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World Mourns Pope John Paul II

Aired April 3, 2005 - 18:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, HOST: A proud son of Eastern Europe, a citizen of the world and a much loved man of God. The body of Pope John Paul II lies at rest this evening in the Vatican.
One billion Catholics around the globe pray, reflect, and look ahead. A funeral is on the way. So is the naming of a successor. But that is later. Now is the time to mourn.

And good evening, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. I'm Paula Zahn in New York. With me from Vatican City, my colleagues Aaron Brown and Christiane Amanpour.

I'm curious if you see the same crowds that we saw a little bit earlier today at St. Peter's Square.

AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": Well, it's just after midnight on what I can tell you is a kind of chilly early April night, as you can perhaps hear the bells.

The -- there are still a hundred or so people in the square. There are candles. We've heard, just in the moments before we went on the air, a little faint singing. There's a small shrine that has been built.

But we're, it seems to me, Christiane, in a kind of in between moment between what has happened, the death of the pope, and what is about to happen, the funeral, the gathering of not just the dignitaries of the world, but, perhaps as many as two million pilgrims coming to the city.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's extraordinary to think that that many people are expected. And they've started to institute special procedures to house them, even in stadiums where they know they will have to sleep in the open air, perhaps with sleeping bags.

But they do know that many, many people are going to come here. And, as empty practically as the square is now, this morning, it was -- there are various estimations, but somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people were packed into that square for the first mass, which was given for the repose of the soul of the Holy Father.

The entire Italian cabinet was there, and the mass was presided over the so-called secretary of state of the Vatican, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. And of course, when he said that he was here to pray for the pope, a huge cheer went up. And people were clapping. And we're told that the pope's last word, now they tell us, was, "Amen." And we were also told that, in fact, his actual final cause of death was heart and cardiovascular failure, as well as toxic shock.

BROWN: And, Paula, it is the world's worst kept secret. The Vatican today formally acknowledged what everyone in the world knew, which is the pope, for a long time now, has suffered from Parkinson's Disease. Everyone knew it. Everyone, in fact, could see it: the hands shaking, the tremors, and the rest. But the Vatican never confirmed it until today.

ZAHN: Christiane and Aaron, thank you. We're going to come back to you throughout this hour.

And as the pope's body was displayed to the world for the first time, as Christiane and Aaron both just mentioned, we finally learned about the circumstances of his passing. His official death certificate now says Pope John Paul II did indeed die from heart failure, septic shock and overwhelming infection.

And as Aaron just said, it's surprising that the Vatican for the first time officially acknowledging that he in fact had Parkinson's Disease, a fact that just about everyone seemed to be aware of.

Now, as preparations get underway for the funeral, cardinals from all over the world are coming to the Vatican to help choose a successor. And the meeting during which they will elect a new pope must start sometime between 15 and 20 days after the pontiff's death.

But the world has just begun grieving for Pope John Paul II. Folks from all over the world are shedding tears and saying a prayer for the pope a day after his death. And, the scene is very much the same here in the United States, Aaron, masses all over the country. Throughout the day, we've been showing images of that.

BROWN: Well, I imagine so. All over the country and all over the world and in churches big and small. In the United States, some of the churches don't even have a parish priest, so a lay leader would have led the service. But, it is that sort of day, and not just in Catholic Churches, but, I suspect, in all the Protestant churches in the country, too, where prayers were said, they included for the pope, as well.

The business at hand, if you will, in the 24 hours in front of us here, now that it's a new day, is to lay out, formally, the sequence of events that will follow, when the high funeral will be held, and so on.

Our Rome bureau chief, Alessio Vinci, joins us. We have some clues as to how that will play out. We don't have any firm answers.

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, Aaron, as a matter of fact, you know, two million people during a funeral here in Rome, and 200 dignitaries among them. Of course, we expect President George W. Bush. I can tell you, I've covered many visits here of the president alone, and they shut down the entire city. Now I imagine the president and another 199 dignitaries, this city is going to be in total chaos.

In addition to that, hundreds of thousands of people. I mean, it's going to be a total chaos, and it's going to be a big challenge for the authorities here to keep the situation under control and, of course, secure.

Meanwhile, coming back here, to near St. Peter's Square, the numbers are really dwindled now. A couple of hundred people, perhaps. It's very cold. Earlier today, about a couple of hours ago, there was a vigil here in St. Peter's Square and there were people holding a candle, or holding a rosary, praying. Really, you could feel that there are still a lot of emotions here. And, some people perhaps finding it hard for the people to understand that John Paul is indeed gone.

And, earlier today, Aaron, for the first time in church history we saw pictures of a dead body, at a private viewing, nevertheless, a day before a public viewing in St. Peter's Basilica, which is expected to begin at some point tomorrow afternoon, perhaps 5 p.m. local time here.

And throughout the morning, church officials, dignitaries, as well as the entire Italian political elite, paid their respects in the Sala Clementina, which is a magnificent room inside the apostolic palace. That is a room where Pope John Paul II used to welcome some of those dignitaries themselves when they would visit the Vatican.

And then, earlier in the day, actually later in the day, the Vatican released yet another videotape. That is of the pope, in his -- laying embalmed on a table in his private chapel. There is a chapel next to his private study, where he spent his final days and hours. And that is the chapel where the pope spent much time praying.

And you could see there his private secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was visibly very moved, as well as the nuns who have helped this pope throughout his 26 years and plus at the Vatican -- Aaron.

BROWN: Alessio, thank you. Alessio Vinci.

Christiane, imagine moving two million people through the most modern European or American cities, New York, or London, and that would be an extraordinary challenge. This city, which is a truly ancient city with its narrow streets, more suited for horse and buggy than, honestly, for cars and buses, but it's going to be something to behold.

AMANPOUR: I think so. And I think that it's going to be a beautiful sight, because that many people dedicated to mourning and praying for one really huge global leader, will be very, very impressive. You know, we've heard so much about how he's been mourned here in Italy, at his homeland in Poland and in Catholic Churches around the world, but he was also revered by people of other faiths. There are Muslim leaders who have mourned his passing, Jewish leaders, the head of the Buddhist faith, the Dalai Lama, has also mourned, communist leaders. Just about everywhere he has touched somebody, even the highest ranks of power. And his was really a global reach.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): From the very start, Pope John Paul II would establish himself not only a man of God but a man of the world. And wherever he went, the faithful flocked to see him, to hear him, and to pray with him.

One of his first trips would take him home, to Poland, where, as archbishop, Karol Wojtyla defied the communist regime, by simply saying mass. As pope, he would return to Poland nine times.

He visited Africa 10 times more often than any other continent. And his papal pilgrimages took him both near, to devoutly Catholic Spain, to France, Portugal and Switzerland. And, it took him far, to Asia and to South America, the continent with the greatest concentration of Catholics.

He visited the U.S. seven times, his trips taking him from soup kitchens in Baltimore to a stadium in St. Louis, to New York's Central Park, where the faithful serenaded him with "Silent Night."

The pontiff also made history in the U.S. by being the first to visit the White House. And during his papacy, the U.S. and the Vatican re-established diplomatic relations for the first time in 115 years.

He would make history elsewhere in the world, too, as the first pope to visit communist Cuba in 1998, the first modern pope to set foot inside a synagogue in 1986, the first pope to set foot inside a mosque and the first to establish diplomatic relations with both Israel and the PLO.

His journeys took him nearly everywhere, brought him face to face with the famous and the rich, religious leaders and politicians. But you could see in his smile that what he loved most was meeting his faithful flock around the world, the same flock that now grieves the loss of its beloved shepherd.


AMANPOUR: And as we've been saying, the hundreds of thousands that have already been mourning here in Italy are going to hugely grow in the next few days. They're expecting millions of people to come. And it will be a powerful sight to see, indeed, Paula.

ZAHN: And the logistics that you all are talking about will be a nightmare without much burden on the system. Christiane, thank you so much. Leaders now from all over the globe have expressed their thoughts about Pope John Paul II. President Bush and the first lady attended a mass for the pope in Washington yesterday. The president paid tribute to the pope's commitment to a culture of life, saying the world has lost a champion of human freedom.

Israel's prime minister talked about the pope's historic work toward a reconciliation between Christians and Jews, calling the pope a man of peace and a friend of the Jewish people.

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, called the pope a determined and deeply spiritual minded person who worked to promote harmony and spiritual values.

And, earlier today on our "LATE EDITION," former first lady Nancy Reagan shared some of her memories of Pope John Paul II. Mrs. Reagan noted the similarities of the pope and her husband, the late President Reagan, while talking about the impact that both of them had on the world, particularly in the fall of communism.


NANCY REAGAN, FORMER FIRST LADY: He was very special, very -- first of all, they were very much alike. I mean, these were two men who were former actor actors. They both loved the outdoors, sports, natural sports minded, and, good at sports. And they shared the title of Great Communicator, both of them. And they both had wonderful senses of humor.

But, also, when Ronnie was shot in '81, the pope was shot in '81. And Ronnie died in June of this year. The pope is dying in this year. There was -- there was -- they were very, very much alike. They crossed paths a lot.

Now, what did you ask me?

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "LATE EDITION": I was going to add, though, as you point out, they had these assassination attempts, what, six weeks apart, back in 1981. That must have, when they met in subsequent years, forged a unique bond between these two leaders.

REAGAN: That -- that plus the kind of men they were and their desire to do something about communism. All of that.

BLITZER: Well, they both were -- played roles in the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War. When you were there, did they talk about in your presence? Do you remember meetings where you heard both of these leaders speaking about the ill effects of communism?

REAGAN: No, I didn't -- I didn't hear it. I know they talked about it, obviously. And maybe that one picture that -- I don't know whether you're showing it or not, but, I have a picture of the two of them in the library here. They're both sitting down. The pope is sitting with his head back, listening, and Ronnie is halfway out of his chair and talking to the pope, and his hand is out, and his finger is out. Obviously, he's telling him something.

And you wonder -- what in the world is Ronnie saying? The pope is listening very carefully to him. It's a wonderful picture.


ZAHN: Nancy Reagan in a heartfelt conversation, a rare public conversation, with Wolf Blitzer, pointing out what she sees as some strong similarities between her husband's legacy, and circumstances of history that he was exposed to, and the pope.

The cardinals of the Catholic Church have been electing popes the same way for hundreds of years now. What was the pope like before he attained the highest office in the Catholic Church? I'll be talking with a monsignor who had a personal relationship with the late pontiff. That interview is straight ahead.

But, something will be different this time around. We'll tell you how the conclave is changing, a little bit later on in this hour.

And coming up next...






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pope's ability to reach people at all corners of the globe was helped in large part by his ability to speak multiple languages. Born into a Polish speaking home, the pope began learning German at age 10, Latin at age 13 and Greek at age 14.

POPE JOHN PAUL II, LEADER OF CATHOLIC CHURCH: (speaking foreign language)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the time he became pontiff, the pope had mastered eight languages.


ZAHN: Ordinary people from all walks of life are bearing witness to their affection for Pope John Paul II, and in Vatican City and all over the world, untold millions are mourning the pope, who was deeply committed to the church's missionary spirit.

Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete had a personal relationship with this pope, going way back to 1976, before he ever assumed the papacy.

Monsignor, welcome. Good to see you.


ZAHN: You had one last conversation with the pope.


ZAHN: What was it about?

ALBACETE: What I'm doing right now.

ZAHN: And that is?

ALBACETE: I had already been approached by CNN to -- whether I would do this when he died. And we had been expecting his death for so long. And -- but I went to see him, and I felt I should say something about it. I kind of felt guilty that I had said yes, even signed a contract.

So I said, "Holy Father, I have something to tell you. I fear I have signed a contract to go on CNN and say nice things about you after you're dead."

And he just looked at me with a very wicked type look, and he said, "I am puzzled. How do they know that I am dying before you?"

And I said, "Well, do you know something I don't know?"

He said, "No, no, no."

I said, "Well, let's make this agreement, Holy Father. If I die first, you will go to CNN and say nice things about me."

Well, he died first, so I am here saying nice things about him.

ZAHN: So, he could have a sense of humor when you...

ALBACETE: Even something serious, yes.

ZAHN: ... had to confront one of the most serious things in life.

Your friendship, as we said, stretches back more than 40 years.


ZAHN: You knew him long before the rest of the world even knew who he was.


ZAHN: And you believe that his love of poetry and his love of language and his passion for acting is what helped inform him.

ALBACETE: I believe he cannot be understood except through that lens. I'm sorry, but the more I think about it, the more I see the coverage these days, the more I am convinced that this is the key to understanding this man. ZAHN: How so?

ALBACETE: Because it's what unified it all together. Otherwise, we see the endless discussion about how the pope is so liberal in some issues, so conservative in others. He attracts great numbers of youth who don't agree with his teaching or don't follow him. He visited right wing dictators and then left wing -- a week later, he's offending the people he has made happy the week before.

And you want to know, like, what is -- Is there a unifying point, really, or this guy has no -- no unifying point? Is this all show? Is this all diplomacy? Practical diplomacy? You know, I believe there is a unifying point. And that is his profound experience of humanity.

First question he ever asked me is, "What language do you think best communicates what a human being is all about?"

ZAHN: And what was your answer?

ALBACETE: Well, I was confused, and, happily, I didn't say anything. He said, "Well, try scientific language. It's technical language," he said. I used to be a scientist.

ZAHN: Right. And he was very curious about that.

ALBACETE: And he said -- well, yes. And happy. We discussed that first.

But then he said, "The problem is that today we are beginning to express our humanity in technical and scientific terms. And that is not enough."

I said, "Well, then, what is the language?"

And he said, "The language of poetry, of symbol, of myth, accompanied by action, by gestures, physical gestures." He said, "The physical is absolutely necessary. We are not about an intellectual discourse. To look at someone and smile and say thank you is the most powerful way." He says, "It's the language of theater." He said, "So that's why I've devoted my life to studying and writing theater and about Greek theater."

ZAHN: And you made that same point that you just made in a column that you wrote in the "Daily News" today...

ALBACETE: Today's.

ZAHN: ... that I wanted with our audience now, where you talked about these seeming contradictions in him. And you said, "People see in him a contradiction. He was so liberal in some issues (especially in the areas of social justice and peace) and so conservative in others (mostly having to do with sex). He understood the contradiction. He saw it as a contradiction in us. The problem is dualism. It's precisely the separation between our gestures and the truth of our humanity." That, you see, at its very essence, the core of who this man is.

ALBACETE: Absolutely. Again, I would say that his greatest proposal -- he may be totally wrong -- his proposal, what he tries to get ahead -- as you see in his last book, is that intellectualism is -- is the problem. We need the physical to back the word.

ZAHN: Your affection for this great man certainly shines through tonight.

ALBACETE: Anyway -- I just (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Changed my life. Thank you so much.

ZAHN: Monsignor Albacete, thank you for spending time with you this evening.

The pope is credited with helping to end the Cold War, of course, but it wasn't just politics he was interested in changing.


ELAINE O'ROURKE, MOTHER OF BRENDAN O'ROURKE: It introduced AIDS to the world, I think, in a way that they hadn't been willing to see it before.


ZAHN: And how the pope's embrace of one special little boy helped the world see the human side of AIDS in the early years of the epidemic.


BROWN: It's a wonderful story that marries a couple of the pope's qualities: his desire to teach a teachable moment, with a sense of humanity, and his ability to touch someone. It took place in 1987.

The pope was in San Francisco, and it was one of those large events that the pope would do. And in the course of that, he came upon a young boy, a 13-year-old boy, as I recall, named Brendan O'Rourke. And young Brendan was an AIDS patient, and the pope embraced him, touched him.

And you have to put yourself back to some degree to that time and what we thought about AIDS and how fearful everyone was of AIDS, and the pope's embrace sent messages to the world. It also touched this young boy, and we talked today with his mother about her remembrances of the import of that moment.


O'ROURKE: I'm Elaine O'Rourke, and my son, Brendan, had been diagnosed with AIDS when he was 4 years old. We were desperate for a cure for Brendan, but we were not seeing this as a way to have Brendan cured. We were just seeing this as a way to bring comfort and blessing to him and our family. We were sitting right about here when the pope came in. And we were surrounded by, you know, all sorts of faithful. And, as he made his way up, we were very excited. And then he paused here, stopped, and what's when the whole embrace happened. And Brendan reached out, and the pope embraced him.

And everybody around us was clapping. And I could see a lot of people had tears in their eyes. And it was just -- it was beautiful, quite memorable. It just seemed so natural. And the grabbing of the pope's ear, that was just something Brendan did when anybody was hugging him or holding him. A good, cold ear is just something that Brendan liked to grab onto.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: God loves you. God loves you all. He loves those of you who are sick, those who are suffering from AIDS.

O'ROURKE: It introduced AIDS to the world, I think, in a way that they hadn't been willing to see it before. It was seen as a disease that only certain people were getting and, instead of just a disease that people were getting. And, this broke down barriers, I believe, put a human face on -- on the tragedy.


BROWN: We can talk, and over the course of the week, I'm sure we will talk about the controversy surrounding the pope and AIDS and -- and all of that. It seems appropriate, however, to remember that in that moment, he said to not just this little child, but to the entire world, "We will not shun you. We are not afraid of you." And, that's -- that, too, is a mark of humanity and greatness, I think.

AMANPOUR: And I think also, one of those real marks of this pope, who, really, in many ways, did embody contradictions.

He did go and embrace that little boy, and as the mother said, put a human face on this, but there are so many AIDS patients who regret the fact that so many people have died because of his strict sanction against using condoms to stop the spread of AIDS.

But as Aaron says, that is for perhaps future days. Now we're talking about his travels. And actually, that moment in San Francisco was one that I guess, actually, our CNN papal affairs analyst Delia Gallagher, remembers, because you were there. You were on the street waving to him.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN PAPAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I was, yes, in 1987. And little did I realize then I would be traveling with him on his papal plane some 10 years later.

AMANPOUR: And you've experienced, both personally from, I suppose, being a young girl when you waved at him there, but then, professionally, following this, the most traveled pope in the world.


AMANPOUR: What did those travels mean, beyond just getting on a plane?

GALLAGHER: Well, one of the things that struck me about traveling with the pope was just how simple his entourage was. You know, the plane was a regular Air Italia plane. His seat was a regular business class size seat. There was no real fanfare about traveling with the pope. Until you hit the ground, you know? Behind the scenes, it was all very normal.

AMANPOUR: You know, I had one occasion to travel with him, when we went to Sarajevo. And the reason I bring it up is because I want to know, when you were on board with him, did he -- did he used to talk to the press? Because by then, it was '97. He was already a little infirm.


AMANPOUR: And he did come to the curtains and sort of looked and waved and said hello, but there was no personal interaction.

GALLAGHER: Yes. I'll tell you what happened. He didn't come back anymore at that stage. He stayed up in his seat. And so, for the new journalists, who, if it was their first trip, I remember that my colleagues sort of passed a note up through the-- we sit in the back, and the cardinals sit in the middle, and the pope and his secretary sit in the front.

They pass a note up through the cardinals to ask if I could be allowed to go up and meet the. So I went up to pope instead of the pope coming back to me, which obviously was a wonderful experience.

AMANPOUR: What did you say to him? What did he say to you?

GALLAGHER: Well, he did say a few things, but if you don't mind, I won't -- I won't go into them. They're very, very dear to me, and obviously, and so...

AMANPOUR: So this wasn't professional. This was just you personally approaching him?

GALLAGHER: Oh, yes. I -- I didn't take the opportunity to interview him. You know, it was a trip to Poland, and I was just so moved before him, and I didn't bother him with that.

AMANPOUR: The fact that he did travel so much was as much to bring the ministry of Catholicism and Christianity to the rest of the world. What -- what do you think he got out of those incredible trips?

GALLAGHER: Well, it's been said before, and I've seen it, and you probably have, too. When he gets in front of a crowd he was entirely rejuvenated.

Sometimes when we were with him on the plane or behind the scenes, you would see that he was very tired and not looking so good, and we would be worried that he wouldn't be able to make it. Those trips are very demanding. And people don't realize the schedule that he kept up on those trips.

And then, he would get out on the stage, and he was just a new person.

AMANPOUR: There was a controversial moment. I don't whether you were on the trip, but the trip to India, when he -- he seemed to appeal for sort of mass conversion of then, you know, Hindus in India to Christianity. And people were quite, sort of offended at that moment.

Was there ever -- did you notice times when there perhaps was a little friction with his evangelism?

GALLAGHER: Well, I didn't, because I came in at the end of the pontificate, and I think by then, he had just achieved such a huge popularity.

But, on the other hand, the pope never drew back from his convictions. I mean, he -- he didn't go just to be the superstar. He did go to give his message. That was his purpose, to evangelize. And so, whether that message was accepted by other people or not, he still felt it important to give it.

But as Aaron mentioned earlier, he nonetheless embraced everybody, whether you agreed with his message or not.

AMANPOUR: Delia Gallagher, thanks very much. And we'll be talking a lot more about his missions, his message, about how he reached out and embraced.

And just when we talk about embracing. Every time I see St. Peter's Square, and I see those incredible Bernini colonnades, recalling the words the pope used about those, which is to describe them. It is about embracing.

And that is what's going to happen when these hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people come here to try to get close to when the funeral occurs. And they will be embraced by those semicircular colonnades that have stood the time of history and here throughout the ages for the faithful -- Paula.

ZAHN: Thank you both, Christiane and Delia.

Of course, we all, I guess, need to focus on succession at some point and choosing the next leader of the Catholic Church. It is a process steeped in tradition, but something will be very different this time around. We will give you an inside at a cardinal's conclave.

Plus, the inner workings of the day-to-day tasks of the Vatican. We're going to show you rarely seen rooms and activities in the world's smallest state.


ZAHN: And we're back now with more of our special coverage of the pope's life and death. And today, the Vatican released more details about the pope's death.

They say he died of septic shock and of heart failure. And they say doctors pronounced his death only after conducting electrocardio tests on him for more than 20 minutes.

The pontiff's body was displayed for private viewing today. Tomorrow, the pope's body will be moved to St. Peter's Basilica. And after a period of mourning, the cardinals will take up the serious business of electing a new pope.

Here's a look at that ancient and fascinating tradition.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): John Paul II has returned to his home. Let us pray for him.

ZAHN (voice-over): Now that Pope John Paul II has died, an official process known as Interregnum, or between the reigns, has begun. Steeped in ritual and tradition, it's a process that dates back hundreds of years.

CHRISTOPHER BELLITO, CHURCH HISTORIAN, KEAN UNIVERSITY: The thing to think of the papal death is, it's a starting pistol, and things have to happen in rapid time.

ZAHN: Moving quickly, 117 cardinals from all over the world gather in Rome for an election process known as conclave, which comes from the Latin phrase "cum clave," "with key."

Every effort will be made to keep the proceedings completely secret. Canon law dictates the conclave takes place 15 to 20 days after the pope dies and held in the Vatican's Sistine chapel, under Michelangelo's famous frescos.

The chapel will be swept for bugs, recording devices and any other means of electronic surveillance.

BELLITO: They'll cut the phone lines. They'll cut the fax lines. They'll seal the windows, and they'll seal the doors, not to be undone until the new pope walks through.

ZAHN: After the sweep, the cardinals will enter the chapel. The doors will be locked, and the locks will be sealed with wax. No one but the cardinals will be allowed inside until a new pope is elected.

The foundation for today's conclave traditions date all the way back to 1274, when the church went without a pope for nearly three years.

BELLITO: The people of the turbo (ph) got annoyed. They locked the cardinals up with a key, and several years later, that man who was elected pope put into law the conclave.

ZAHN: That man was Pope Gregory X, who decreed that in future elections, cardinals would be locked in the chapel until a new pope was chosen. But this year, thanks to changes made by Pope John Paul II, the cardinals will be able to retire from the deliberations in comfort.

BELLITO: For the first time in history the cardinals will be sequestered, but moved back and forth from the Sistine Chapel to basically a dormitory just behind the Vatican. The Domo Santa Marta, the hotel, or the house, of St. Martha.

ZAHN: Voting procedures require the cardinals to gather twice a day to cast their ballots. For each session, each cardinal will be given rectangular paper ballots with a Latin phrase, "Eligo in Summum Pontificem," I elect a supreme pontiff.

Disguising their handwriting, cardinals will write the name of their desired candidates and fold the paper twice. If no candidate receives 2/3 of the vote, the ballots and tally sheets are burned in a little stove just off the Sistine Chapel, sending black smoke up a 60- foot pipe and telling observers that we are still without a pope.

But, when a pope is elected, a few chemical pellets are added to the ballots to create white smoke, which signals that a new pontiff has been chosen.

BELLITO: When the Italians in St. Peter's Piazza start screaming, "Bianca, bianca (ph)," it means that there's a pope.

ZAHN: The new pope will be asked in Latin if he accepts his appointment, and then led into a small red room adjacent to the Sistine Chapel.

BELLITO: They take you into a chapel called the Chapel of Tears, the Chapel of Sorrows, basically because you now have a heavy burden.

ZAHN: Inside, the new pope will find papal ropes in several sizes.

BELLITO: There are three sets of vestments, small, medium, and large.

ZAHN: Once dressed, the new pope will greet the cardinals and walk toward the center balcony facing St. Peter's Square, led by the cardinal deacon, whose job it is to announce to the anxious crowd...


ZAHN: ... "habemus papam," "we have a pope."

Then the new pontiff will come forward and give his first apostolic blessing to the city of Rome and the rest of the world.


ZAHN: There are several cardinals who are considered front runners to succeed the pope. And I guess, Aaron, it was only a matter of time that we would have it confirmed from Father Rietz (ph), one of our experts here, that there are actually web sites that are popping up now, taking bets on the odds on favorite to succeed Pope John Paul II.

BROWN: Proving yet again there are web sites for everything, I suppose.

ZAHN: Absolutely.

BROWN: And one of the web sites -- one of the web sites is a web site called, and Paul Wilkes writes for it. And Paul is with us now.

It's broadly a web site that talks about religion, and you've been writing about and thinking about and talking about religion for a long time.

When we were chatting this morning about the challenges that face, particularly, the American -- the church in the United States, where, as one priest put it to me today, there are a lot of shopping cart Catholics, that are -- that is to say, Catholics who pick and choose those things in the theology they're comfortable with.

PAUL WILKES, CATHOLIC JOURNALIST & AUTHOR : Yes, Aaron. I think the Catholic Church in America is really unique, because we have an amazingly well-educated Catholic in our churches, in our parishes today, which you really don't have in, God bless them, Africa, Asia, or South America.

We do have it here in Europe. But what we see, in Europe, of course, is nobody goes to church. Here we are in Italy. I think that it's about three percent, something like that, and they're all women. And people just don't go to church anymore.

In America, we still have a very strong church-going Catholic population, but a group of people, I think, that feel that there's a piece of this pie that's missing. This was a great leader. This was a spiritual man. But, there's another piece about really living this Catholic life, that kind of parish life.

Because this man was a great shepherd and leader, but not a pastor to those people, I think, is what they might say.

BROWN: The -- in this conversation I had with this priest today, he said, don't confuse being progressive with necessarily being better. And he said there are, within Catholicism, there are certain objective truths. It's simply, because times move forward, you don't add an 11th Commandment.

WILKES: Right, right.

BROWN: And that's a fair point...

WILKES: Get me a rewrite.

BROWN: That's a fair point to make. At the same time, I think it would be silly to not acknowledge that -- take one issue, one area, birth control. Many American Catholics have simply ignored the teachings of their church. WILKES: Well, Catholics use birth control at the same level as the rest of the population. We are no different than anybody else. And I say, we. I am a church-going, you know, communion receiving Catholic.

But, there is that whole -- it is a teaching that was never received. And, the church has not really acknowledged that. See, in Catholic theology, if a church -- if a teaching is promulgated but not received by the faithful, it is not considered valid. And "Humani Vitae (ph)" in 1968 was a teaching that was never really received by the faithful. Nobody even talks about it anymore, because it's like -- it's a moot point.

BROWN: So, the challenge for the next pope is the challenge, as he looks to Europeans, as he looks to the Americans, maybe keep it on the Americans for a bit, to better explain that which is doctrine, or, to adapt doctrine to a congregation, broadly speaking, that has made some choices of its own.

WILKES: To a lifestyle. Catholics this year in the election did not vote for social justice. They voted their pocketbooks. The preferential option for the poor that this pope has talked about, starting with Medayeen (ph) and places like that, really never found its way into our election here in America.

And I think that's really a key element. We're very strong on a lot of things, but we really haven't put the tire to the road about social justice that he spoke so strongly about, and the war in Iraq that he spoke so strongly against. Catholics support that war in the same numbers as other people do in America.

BROWN: Maybe it is. Far be it from me to speak for anyone but me, let alone Catholics, that what Catholics, like many religious people, want from their clergy is theology, is religion and not what they would see as politics.

WILKES: You know, Aaron, what they want is, they want somebody to help them sort out their lives. They want -- they want somebody to be able to say to Johnny, who's 14 years old and is watching MTV, and Becky Lou, who's 17 and is wearing those clothes where her belly button is showing, they're trying to really live a life.

And that Catholic lifestyle, that's really what I think is the piece that is yet missing. A Catholic lifestyle. What does it mean to be a Catholic and walk in the world today?

BROWN: Does it mean -- we focus this conversation on a small, relatively small part of the Roman Catholic Church, American Catholics.

WILKES: But the most -- the most wealthy and, really, the most influential.

BROWN: OK. But, you have a large body of Latin American Catholics.


BROWN: You have a growing body of African Catholics.


BROWN: In many of those places, what they want from the pope and what they want from the theology is not something that's more liberalized but something that is even more traditional. How do you balance these, not simply conflicting views of what theology ought to be but dramatically different societies at the same time?

WILKES: That's why, when I sit here with you and I look back over my shoulder at the papal apartments, I mean, we can talk, a couple of guys, sitting around talking. Look at what went on over there, because that's the view that you had to have. And to answer your question, I don't know. I don't know.

BROWN: You know, one of the things I admire is any guest who will say, "I don't know" to something.

WILKES: I just said it.

BROWN: Thanks, Paul.

WILKES: I don't know, again.

BROWN: It's good to see you again today.

WILKES: Good to be with you.

BROWN: In -- nowhere else in this world, I suppose, is the pope more loved, more richly felt, than in Poland. We'll take a break and we'll take you there.

This is CNN's special coverage of the passing of Pope John Paul II.


ZAHN: The faces say it all: tears and prayers in Krakow, Poland. Of all of the places around the world, mourning Pope John Paul II, this city a ground zero of grief.

He was born Karol Wojtyla in nearby Wadowice. He was archbishop in Krakow for 14 years until he became pope.

And our senior international correspondent, Walt Rodgers, is there, and he joins us now live.

Good evening, Walt.


The tributes, the outpouring of pure love for Pope John Paul II here in his native Poland this weekend has been truly heart rending. I'm outside the archbishop's palace. It's almost 1 a.m. in the morning here in Krakow, and I can tell you that people are still coming in, laying candles. Indeed, the palace grounds are awash in candles and flowers, tribute to the man Poles know as Jan Pawel Drugi.

Of course, to many Pokes he is, is and has been their king in exile, because he lived in Rome.

He's the man who restored dignity to this country after it was humiliated. One Polish friend said to me today, that this was a man, John Paul II was the man who ended Poland's inferiority complex.

So, indeed, across Poland, in Warsaw there was a mass late this afternoon; 100,000 to 150,000 Polish Catholics came out. Here in Krakow and all across this country, in small churches and in larger areas, there have been vigils.

The reason he was so important to Poles, of course, is that he restored to them their country. Remember, Poles were humiliated for 50 years by the Soviets at the end of the Second World War. Before that they were almost obliterated by the Nazis, and, throughout their tragic history, especially in the 19th Century, Poles were partitioned by the Prussians, by the Russians and also by the Austrians.

So, when John Paul II came along and helped throw off the yoke of communism, he established for himself a love among his own people which is ineradicable -- Paula.

ZAHN: Well, Walt, it's a powerful reminder of how his mindset was fostered from a very early age. Walt Rodgers, thanks so much.

When we come back, we are going to give you a rare look inside the Vatican, rooms many of us have never seen before. We'll be right back.


AMANPOUR: When we talk about the pope and the papacy, we also talk about St. Peter's Basilica, the most phenomenal work of architecture in the Christian church anywhere in the world. It was built centuries ago, and it contains some of the best artwork from some of the greatest medieval and Renaissance artists: Bernini, the sculptures and the colonnades, Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel and the dome of St. Peter.

It is very rare, though, to get a look inside with cameras, not just at the art, but at the inner workings, the behind the scenes look inside the Vatican.

Anderson Cooper walks us through.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360" (voice-over): It's one of the most recognizable sites 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 ever 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, "NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC" 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 temple home of the Roman Catholic Church. Why this particular place? Because, under the main alter, 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 by 30-foot tapestries which were done by Raphael, the famous Renaissance artist. And these nuns spend their entire lives rescoring the silk and wool and cotton thread. I mean, it's a vocation. It's like -- 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 cloths, 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, it 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.


AMANPOUR: And, indeed, the next chapter will be when the conclave gathers inside that Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope. And this "National Geographic" special will be shown at 10 p.m.

Aaron, it is incredible when you think about that -- Vatican, the Sistine Chapel. I always think about Michelangelo, lying on his back for months and years to paint that ceiling and to paint "The Last Judgment." It is magnificent.

BROWN: I just thought today how blessed, how fortunate I feel to be in this city, overlooking that place at this time, talking about this moment. It's -- it's something -- Paula.

ZAHN: And we have a lot more coverage ahead for those of you who will be staying with us tonight. Christiane, Aaron, thanks so much. Stay with us until midnight. "LARRY KING LIVE" will be up at 9, and live coverage from 10 to 12.

Good night.


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