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Life, Death, Legacy of Pope John Paul II

Aired April 2, 2005 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our special coverage of the life and legacy of Pope John Paul II. We'll be continuing over this next hour looking at John Paul's life before pope and all the things he did while pope, his many travels, his many meetings with the poor and the powerful, those in need, those who were suffering.
So many people learned so much in these last several days. I want to show you a live shot, right now of St. Peter's Square, right outside St. Peter's Basilica. You can still see people milling around, standing around, candles are lit; also people are standing off to the side, sitting in groups, in bunches, huddled around candles for warmth. It is extraordinarily cold here, so early on this Sunday morning.

But still they come, still they wait, waiting for a mass to take place at about 10:30 a.m., on Sunday morning. Some are even sleeping right now. They've laid out sleeping bags and they're trying to get a few hours sleep, and secure a position where they will be attending the mass.

Also, still lit, those lights in the papal apartments, where the pope died approximately 9:37 p.m. Saturday evening. His death was announced some 20 minutes later by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri. Here's what he said.


ARCHBISHOP LEONARDO SANDRI, VATICAN UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE (through translator): Dear Brothers and Sisters, at 21:37, our beloved Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has returned to his home. Let us pray for him.


COOPER: And our coverage continues now. I'm joined in New York by CNN's Paula Zahn, and also here in Rome, by CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

Christiane, you have been talking to people all evening long and one of the things that we have been talking about are the contradictions in this pope's life in his teachings. The contradictions both public and private.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INT'L. CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, and yet, despite that he does remain a giant figure. All the people we have spoken to say despite some of those controversial positions, in terms of his doctrinal theology, that instituted under his papacy, despite some peoples' differences with that they nonetheless admired him as a person of great moral stature, of great charisma, a unique pope in terms of what he did with the papacy.

And of course, they remember his unique place in history, not just as the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years but also because of his role in ending one of the great tyrannies of our lifetime, the tyranny of Communism. But what they also note is that while they are bereft the pope has gone on to a new beginning, to eternal life, as Catholics believe that the after life brings.

And of course today, the Sunday, the day after he has died, already is underway the procedures the great careful Catholic ritual that will lead to his lying in state, his funeral, and then shortly thereafter to the beginning of the conclave that will elect a new priest and perhaps set the Catholic Church on a course for the next generation -- Anderson.

COOPER: And we'll be covering these next hours and these next weeks very closely here on CNN. Christiane, thanks very much. We'll check in with you shortly. Let's go back to New York now and Paula Zahn -- Paula.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Anderson.

And the first words of the pope's legacy are already being written in these beginning hours of mourning as tribute, reflections and assessments of his remarkable papacy are expressed worldwide.

Pope John Paul II rose from the humblest origins and although he attained unsurpassed power and nobility it was always cloaked in a gentle humility.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Habemus Papam. De Nalem (ph) Wojtyla!

ZAHN (voice over): When the newly elected Pope John Paul II stepped onto the balcony of St. Peter's, on an October night in 1978, he was greeted by a crowd of thousands, who had come to hail him as the new leader of the Catholic Church.

But beyond the church's inner circles, little was known about the new pope, and few could anticipate his role in papal history.

He was born in Poland as Karol Wojtyla, the first non-Italian to be chosen as pope in more than 450 years. The pontiff visited his hometown of Wadowice in 1999, an industrial town that had survived both Nazi and Communist regimes. Little could anyone from this small town have expected that one of their own could become leader of one of the world's largest and oldest religious institutions.

But even early on there were signs of the talents that would eventually lead to his rise as the most vocal, most globally influential, and perhaps most beloved pope in history. He was handsome in his youth, a playwright, and actor, a poet and a linguist, who would later use these skills to spread his vision to widely different audiences, often in their own language.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: (speaking German, Spanish)

ZAHN: His was one of the longest papal reigns in the history of the Catholic Church; 26 years that span two centuries.

There have been criticisms during John Paul's tenure. Some of the strongest came from the inside, from members who believe his quarter century has left the church with a declining membership, a major sex abuse scandal, and a congregation divided over sensitive subjects, like the role of women in the church, abortion and birth control.

But while he was a strict conservative on religious and moral issues, John Paul recognized that a pope had the power to change the world's social conditions. And he used that power, hastening the downfall of Communism by personally empowering his Polish countrymen; confronting dictators on human rights; comforting the downtrodden; chiding presidents for what he saw as a morally unjust quest for nuclear supremacy.

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

ZAHN: There was his visit to Jerusalem's Western Wall. The enduring image that symbolized his hopes of bridging an historic religious divide. With the start of the new millennium and the Jubilee Holy Year Celebration that marked the 2000th anniversary of Christ's birth, John Paul lead his clergy to publicly apologize for what he saw as the church's sins.

JOHN PAUL II (through translator): Let us ask for forgiveness for the divisions that have come between Christians, for the use of violence that some of them have resorted to in serving truth, and for the attitudes of mistrust and hostility adopted sometimes towards followers and believers of other religions.

ZAHN: In 1981, John Paul II paid dearly for his accessibility. During a public audience in Rome a gunman fired from the crowds, almost killing the pope. After months of painful recovery, John Paul proved that he lived by the words he wrote when he was young, that a person's actions defined what he stands for. He forgave his would-be murderer; even visited the man in his jail cell.

In his later years, the onset of what most believe was Parkinson's, slowed John Paul's movements and travel, but did not dampen his will to connect and to comfort.

The Vatican liked to boast that Pope John Paul II made contact with more individuals than any other person on earth; 15 million people were estimated to have attended his audiences in Rome over the years. And millions more turned out to see him in his visits to all corners of the world.

His World Youth Days inspired young people to flock to his side, despite the generation gap.


ZAHN: He was a man who knew and understood the power of human interaction. The power of the word, his moral megaphone, it's been called. It was a talent he drew on in these last recent days, when his use of words might have been limited, but his ability to inspire was not.


ZAHN: And joining us now from Philadelphia, Father Daniel Doyle, an assistant professor of theology at Villanova University. Father Doyle lived and studied in Rome and met Pope John Paul several times.

Welcome, Father. It is so good to have you with us tonight.

FATHER DANIEL DOYLE, ASST. PROF., VILLANOVA UNIV.: Pleasure to be with you, Paula.

ZAHN: Thank you. We have talked a lot about how this pope had this unbelievable gift, with somehow connecting with almost every single person he had the opportunity to come in contact with and I know he had a very special impact on you when you had your own challenge, when your father died.

DOYLE: Yes, I was in Rome of May of 1996 to defend my doctoral dissertation in patristic theology, that is early Christian studies. And as I was putting the finishing touches on my dissertation my father was dying. He was in serious heart disease and kidney disease.

And my superiors were pressuring me to finish because there was an opening in the theology department at Villanova and they wanted me to apply for this tenure track position. So I was trying desperately to finish this and the date was set up and basically couldn't be changed or I wouldn't have been eligible for this position.

So the day of my departure for Rome I went to visit my father in the hospital in the Philadelphia area, blessed him, brought him communion, and we talked about his funeral and he asked me to bless him.

And as I was leaving he said, "Danny" -- I said, "Dad, this time I'd like you to bless me instead." And he put his hands on my head, and he said, "God bless my first-born son, and make him a success."

I went to Rome. I had a week to prepare for the defense in Italian. Naturally, I was a nervous wreck. The defense was maybe an hour and a half long. And when all was said and done, I finished well, with honors. That night a bunch of friends of mine, priests in Rome, invited me to a dinner party with my mother, who was with me. And we had a marvelous party.

And I said, "Would you mind if I call the States? I want to tell my sister that the defense went well. Send someone over to the hospital to tell Dad." So I spoke with her; she sent her son to the hospital in the Philadelphia area. Said, "Pop, I have great news for you. Not only do you have a son that you have to call father, now you have a son that you have to call doctor." So, I got back to my home, right across from St. Peter's Square, at St. Monica's. Got to my room, it was 2 a.m., I'm exhausted. There is a slip of paper on my door that says, "Daniel, the Holy Father is expecting you tomorrow morning at his morning mass, his private mass. Bring a copy of your dissertation.

I looked at my watch. I thought, my God, that is four hours away. How am I going to do this. I hardly slept through the night and was ready for my Svelia (ph), my alarm to go off. And the phone rang instead. And it was my sister, Donna, telling me, "Danny, Dad just died." And I had just a quick minute to talk with her to see if he was alone. Was it peaceful? And I said, "Listen, Donna, I have to run. I'm supposed to go across the street and celebrate mass with the pope.

So as I was going across the street. I met my superior, who is German, and I said, (speaking German), my father just died. He said, I'm so sorry. We got to the front door of the bronze gate of apostolic palace. The pope's secretary Don Stanislaw, greeted me. Congratulated me. And I said, "Don Stanislaw, I said, would you do me a favor? As the Holy Father is getting ready for mass just mention to him my father died about a half hour ago. And he said, (speaking in Italian), I'm so sorry. He said, I lost my father too, when I was over here. I know what it is like to be so far away from home when a parent dies. And he said, (speaking Italian). I'll take care of everything.

Next thing I know, he puts me next to the pope for mass. There is a group of maybe 15 priests and maybe 10 lay people, and perhaps eight sisters. And during the eucharistic prayer, which is the most solemn part of the mass, right after the words of institution, this is my body, this is my blood, the pope says, "Let us proclaim the mystery of faith," in Italian, we respond, and then he gestures to me and moves the missal (ph) over and points out the commendation for me to do for my father. Remember, Daniel, on the day of his baptism, he put on Christ. And this beautiful prayer for the deceased.

ZAHN: What a remarkable story.

DOYLE: And the interesting thing was my father had visited me twice when I was in Rome and I had made arrangement through a friend, Archbishop Rigali, at the time, who was working in Rome, to try have my father either have VIP seats in the Wednesday audience or have private mass with the pope. And on one particular occasion he was arriving into the airport at 8 a.m. I called TWA to find out if his flight was on time. And they said no, it is two and a half hours late. And basically, I gave my tickets away to an Italian friend. And my father called an hour and a half later from the airport, furious, saying, "Where the hell are you?"

ZAHN: I hope didn't use that word in front of you.

DOYLE: He certainly did. He's an Irishman. ZAHN: Well, Father Doyle, I think your story is so much a reflection of what we've heard from people all over the world tonight about the personal interest this pope took in people. That he had this wonderfully common touch. It didn't matter if you were a president or a king or priest or a child that was having challenges with his parents.

Thank you so much for sharing that with us tonight.

DOYLE: Very true, Paula. Delighted to be with you. Thank you.

ZAHN: Really appreciate it.

And still ahead on NEWSNIGHT tonight, we'll go to Pope John Paul's hometown in Poland and how he remembered the origins of Catholicism in America.


ANNOUNCER: Upon learning that 99 out of 108 cardinals had given them their votes for election to the papacy, two questions were posed to then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. Do you accept? And what name will you take?

He answered, "Yes, with obedience and faith to Christ, my Lord, and with trust in the Mother of Christ and of the church, in spite of the great difficulties, I accept." Expressing his commitment to the legacy of the last three popes, the most recent of whom was Pope John Paul I, he took John Paul II as his name.



COOPER: Welcome back to our special coverage of the life and legacy of Pope John Paul II. A new day dawning here in Rome; sun about to come up over Vatican City. You can see a beautiful dawn shot there, looking over the old part of Rome.

It is about 6:20 a.m. here. There will be a mass held in St. Peter's Square, at about 10:30, in about four hours from now.

What we have been talking about a lot this evening is the life, the early life of this pope, before he was pope. Born in a small town in Poland, literally in the shadow of a church; his parents very religious, and the suffering that he experienced as a young child losing his mother at age nine, losing his older brother, ultimately losing his father, all before the age of 20.

This is a pope whose early suffering really shaped the foundations of his faith and shaped the path that he would take later in life. CNN's Chris Burns took a look at the hometown of Pope John Paul II.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS BURNS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Karol Wojtyla never forgot his roots. As Pope John Paul II, he returned triumphantly again and again to visit his humble beginnings. Each visit drawing an outpouring of emotion for Wadowice's favorite son. The pope spoke of a cream pastry he loved as a kid. Bakeries couldn't make it fast enough for his fervent admirers.

A stark contrast from his days as a youth, growing up in a modest apartment that lay in the shadow of the town's main church. Now a museum, Karol Wojtyla's birthplace documents an arduous life long trek to the top.

Karol Wojtyla was born here May 18, 1920. His father, Karol, Sr., an army officer, his mother, Emilia, a school teacher. The Wojtylas were strict Catholics, they didn't share the anti-Semitic views of many Poles. In a town with 8,000 Catholics and 2,000 Jews, Karol Wojtyla had Jewish classmates, many of them perished in the Holocaust.

Childhood friends say death in Wojtyla's family forced young Karol to quickly become a man. His mother died of heart and kidney ailments when he was nine. Three years later, tragedy struck again.

SZCZEPAN MOGIELNICKI, CLASSMATE (through translator): I would say he lost his childhood at 12, when he lost his brother. There was no youthful folly in him. Even when he played sports he was very concentrated. But, of course, he had a lot of passion. He was a very noble person and he expressed things in a very noble way, but there was no folly.

BURNS: After graduating from high school, Wojtyla he went to Krakow to study literature and philosophy at Jagiellonian University. He also joined an experimental theater, Denuta Michalowska first met him there in 1938.

DANUTA MICHALOWSKA, ACTRESS (through translator): I was in high school. He was 18, strong, handsome. You could sense this strong personality.

BURNS: After Hitler's army invaded Poland the following year, Wojtyla worked in a quarry to evade deportation to Germany as a slave laborer. He secretly studied to become a priest, though he continued with his acting. Michalowska remembers how Wojtyla came dressed in his overalls from the quarry, and told her to buy this book, "King's Spirit" for a performance.

MICHALOWSKA (through translator): He had this inner radiance, but he didn't lose time on small talk. He didn't participate in our jokes and he wouldn't flirt. Maybe some women were disillusioned, but I couldn't imagine this kind of contact.

BURNS: From youth to adulthood, Wojtyla developed a spirit and stamina he would need as history's most traveled pope. His favorite sports, hiking, skiing, rowing, soccer and hockey.

MOGIELNICKI (through translator): He made use of every hour when he played soccer, he sacrificed himself. He was full of passion and played as goalkeeper. And everyone was shouting his name, because he would make every effort to defend the goal. He also played hockey. And at one time, the puck hit him on the brow. He had a scar from it.

BURNS: One of many scars from youth, physical and emotional, that gave Karol Wojtyla the resolve to leave his mark on this earth.

(On camera): Powerful, often traumatic events shaped the boy who became the leader of the world's 1 billion Catholics, but one thing right outside his window, was a constant reminder of the urgency behind each passing day. A sundial on this side of the church, which reads, Time escapes, Eternity waits. Chris Burns, CNN, Wadowice, Poland.


ZAHN: Pope John Paul travels to nearly every corner of this earth will forever be remembered as a defining part of his legacy and his papacy. Let's talk more about that with Paul Elie, he writes about religion for "The Atlantic Monthly"; also happens to be the author of "The Life You Save May Be Your Own".

Welcome, good to have you with us.


ZAHN: Can you help us better understand some of the contradictions of this papacy. This pope, honored for the tremendous impact he had on the world stage, and yet there has been an awful lot of criticism that he didn't heal any of the rifts between the left and the right within his own church.

ELIE: As you say, he is the most traveled pope ever. And as you say, he heard a lot of criticism while he was alive. Now, I understand John Paul to have been the pope who took the papacy to the world. He made his pontificate a pilgrimage. Used to be you had to go to Rome to see the pope, on a pilgrimage yourself. Well, he came on pilgrimage to us.

We saw him in our football stadiums and in our parks. I remember going to see the pope here and you know stopping for a bagel and coffee on the way home. I was home by 2 p.m.

He suggested in that, that our everyday lives, our modern cities are settings for sacred drama. And because of that, because he was so worldly so well traveled. The fact that he seemed indifferent to or disdainful of so many of the things that are part of our lives, let's say the leadership roles for women. His indifference to that seemed especially vexing because we know that he is a man of experience, a man of the world.

ZAHN: I heard one theologian today talk about this is a man who liked to teach and preach and maybe wasn't as interested in the leadership role involved in trying to harness a large bureaucracy. Is that fair? ELIE: I think that's right. And you ask, why? The most obvious answer is that as a Pole, A, he was acquainted with a life of action and the segments that you've been showing all day emphasize the importance of action in John Paul's life in wartime and afterwards.

But secondly, in the sense he wasn't a creature of the Vatican bureaucracy. So, why come from Poland to reform Rome? Why not go out to other places in the world? He had the experience of an outsider and that informed his visits to 100 countries.

ZAHN: Just a brief answer, reaction to what one of the archbishop's had to say in the waning moments of his life where he seemed to be aware of the young people gathered in St. Peter's and he was quoted by Archbishop Navarro-Valls to uttered, "I have looked for you, now you have come to me. And I thank you." What does that represent to you about this pope?

ELIE: To me that is the pattern of his pontificate in miniature. He came to see us on his foreign travels, and when he was too weak to do so, now we see the attention of the world turning to him in Rome, at the hour of his death.

ZAHN: And on that note, we will close this interview. Paul Elie, thank you.

ELIE: Thank you very much, Paula.

ZAHN: Appreciate your insights tonight.

ELIE: Pleasure.

ZAHN: And as we continue with our special coverage here tonight. Americans express their sorrow. We'll be talking with the Archbishop of Denver. We'll be right back.


COOPER: And welcome back to our special coverage, live from Vatican City. It is about 6:30 a.m. here, some nine hours since the pope has passed away. And as you can see, the lights in his papal apartments are still on, those three windows so many of us have been watching those windows all evening long, waiting to see if they will extinguish those lights and when they will extinguish the lights. There are still activity happening in those papal apartments and what does this day bring? I'm here with CNN Vatican analyst Delia Gallagher. There's going to be a mass today at 10:30, but as this new dawn comes up, it's really a new dawn for the Catholic Church.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes and the first dawn without John Paul II and I think that today will be a calm day, a quiet day of reflection. I think it will take some days for the reality of all this to set in for the people here and then the actual sort of going into the other events of the conclave. The funeral will begin probably...

COOPER: The pope will lie, his body will lie in St. Peter's. GALLAGHER: Yes. It will lie in state for two to three days in St. Peter's, so that all of the people that have come many times before will have a chance to come.

COOPER: And any visitors can come.

GALLAGHER: Anybody can come in. There are huge lines, usually that go all the way down the piazza. Anybody is allowed to go in.

COOPER: And at this point, we don't know the burial arrangements of the pope. There has been some talk about whether he will be buried in St. Peter's Basilica. There are some in Poland who would like his... to be...

GALLAGHER: Yes, but I think it's safe to assume that he will probably be buried in St. Peter's.

COOPER: And then it's 15 to 20 days before the conclave actually meets. Cardinals have to come from all around the world and they really have a set amount of time in order to come with some sort of decision.

GALLAGHER: Well, technically to have as much time as they need, but generally the conclaves are closed within three or four days. They're able to come to an agreement.

COOPER: But after eight days, if they haven't made a decision, the voting...

GALLAGHER: Then the voting changes exactly. They need 2/3 plus one majority. There are 117 cardinals. Otherwise after 134 ballots they can go to a 50-50.

COOPER: And those cardinals are sequestered under the beautiful Sistine chapel, Michelangelo's...

GALLAGHER: Yes they are, but this time around, they'll have better living quarters. The pope made it so that a new hotel was built in, behind the Vatican, near the Vatican gardens there, so they'll have more comfortable living quarters for this duration of the conclave.

COOPER: All right. Well, that will be 15 to 20 days from now. We'll of course, we'll bring that all to you live. We'll be right back from Vatican City. Let's go to Paula in New York, hey Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks so much, Anderson. And as we touched on a moment ago with Paul Elie, despite enjoying almost rock star status, Pope John Paul's message on certain issues put him at odds with many of the faithful in this country. However, today, it wasn't the policies but the man who was remembered. In New York, at St. Patrick's cathedral in Manhattan, a powerful memorial mass, Cardinal Edward Egan calling John Paul's life a life to be celebrated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARDINAL EDWARD EGAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: He lived his life as his savior lived his. He championed the poor as the lord did. He proclaimed and brought peace as the lord did. He defied the oppressor as the lord did. He taught truth with courage as the lord did. He prayed incessantly as the lord did.

MOST REV. SEAN O'MALLEY, ARCHBISHOP OF BOSTON: Pope John Paul II was not the vicar of Christ, but also a world leader who changed the course of modern history. In the pope's dedicated mission of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, he exhibited a very special love for you and for the poor and was untiring in promoting social justice, the family and the gospel of life.

CARDINAL THEODORE McCARRICK, ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON: John Paul has always been faithful I think, been faithful to life. What a champion of life he's always been. From the moment of conception to the moment God calls us home, this has been his clarion call, the family, the sacrament of matrimony.


ZAHN: And all across the country in churches large and small, in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, whatever the language, the sentiment was precisely the same.

We turn now to Denver where we're joined by Archbishop Charles Chaput. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. I know that you have had the opportunity over the years to spend time with the pope. Do you have any personal reflections you'd like to share with us tonight?

MOST REV. CHARLES CHAPUT, ARCHBISHOP OF DENVER: I do, Paula. In some ways, I think all of who are bishops who refer to the holy father as a bishop's bishop because he spent a lot of time with us. He changed the way that bishops would come every five years and meet with the pope. He spent a time personally with us. He had a meal with us. He met with us individually and as a group and he was always the source of great encouragement.

I remember my first time visiting him, I was a bishop only two months and he teased me about my age and made me feel right at home. Of course when he became a bishop, he was much younger than I was when I became a bishop, but he always had a special place in his heart, in his life, in his time for those of us who serve the church as bishops. It'll be hard for that to be replaced by anyone else. He was a father to us really.

ZAHN: You mentioned the pope's sense of humor and earlier tonight I interviewed Monsignor Albacete, who told this amazing story about how in his last conversation, he had told the pope that he was feeling a sense of guilt, because he was going to come on CNN and talk about the pope on the night of his death. And the pope he said looked at him rather quizzically and said, but Monsignor, what makes you think you're going to outlive me? The humor is something that I think is very difficult for those of us who see the more formal part of his life to ever understand. But he used the humor in a very effective way didn't he? CHAPUT: He did and he was very warm and gentle. I remember noticing the first time I met with him, how soft his hands were, not because they weren't hands that worked, but because they were hands that were used to healing and caring and loving and after meeting him the first time, I lost my nervousness and it was wonderful being with him as a father really to us all.

ZAHN: There had to be a tremendous sense of intimidation though when you sit and talk and try to be casual with the pope for the first time. What was that like for you?

CHAPUT: Well, I felt very young and inadequate, being a new bishop. I never expected to be in his presence in any capacity let alone as a bishop. So it was very important to me that he would make me feel at home and fit to be in service to the church as a bishop. And he did that immediately. He did it in a casual way and a lighthearted way but was also very very serious about talking about the role of the bishop in a diocese in the United States. So it was a mixture of gentleness, humor, seriousness and resoluteness in terms of our service to the church together.

ZAHN: Does it seem remarkable to you, given the pope's upbringing and the tremendous amount of pain he endured as a child, losing his mother and then his brother and his father at a young age, basically saying by the age of 20 he had lost most of the important people in his life, that someone there was this reservoir of love and generosity and somehow being able to connect with what some of us might think would be the most unlikely people. We get the politicians saying and the king saying, but the extraordinary touch he had with people who were often forgotten.

CHAPUT: One of the fathers of the church, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), said that what gives God glory is the human being fully alive and I think we saw that in the pope. I think his relationship with God really made him a richer and more complete human being. And his confidence in his relationship with God, his confidence in the role that God gave him in the church, made him a general leader who gave all of us a greater confidence and a desire to be as fully human as he was. He was a wonderful man as well as a wonderful pope and a very holy Catholic. So this man is a model for all of us, whether we're bishops or the baptized faithful of the church. Not only a model about being a good Christian, but a model about being a full human being.

ZAHN: Well, we thank you very much for sharing some of your thoughts with us tonight, Archbishop Charles Chaput. Thank you.

CHAPUT: Thank you.

ZAHN: And coming up next, as our special coverage continues, one community in Maryland remembers the pope, where Catholicism took root in this country. Please stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he was elected to the papacy in 1978, Pope John Paul II was thought by many to be a surprising choice. He was the first non-Italian pontiff in 450 years. He came from Poland, a country at the time with a Marxist and atheist government. And at 58, he was considered young for the job.



COOPER: Rome is a city in mourning today, but what a morning this is. The sun has come, dawn has broken, the light is changing rapidly already. The birds have begun to sing and we are joining you from Vatican City. People have begun to reenter St. Peter's Square, begun to line up, waiting for a mass which will take place in about four hours from now, a mass for the life of Pope John Paul II, who is no longer on this earth.

We wanted to look though at the history of Catholicism in the United States. Pope John Paul II had a very special relationship with America. He visited seven times. The only country he visited more often was his home country of Poland. He came to the White House. He was the first pope ever to visit the White House and he met with presidents and so many people in cities throughout the United States. Ed Henry now has a look at the first Catholic Church in the United States.


ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here in the oldest Catholic Church in the original 13 colonies, memories of Pope John Paul II are deeply personal.

FATHER JOHN MATTINGLY, ST. FRANCIS XAVIER: It felt like I was sitting in the presence of God almost.

HENRY: Father John Mattingly remembers a moving breakfast he had with the holy father 20 years ago.

MATTINGLY: And I think the beautiful thing is beforehand he knew about this parish. As soon as I mentioned Maryland, he knew about the history of this parish. The man was amazing.

HENRY: The pope knew of this church because it sits just outside St. Mary's City, Maryland, where in 1634, colonists fleeing religious persecution arrived on two ships, the Arch and the Dove and founded the Catholic Church in America.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: Maryland holds a special place in the history of American Catholicism. Indeed in the religious history of the nation, it was here that religious freedom, civic tolerance were enshrined in the American experience.

HENRY: Holly Barber's ancestors arrived in America on the Dove. She's proud that the holy father recognized their place in history.

HOLLY BARBER, ANCESTORS FLED RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION: This is one of the things that Marylanders brag about, that here the idea of the toleration of all religions was thought of for the first time in the new world. So pretty neat.

ROGER HILL, HISTORIC ST. MARY'S: This is the home of the Catholic Church in the English colonies.

HENRY: Roger Hill is restoring the city's original brick chapel, right down to the wood fired bricks and oyster shell mortar. For him, it's a labor of love.

HILL: This was the only place in English America where Catholics and Protestants could actually worship together, without fear of persecution at a time in England where you could be executed for practicing Catholicism.

HENRY: Father Mattingly says the faith and perseverance of the original colonists is also embodied by Pope John Paul II.

MATTINGLY: This man taught us not only how to live, but during his past few weeks, he taught us the joy of going back to God.

HENRY: Ed Henry, CNN, St. Mary's City, Maryland.


COOPER: When we return, we're going to look at the role of women in the Catholic Church. Are they truly equal in this church? We'll be right back.


ZAHN: And we're back now with more on perhaps the greatest bone of contention between John Paul II and Catholics in this country and that is the role of women in the Catholic Church. Joining us now is Nancy Dallavalle, associate professor of religious studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut where she teaches a course on John Paul II. Good to have you with us tonight.


ZAHN: How do you view the pope's record on women during his papacy?

DALLAVALLE: The record on women is mixed. He has very much acknowledged how modern society has been hard for women. He has apologized in some ways for the way in which the church has disregarded the gifts of women. He has emphasized however the story of those gifts in a fairly narrow and traditionalist sense and then extolled them greatly but not allowing women to have roles in the church that are outside a fairly straightforward box of competency, but never of pastoral leadership.

ZAHN: When you had a poll back in 2002 and I recognize the poll, like American, the pope wasn't like American politicians at reading the polls, but that 75 percent of American Catholics wanted to see women ordained as priests. That didn't happen. Going forward, what will be the consequences of what you see as inaction on that issue? DALLAVALLE: Well, one thing I have to keep in mind and I'm reminded when I forget, is that the United States Catholic population is 6 percent of the world. And so when I proposed this to my colleagues who are more conservative, they say what about all the rest of the world? They get it. What's wrong with American women? And so there's - in some ways there's something to be overcome there, the sense that our sense about women having leadership roles, really would matter for the church. I don't know that that's going to happen anytime soon, however, even with a new pope.

ZAHN: I had a conversation with a nun earlier tonight that says, while she respects that the pope wrote this letter, basically acknowledging some of the sins of the church towards million, that, while she's that critical for him for not going forward in ordaining women right now, she was very upset that he didn't allow the debate to continue.

DALLAVALLE: Right. And the debate has been rather decisively shut down with some more recent statements that say, as far as opening the priesthood to anyone other than men, this is part of the deposit of faith. This is how Christ wanted it. Those are very strong words in the church and it makes it very now. In some way, we've crossed a threshold that we can't go back over in terms of making that part of the doctrine of the church.

ZAHN: Raises the stakes incredibly. Obviously we don't know who this pope's successor will be but are you optimistic or pessimistic that this issue will change at all in this next papacy?

DALLAVALLE: The question of the ordination of women, I don't expect to change soon. Perhaps the best the next pope might do and there are a few that might be open to it, would be to in some way continue in conversation about it. Change is very unlikely though.

ZAHN: Nancy Dallavalle. Now I know it's late at night. Did I finally get your last name right?

DALLAVALLE: You did it great.

ZAHN: All right. Finally, thank you professor for joining us tonight. We really appreciate your insights.

Some final thoughts in just a moment as the world remembers John Paul II. We'll be right back.


GALLAGHER: ... I was just wondering today whether if in a few years time, he won't be joining that group himself and we'll be calling him St. Pope John Paul II.

COOPER: We shall see and as a new day for the Catholic Church, literally and figuratively, I'm joined by my colleague Paula Zahn in New York, as I have been all this evening. Paula, your thoughts?

ZAHN: Well, I guess I've been struck so much by the close ups I've seen of people who have prayed for this pope as they were hoping against all odds that he might make it through this last health scare and then seeing them as they try to reflect on his legacy. And then in spite of all the questions that will be raised in the days to come about the paradoxes of this pope's papacy, the one thing that I don't think anybody could ever argue about is the very personal ministry this pope seem to have, his incredible ability to connect with the more than I suppose by this stage of say 15 million people that he came into contact during his papacy and I think that will be an enduring part of his legacy.

COOPER: It certainly will Paula. Thank you for your coverage tonight. We'll be back tomorrow evening. Our coverage though continues with CNN international right after this short break. Thank you very much for watching this special edition of CNN.


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