because of not doing enough, in terms of the Catholic church, to stop the Holocaust, embracing Muslims, being the first pope ever to go to a Muslim mosque.

And when you think about his courage, that is what, really, people have admired so much, his courage and his moral stature, and the way he has imprinted an international face of the papacy all over the world, the way he has taken up the causes of the oppressed, the impoverished, the dispossessed, the sick, the elderly, and especially the young, to whom he was so very, very devoted, and to whom, we are told, he uttered perhaps his last words today. We were told that he -- as all those thousands were in St. Peter's Square early this morning, the early health bulletin from the Vatican today said that even though he had slipped, briefly, the said, into unconsciousness this morning, he had also managed to say some words, and they were directed at the young people, who he had been told were praying for him around the world and had come here to St. Peter's Square. And he said, apparently, I see you have come, and for that I thank you.

So he has been very much devoted, and as I say, people have grown up with him as their symbol of morality, even though many people in the Catholic church don't particularly adhere or practice his very doctrinaire, very orthodox version of Catholicism.

He started, of course, in Poland, and that's where so much grief is pouring out tonight, and that is where we find Chris Burns.

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Christiane. The religious services here have just wrapped up. There were thousands -- more than ten thousand here, just in this area around the archbishop's residence. Through the main window is where Pope John Paul used to speak to the people when he came to visit, last was in 2002, and I was here. It was an evening, very cold, like this, filled with thousands of people as they sang and spoke to him as he was their father. And next to me is this basilica, the Franscican basilica, where the mourning will go on throughout the night, until dawn the people will be filing in and out there, going in and praying very quietly. It's a very quiet situation.

But earlier, there were thousands of people around where I'm standing right now, and they were hearing from the priests the last word that they say that Pope John Paul uttered before he died, which was, Amen. Bishop Dziwisz, who is the closest confidant of John Paul II at the Vatican, held his hand. The pope squeezed his hand and said, Amen.

You can't imagine how many tears were shed at that point, when the -- that was said during the -- the mass. Also, the -- President Kwasniewski delivered a very touching message to national television in the last couple of hours, where he has announced one week of mourning and said that the pope had moved heaven and earth. He was one of the greatest creators of contemporary times. He was a great apostle of reconciliation, contributed to the collapse of the Iron Curtain. This is a president who is a former communist. It's very interesting how the country has really pulled together and shown its unity now in showing its respect and its admiration for Pope John Paul II, their favorite son. Back to you.

AMANPOUR: Chris, and, of course, people, obviously, will remember him as their shepherd. The people of the Catholic faith will remember him as their pope, but he was also, for the Polish people, not just a religious figure but a national figure, too. And as you mentioned there, President Kwasniewski referring to what may be part -- the greatest part of his legacy, and certainly, his role in helping start the collapse of communism, his role standing up for the workers, standing with the Solidarity movement and Lech Walesa, who was then just a young shipyard worker in Gdansk, his role, along with President Reagan and with Mikhail Gorbachev, in ushering in the end of that great tyranny, communism, during the 20th century.

And it is so interesting to note that he, to the very end, was true to his Polish roots as the first non-Italian pope in four-and-a- half centuries. We are told by the Vatican that those around his deathbed tonight, at the very last moments, were Polish cardinals and monsignors, an archbishop, people who were his friends, Polish nuns who had attended to him. That was a very deep and personal moment -- Paula.

ZAHN: Christiane, thanks so much. We're going to focus right now on what is happening here in the United States, home to some 65 million Catholics, as we've seen all day, the faithful filling up churches to mourn the passing of Pope John Paul II. And Adaora Udoji joins us now from St. Patrick's cathedral in New York City -- she was there last night, as well -- where we continue to see streams of people going into the cathedral to pray for the pope. What did you find earlier today?

ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, we have been watching an extraordinary scene here at St. Patrick's cathedral. As news of the pope's passing has spread, hundreds and hundreds have flocked, trudging through a vicious rain storm. Not long ago, they packed into the church. It was entirely packed. There was 2,200 seats filled. They were there for a special mass in honor of the pope. And in fact, not only was the church itself packed, there were lines outside snaking around the building, people waiting for over an hour in the pouring rain to get inside, where Cardinal Egan told worshipers it's a time of great sadness, he said, a time of great triumph, saying he's confident the pope is now gathered in the arms of the holy father. He also said, quote, "We lost a great and courageous man, a devoted and dedicated priest."

Tonight's service was the first of at least three special masses to be held in honor of the pope in the next couple of days. Tonight we also expect to hear again from Cardinal Egan. In just a few minutes, as a matter of fact, we expect to hear him talking more about his thoughts on the pope's passing and his legacy -- Paula.

ZAHN: And I know earlier today, Adaora, we got to hear Cardinal Eagle -- Egan, that is -- talk about what a dedicated priest this man was and what a courageous man the pope was. Thanks so much for that update.

Joining me now here in our studio is Father Thomas Reese, who is the editor of "America" magazine. You and I have focused a lot on the close-ups of people mourning the loss of this pope, many of whom whom never had any personal contact, didn't go to any of the youth events, but they've been so captivated by the touch this man had with common people. What was this pope's magic?

FATHER THOMAS REESE, EDITOR "AMERICA" MAGAZINE: Absolutely. I mean, we've -- everybody's talked about him as the great world leader, as this great intellectual. And yet there was something in him almost magical that people related to. There was -- they saw, you know, a man of compassion, a man of sensitivity, a man who really loved them and was full of enthusiasm when he came to visit them. This -- he had that touch, that human touch that reached out to the crowd, so that people, you know, saw him as a friend, as someone -- part of the family. And I think that as they gather in St. Peter's and in churches around the world, they're mourning the passage of someone who they felt was part of their family. ZAHN: And in many cases, when we're talking about a pope who has been in power for 26 years, it's the only pope a lot of these people have ever known.

REESE: Yes, half the people in the world have never known anyone except this pope. He's had an extraordinary impact on their lives, visiting all these countries all over the world, being seen in the flesh by more people than any other man who's ever lived. You know, he reached out to the whole human community through the media and personally with these visits, and they had a tremendous impact and people responded to him.

ZAHN: Father Thomas Reese, thank you for joining us tonight. We appreciate your thoughts.

REESE: My pleasure.

ZAHN: Anderson, as we go back to you in Rome, I guess the other thing we've heard over and over again today, that this is a pope who used words that people latched onto, a man who was fluent in eight languages and knew exactly -- as a former actor and a writer, as a playwright, knew just how to deliver them.

COOPER: He certainly did that. And I don't know if you can see the picture of what's happening right now in St. Peter's Square, there are still thousands of people there, and you can just hear, even from -- from our vantage point, just these -- people's voices singing out. It is extraordinarily moving just to hear these voices. A few candles are still lit, and people just singing with joy because tonight is certainly a time of mourning and this is a nine-day period of mourning has begun, as is protocol here, but it's really also a night to celebrate the life of John Paul II. And he had an extraordinary life.

What begins now -- we are in what is called the interregnum period, the period after which the pope has died and a new pope has not yet been -- been named. The interregnum period will last until the new pope is named. Fifteen to twenty days from now, there will be what's called a conclave, where all the cardinals from all around the world gather here, are sequestered in the Sistine Chapel, and they will elect the new pope. It is a process still shrouded in mystery, shrouded in secrecy. It happens behind closed doors.

CNN's Jonathan Mann takes us inside that Sistine Chapel where the conclave will take place and tell us -- to tell us what happens. Let's take a look.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was a very different man with a similar title. His funeral was more than a quarter century ago, so long ago that even these pictures are showing their age. But they offer similarities to what the world will soon see once again.

Pope John Paul I died in September of 1978. What followed then, and what will follow now, is a matter of tradition and church law. The day after the pope's death marks the start of nine days of mourning, known as novem dialis. The pope's body is carried into St. Peter's basilica to lie in state, and it's placed inside a triple wooden casket. The pope may be buried on the fourth, fifth or sixth day after his death.

At least 15 days after his death and no more than 20, the Vatican and the cardinals who have gathered there will turn to a new duty, the selection of the next pope. The man who will most influence them is, in fact, the late John Paul II, who picked nearly all the cardinals who will vote, decided how the vote will be organized and even arranged the accommodation. The gathering is called a conclave because the cardinals are considered locked in together "cum clave," with a key, unable to communicate with the outside world in any way, emerging only when they elect a new pope.

Most people who visit the Vatican would hardly consider that punishment, but the clerics who gather for a papal conclave have sometimes found it exhausting. The voting is slow and repetitive, the living arrangements often improvised and uncomfortable. Conditions will be a bit better this time. Under John Paul II, the Vatican built St. Martha House, the Domus Santa Marta, a hotel for visiting nuns and clergy that will be emptied of its guests and restricted to the cardinals and officials attending the conclave. Like the other places where the cardinals will gather, it will be swept for microphones and listening devices. Its phone lines will be cut for the duration.

From Santa Marta, the cardinals will make their way each day to the Sistine Chapel, where they will meet to vote and probably vote again and again. In their first votes, perhaps as many as four of them a day, the cardinals will need to assemble a two-thirds majority in order to elect a pope. But depending on the pace of their balloting and other factors, the cardinals can decide after about 30 votes to elect a pope by a lesser margin, a simple majority. This was one of John Paul II's reforms, and it means that if a determined group of cardinals can stay loyal to a single candidate long enough, they stand a better chance of getting him elected. That new rule may be a key reason for a lengthy conclave.

All through the conclave, each time the votes are cast and counted, the ballots are burned. The crowds who gather in the Vatican's Piazza San Pietro, will know that additives in the smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel will make it burn black for an inconclusive vote, white for a successful one. And shortly after they see white smoke, they will hear the first news.


MANN: Habemus Papam, "We have a pope." A man will walk out, as his predecessors have, to present himself "urbi et orbi," "to the city and the world."

Jonathan Mann, CNN.


COOPER: Let's listen in to New York's Cardinal Egan (ph) making statements.

CARDINAL EDWARD EGAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: I was one of those that guarded the cardinals at the last two conclaves. There's a tribunal in Rome called the Tribunal of the Sacred Roman Rota and I was one of the 14 judges of the Rota and the 14 judges were to protect the cardinals. How much protection we could have offered is anybody's guess but it gave me an opportunity to see two conclaves up close, the one for John Paul I and then for John Paul II.

Shortly after I was with the Holy Father for the announcement of his being named to the papacy, he came to visit the office where I worked, went and saw each one of us in our office, put us very much at our ease and was simply wonderful to us.

And, as the years went on, I had a chance to work with him, had many happy, happy days with him, many, many serious meetings with him and I've always seen him as a kind of second father as I mentioned tonight at the end of the mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

And so I tell you that tonight I'm in mourning for the loss of my second father but, at the same time, I rejoice that he has finished the race which he ran so very well and I know that he's in the hands of the eternal father and I know as well that the mother of Jesus Christ welcomed him in a very special way for I never knew anyone whose devotion to Mary was deeper than his.

And, so I express the fact that I'm sharing the sorrow of greater New York, of the nation and of the world but, at the same time, I thank the Lord for taking this wonderful man, this wonderful priest, this wonderful bishop to himself. And so that said, it's your turn.

Say your name real loud and then we'll be delighted to hear from you. Go ahead please.


EGAN: I didn't hear it.


EGAN: Very good. Thank you, Stacey (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think a lot of people just wish to know your plans for the coming days as well, when you plan to go to Rome and what (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

EGAN: Great. All right, tomorrow being Sunday we'll have the 10:15 mass at St. Patrick's and I will be there and I will be the one who celebrates it and I will, as they say today, deliver the homily as well.

There will be the usual mass schedule at the cathedral with one change. At two o'clock in the afternoon we will have a mass in Polish and I'll preside... AMANPOUR: You've been listening to Cardinal Edward Egan, the Archbishop of New York. He has just held a commemorative mass for the pope and he is speaking about his personal sense of loss and the sense of loss that the Catholics of New York, the archdiocese there are feeling.

And, of course, it is matched by those all over the world and those who have flocked by the thousands here to St. Peter's Square even before he died. All day this square was packed with people who simply came to stand in support and solidarity, to pray for him, to express their sadness and to hope and pray that he would pass on peacefully to the next world because this time people knew and they started to come even last night when his final fevers were announced, when it was clear that this time there would be no miracle that would wrest him from the jaws of death as had happened so many times in the past.

And so people wanted simply to come and be part of this moment and they certainly were in their tens of thousands here in St. Peter's and in congregations around the world where masses have been said in churches and cathedrals, all over the world from Asia to Europe to the United States, Africa and elsewhere.

We're joined by John Allen, our CNN analyst and also by Father Jonathan Morris, who is standing here with me.

Let me first ask you Father, after this sad event, the pope has died but yet with courage and dignity and I think so many people were hoping that he would pass on peacefully and not linger too much because he's been ill for so long. What are we expecting now in the next let's say 24 to 48 hours?

FATHER JONATHAN MORRIS, LEGIONAIRES OF CHRIST SEMINARY: Right now there's a period of preparation. The church law establishes that between four and six days that the funeral rites should be held and then there is a period of about nine days in which all the cardinals go to their particular churches and celebrate mass and they offer it up for the soul of the pontiff who has passed away.

So, we're all going to be trying to accompany John Paul II as he has gone to the eternal father, accompanying him not only praying for him but also praying that we, ourselves, can in some way emulate what he has been for us. He's done a whole lot. It's time for us, I think, to try to do the best we can as well.

AMANPOUR: And his body will be lying in state for several days.

John Allen, what happens after the lying in state and after the actual funeral? Of course we've been talking about the formal election of a new pope. Walk us through some of the incredible ritual and procedure that that will take.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, Christiane, immediately after the body is lying in state, it will be entombed that is the casket will be carried down to the grotto of St. Peter's Basilica and it will be placed there. Then during the next several days, of course, the novem dialis, the nine days of mourning, are still going on. Every day there will be a prescribed ritual offered up for the soul of the pope and in mourning.

Parallel to all of that also there's the preparations for the conclave that is the event where the cardinals who will elect John Paul's successor will be going on, in addition to which every day there will be a meeting of all the cardinals in Rome called a general congregation who will meet we believe in the Apostolic Palace, the building in which the pope lived and the secretary of state, his main administrative agency is located.

In those general congregations, the cardinals will be doing a couple of things. One is they will be making logistical decisions about exactly what day the conclave will begin. They have to select two clergymen, known for their sound doctrine and grasp of matters facing the church to actually preach sermons to them as part of their preparations for the very serious business of electing a new pope and that's what we'll see going on in public.

Privately obviously, Christiane, the cardinals will be meeting with one another in ones and twos and tens and 20s and just trying to think their way through the enormous task of trying to pick one of their member, one of their own brother cardinals who can step into the shoes of the fisherman and pick up the burden of being pope.

This is something obviously the cardinals take very, very seriously. The truth is most of them being relatively elderly men this is likely to be the only time they ever have the experience of electing a pope.

And, as one cardinal said to me just very recently, this is a choice we dare not get wrong and so privately that will be going on and that is the work of preparing themselves, readying themselves for the momentous choice that they will shortly face -- Christiane.

AMANPOUR: John, thank you.

And it was interesting listening to the Archbishop of Washington a few hours ago when he was speaking about this getting ready to come here to Rome to take part in that conclave saying that there were only three cardinals right now, those eligible to elect the new pope, who had ever taken part in a conclave before, so it is an incredibly onerous job for them and, as you say, a job that they dare not get wrong.

Let's go back now to Anderson Cooper also near St. Peter's Square.

COOPER: Christiane, thanks very much.

I'm here with CNN Vatican Analyst Delia Gallagher and we were just talking about Pope John Paul, the man, that part of so much of the attraction for him of all these people to him was that there was a populist sort of side to him and he was not so much from sort of the intellectual background of the church, although he was a great intellect. He was really somebody that people felt close to and felt they knew. GALLAGHER: Yes. Well, I think that that's exactly what the pope was all about. He was this man who was once a sort of Polish country man living a very Spartan life, very aesthetic man and, at the same time, a great intellect, of course, recognized within the church. But, most of all, he was just a holy man that simple holiness in a day and age where we don't believe that holiness is possible anymore.

COOPER: And he was often remarked on his power of prayer. I mean even as a young man I've been reading accounts. His friends say he was always the one who prayed longer than anyone else and at times would pray prostate on the ground, his head flat down on the ground, his arms out by his side.

GALLAGHER: Right and that's when he was younger and I've seen him here at the Vatican when he's been in his last few years and I have to say every time he was not talking to somebody, engaged in some event, he was praying. I've seen him many times behind the scenes praying the rosary and I think that that is his strength. That was what drew people to him and gave him the strength certainly to go on was just the simple recognition really of a very holy man.

COOPER: And not even, not praying out loud, just I mean you would see his lips moving to himself.

GALLAGHER: No, to himself, absolutely, just praying to himself quietly. You probably wouldn't even notice if you just didn't see a rosary in his hand or sort of mumbling of his lips.

I remember on the papal plane to Poland he was looking out the window, had the rosary in his hand. This was after he had done three days in Poland filled with activities. You know you think he'd just get on the plane and relax but he was constantly praying. That was (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

COOPER: And even as a young man he was particularly interested in sort of the mysticism that is inherent in the Catholic tradition and really embraced it in a way, embraced that which is not seen and that which cannot really be known and really can only be known through the church.

GALLAGHER: Yes, well that's part of what is so great about John Paul II that he was at once able to be sort of the people's pope but have this very mystical side sort of bringing you out of humanity into this other world.

And, in fact, tomorrow the church will celebrate the Sunday of Divine Mercy, which was named after a Polish sister St. Faustina (ph) the pope made a saint. She was a great mystic and one that the pope was very devoted to. So, I think a lot of people see symbolism in that tomorrow.

COOPER: And she had sort of been downgraded, if you will, but he really sort of put attention back on her.

GALLAGHER: Well, she was a mystic and as often happens with mystics that have visions, people tend to disregard them but Pope John Paul II, even before he was pope, this was back in the '60s, when the Vatican in Rome sort of disregarded these visions, he really took them to heart and when he became pope he made her a saint.

COOPER: Well even with like Padre Pio.


COOPER: He really embraced him and was fascinated with him from even a very young age. And there is a Spanish mystic, I think St. John of the Cross.

GALLAGHER: Of the cross, absolutely. That was one of the pope's major studies, you know. He really thought that there was a lot of truth. And let's not forget the assassination attempt, you know. He attributed his life and the saving of his life to the Virgin Mary, so he constantly sort of reminded people of this other dimension.

COOPER: Fascinating, Delia Gallagher thanks very much. We'll check in with you shortly.

Let's go back to Paula Zahn now for our continuing coverage of this extraordinary man, this extraordinary pope -- Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks so much Anderson.

And tonight, as we remember the life of Pope John Paul II, we can't forget how he touched the young generation of Catholics. And last night, as the pope drifted in and out of consciousness the Vatican said he actually knew that thousands of young people had come to St. Peter's Square to pray for him.

Aides say the pontiff then seemed to give a farewell to the world's youth mouthing the words "thank you." Those two words will hold a very special place in the hearts of millions of young people all over the world who prayed with the pope.


ZAHN (voice-over): The (UNINTELLIGIBLE), the music, Pope John Paul II observed World Youth Day nineteen times what some call the Catholic Woodstock, a spiritual pilgrimage that takes place every couple of years in cities across the globe. Millions of teens and young adults gathered in prayer adoring the pope like a rock star.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pope, the pope is smashing.

ZAHN: Throughout his 26 year papacy His Holiness reached out to the young generation of Catholics like no other pope before him.

FATHER GERALD O'COLLINS, GREGORIAN UNIVERSITY ROME: He said young people of the world, "I want you to know that the pope really loves you" and that's -- that really turned them on. I thought after as well, I've never heard a bishop saying that or a priest. It's a very simple thing to say to stand up in front of a large crowd and say "I really want you to know that I love you" and say it with conviction and they heard him saying that and believed it.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: Young people listening to me, answer the Lord.

ZAHN: John Paul's legacy with young people extends beyond World Youth Day. He also reached out to them at other gatherings and in written word. His book "For the Children" is a collection of words of love and inspiration. He even approved a comic book recounting his spiritual adventures.

At Catholic University near Washington, students talk about Pope John Paul II and wonder who will lead them next.

REGINA HUGHES, STUDENT: We don't know what to expect. It's going to be a big change and I can only hope that the next person is going to be as, you know, an advocate towards the youth to bring people back to the church.

ZAHN: And they talk about how the pope's death hits them personally.

JOHN MEEHAN, STUDENT: Being a Catholic under age 27, you come to identify with the pope as a living symbol of the faith and because he's the only one we've known it's kind of like losing a grandparent.


ZAHN: Well, it's expected that the next pope will at least try to continue Pope John Paul II's tradition of World Youth Day. The next one will be held this August in Cologne, Germany.

And my next guest believes the pope had a very natural connection with children becoming younger when they were around him and, as a journalist and author, Sister Mary Ann Walsh shared many moments with the pontiff during his trips to America and she is now the deputy director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. And, Sister Mary Ann Walsh joins us now from Washington. Thank you very much for being with us tonight Sister Mary Ann.

SISTER MARY ANN WALSH, U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS: Oh, thank you. Thank you for having me, Paula.

ZAHN: So you really believe it was the young people who became the fuel for this great pope.

WALSH: Oh, we saw that many times. You know as a journalist you're behind the scenes and you see him when he's looking very tired. And one time I remember he was on a helicopter and he just looked exhausted and the doors opened. He got out. He saw the young people. It's like he became young before our eyes. Something about young people energized him.

The most dramatic example of that I saw in Toronto a few years ago when the pope was going to World Youth Day there. There had been apprehension. He wasn't walking well and we thought, well, we'll need some kind of a lift to help him down and he wasn't speaking well, so I wondered if people would understand what he had to say. So, the plane came. The door opened and the pope walked down, surprised me, and then he began speaking and we could hear him clearly and it was so dramatic I remember saying to his aides "Has something happened? What's gone on? Did you change his medicine?"

And they said, "No, it's just that when he's with young people it facilitates almost an emotional breakthrough. The emotion of being with them brings him beyond the physical barriers." We saw that over and over again. That is the most dramatic.

ZAHN: An attachment that seemed to cut both ways there. Sister Mary Ann Walsh you traveled a lot with the pontiff and we mentioned that you took several trips to the United States with him.

And there's one anecdote that you have in particular that I think will help people understand the very personal connection this pope was able to make with just about anyone. And this particular one affected you and how he related to you. What happened?

WALSH: Are you talking about covering him in getting to the front of the plane?

ZAHN: That one you could tell or also there was one in Denver where he made a particular note of how tired people were and walked over to you and started a conversation with you.

WALSH: Well, the Denver one, he was very tired. I was concerned about that. He had been up before dawn and it was -- it was well after ten o'clock. We'd had a hook up with the Mile High Stadium where the young people were enacting the Stations of the Cross.

And, when it was all over, he rose and I just expected him to leave the room. He was surrounded by, you know, technicians, the kind of camera people, people who generally, you know, fade into a wall as we're supposed to in something like that.

And he came over and spoke to everybody and thanked each one personally and I said, you know, this is incredible but we're not, I mean we're not important people and the person I said that to said "Well to him we are." And we were. We were his people. I think he felt an obligation to journalists, to technicians, the same obligation he'd feel to a head of state. It was very moving.

ZAHN: And we've heard those kind of stories over and over again about what great lengths he went to, to embrace people. Sister Mary Ann Walsh, thank you for sharing some of your thoughts with us tonight.

WALSH: Oh, you're very welcome.

ZAHN: And right now we head back to Rome where Anderson is standing by, some great anecdotes.

COOPER: Amazing stories there, yes. There are so many stories of this pope and we're going to be hearing a lot of them throughout the next several hours as our coverage continues. So many people -- so many people are still gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican outside St. Peter's Basilica. They are still singing. They are still talking. They are still praying. They are still waiting, those lights still on in the papal apartments showing that there is still activity going on inside.

It is rare to get an inside look at the Vatican, though tonight we are lucky. We have some images that were captured by the National Geographic Channel. They're airing a special tomorrow called "Inside the Vatican" that really takes viewers inside in places you rarely get to see. We have a short clip of some of what they discovered inside the Vatican.


COOPER (voice-over): It's one of the most recognizable sights in the world, the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, the heart of the Vatican, instantly identified with the papacy.

It's a huge church. You'll find 31 altars inside here, 27 chapels, 390 statues, nearly 18,000 square yards of marble floors but it's only a fraction of what's really here inside the world's smallest independent state.

You're seeing more than virtually any outsider does because of National Geographic producer John Bredar. A few years ago, he won permission to show the world the inner workings of the Vatican. It wasn't easy.

JOHN BREDAR, PRODUCER: What you quickly realize with the Vatican is that, you know, they don't need the press coverage. They've been doing just fine for about 2,000 years without any.

COOPER: This is the spiritual, as well as the temporal home of the Roman Catholic Church. Why this particular place? Because under the main altar on Rome's Vatican Hill is the grave, first identified by tradition, later by excavation, of St. Peter himself, the apostle of Jesus of Nazareth. Carved into the soaring rotunda are Jesus' words from Matthew's Gospel, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I shall build my church."

Outside is St. Peter's Square, the magnificent open area now packed with mourners but there is much more to see. Along the deeply shaded walkways and bright, sunny courtyards are the buildings and palaces where the rest of the Catholic Church's daily work is conducted. There's art restoration preserving a collection of paintings, sculpture and tapestries from the best artists the world has known.

BREDAR: They have a tapestry laboratory there where they maintain these amazing huge, like 20 x 30 foot tapestries, which were done by Rafael, the famous Renaissance artist and these nuns spend their entire lives restoring the silk and wool and cotton thread. I mean it's a vocation. It's like a form of prayer.

COOPER: They don't just work on preserving art here. Over at the Vatican library they preserve history as well. Here's Henry VIII's petition for divorce. The dangling red seals are from bishops who took his side. The pope said no. History changed.

Look at this signature. It's Galileo, the Galileo. Here's a handwritten letter from Michelangelo. But never mind the history, the art and the architecture. There's also diplomacy. Nearly 200 nations maintain diplomatic relations with the Vatican with all the diplomatic formalities that entails.

Everywhere you see the cultural presence of the Swiss Guard. Each member is really Swiss. They all have to be Catholic and they aren't just for show.

BREDAR: But they're actually a very well-trained security force, some of whom operate in plain clothes just like our Secret Service.

COOPER: The Vatican's work does not stop with the passing of the pope. It will all be here tomorrow and in the next few weeks ready for when the next pope is elected and takes this walk.

BREDAR: One individual has just been elected and he has to stand up and walk across the Sistine Chapel and he's heading towards a door that's in the wall where Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" is and he's heading for that door. There's a room on the other side called the Room of Tears.

And, as we were filming this, you know, it occurred to me what kind of awesome burden was descending on this guy's shoulders as he made this walk out of his peer group, out of the men who had elected him because he was no longer a peer.

He was now going to be their leader and not just their leader but the leader of a billion people spiritually. And to imagine what kind of burden that was, was just overwhelming. No wonder they call it the Room of Tears.

COOPER: It's all waiting for the next chapter in the still unfinished work of what the church calls salvation history.


COOPER: There is so much history. I'm joined by CNN Vatican Analyst Delia Gallagher, so much history inside the Vatican not just in the halls but I mean the art collection, the objects that are there are extraordinary.

GALLAGHER: Yes. I think everybody that comes to the Vatican is just amazed to see things up close and in real life, as it were, because, you know, many people have seen pictures, for example, of Michelangelo's Pieta but when you see it for real it leaves quite an impact.

Of course, the church has always had some critics who say, well their artwork is worth so much they should sell it and give the money to the poor was a criticism in the time of Paul VI, for example. There was a rumor that Paul VI was going to sell Michelangelo's Pieta and give the money away. The rumor proved false, of course. And the church considers its artwork a sort of treasure store for humanity. In fact, in their books they give it zero value, so that's one of the reasons why they would never sell it.

COOPER: It's also remarkable when you think about, I mean the Vatican to many just seems like a museum but it is a -- it is a living, breathing place where there, I mean there is a government there. There is a bureaucracy there and especially in these next several days. There is going to be so much activity behind closed doors.

Even in the Sistine Chapel that is where all the cardinals are going to gather, some 15 to 20 days from now, to elect the new pope and those doors that so many tourists have walked through, I mean I've walked through, I've gone on that tour a number of times, are going to be sealed with wax on both sides.

GALLAGHER: Yes. I mean this is the wonderful thing about working at the Vatican is that you have this 2,000-year-old tradition. You have all of these wonderful, historical monuments and things but then you have, as you say, a living and breathing place that has to change with modern times.

And, in the Sistine Chapel it's interesting that I don't think the tourists get to go behind into what they call the Crying Room, which is the room that the pope enters to get dressed when he is elected and they call it the Crying Room because the pope-elect is supposedly crying with the weight of this.

COOPER: And what do we know about the next several days? I mean this is the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) period. This is the period between the popes. We know that the conclave has to begin either 15 to 20 days from now, somewhere in that time frame and the pope has to be buried and funeral mass said sometime in the next five to six days.

GALLAGHER: Yes. Well, in the immediate future what's going to happen, of course, is that the pope will be laid out in state in St. Peter's Basilica, so many people will have the opportunity also to go through the Basilica and say their last goodbyes to the pope. That will last at least two or three days. There will be hundreds of thousands of people, lines all the way out the door.

COOPER: And that will start on Monday?

GALLAGHER: Well that we don't know. The cardinals have to get together now and decide exactly what is going to be the schedule in the next month.

COOPER: We're joined now by also CNN Senior International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour. Christiane, from where you are, I know you've been talking to people all evening long, what are some of the things people have been saying to you?

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, people have been very moved by all of this and they have been obviously knowing ever since February when the pope was first rushed into hospital they know that this has been his last journey.

And they came last night when he was really starting his last decline and they stayed and then they gathered again today. They've been there for all the bulletins and they were there when his death was finally announced.

And we've been talking to people not just in the square but also those who have come here out of curiosity to see what the television cameras are doing and what the journalists are saying.

And some people have come up, there was an American lady who came up to me and said, you know "We've had a miracle from this pope in our family." She said, "My cousin had breast cancer. She met the pope. She was blessed and it went away.

Lots of those kind of stories and anecdotes and moments that people are recalling right now about personal ways in which the pope has touched them. And, you know, people knowing that there are lots of controversies in the Catholic Church.

There are many reasons why many Catholics feel that they cannot strictly follow the doctrinal teachings of this particular pope and yet people, many of them, want to love their faith.

And they certainly have said to us that even though they may have disagreed with some of his more orthodox teachings, some of the more conservative teachings, some of the teachings that perhaps didn't quite fit today's church, today's faithful that he is a man nonetheless who was somebody special, somebody they admired for his courage, for his moral stature, for what he did, you know, of course, back when it even came to the collapse of communism and his central role in the collapse of communism in his native Poland.

So, people do admire him and people say that, you know, there weren't that many moral leaders and there aren't that many moral leaders in this world. And, again, you know, many people have been hurt terribly by the pedophilia scandals in the Catholic Church, by the notion that the pope will not allow the use of condoms, for instance, even to stop the spread of deadly diseases, such as AIDS, by the notion that women are disenfranchised from the highest honors of the Catholic Church being ordained.

Even then they say that nonetheless for some reason they had an affection for this man. And, of course, then there are the others who are totally devoted to him and who believe in him and how he, you know, held to his particular doctrine and his moral structure.

We're going now to Paula Zahn in New York.


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