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The Pope Revealed

Aired April 3, 2005 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. Welcome. Good to have you with us tonight. I'm Paula Zahn.
As hundreds of millions mourn the death of one of the world's most influential men, his church is already preparing a serene transition to his successor. Tonight, Pope John Paul II and beyond.

A beloved figure lies at rest inside the Vatican walls. Tonight, CNN's special primetime coverage, THE POPE REVEALED.

Ancient rituals, mysterious traditions. Laying the pope to rest. Plus, a glimpse behind the sealed doors where the next pontiff will be chosen in secrecy.

A sea of tears. Millions and millions mourn the loss of Pope John Paul II. Tonight, the outpouring of grief, gratitude and respect from around the world.

A heart-wrenching loss for Catholics of all nations. An enormous challenge to fill the Vatican throne. Who will take the pontiff's place? Tonight, we'll look at possible successors.

And an image we'll never forget. The pope so moved by the performance of an armless musician, he rushes to embrace him.


POPE JOHN PAUL II: Tony, you are - you are truly a courageous young man.


ZAHN: Tonight, Tony Melendez remembers the papal kiss that changed him forever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a CNN primetime special report with Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour in Rome, and Paula Zahn in New York.

ZAHN: And for a billion Catholics, this right now is the center of the world. It's two o'clock on a Monday morning in St. Peter's Square. The true faithful still standing in the cold. But tens of thousands have been streaming into the city all day long.

Again, thanks so much for being with us on this Sunday night. Our special coverage continues on this day after the death of Pope John Paul II. I'm joined now by my colleagues, Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour, who have been covering events from Rome. And we get started tonight with Anderson.

Good evening, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN NEWS, ROME: Good evening, Paula. Good evening, Christiane.

The pope today returned to the people. We haven't seen him in these last days and hours of his illness. His body lay in state today - his soul departed, his body at peace, serene, visited by dignitaries and friends and leaders of the Catholic Church.

I want to show you a picture right now of the papal apartment. Three windows that we have been looking at these last several days. Until today, the lights had been burning bright. As you'll see in this picture, the lights in the papal apartment have been extinguished - a symbol that there is no life in that apartment right now.

The pope will lay in state for the next several days. Tomorrow, tomorrow evening, it is believed, visitors will finally be able to come to file past, to see his body. It's expected some two million of the faithful will come here to see one last glimpse of the pontiff.

These next several days are steeped in tradition. Everything is determined by ritual.


COOPER: The bells of the churches of Rome tolled in unison, telling all who could hear them, the pope had passed away.

Today, 50,000 of the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for a mass honoring the Holy Father. Drawn together in their grief, their prayers mixed with tears.

That mass was celebrated by Angelo Cardinal Sodano, former Vatican secretary of state and a possible successor to the papacy, who said of his friend and longtime spiritual adviser, "He died with the serenity of the saints."

And inside the apostolic palace, his home for 26 years, in the very chapel where John Paul II would say his morning prayers, members of his inner circle, the cardinals who were closest to him, his friends and dignitaries came to pay their respects.

It seems everything that follows the death of a pope is wrapped in ancient ritual. But this was a break from tradition. The first time pictures of the body of a pope were shown to the public via Vatican TV.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN ANALYST, ROME: That decision is made by the camerlengo, Cardinal Martinez Somalo, who at this point in time during the interregnum, when there is no pope, makes most of those administrative decisions. So, it shows a great openness on his part towards the media.

COOPER: He lay stretched out on a simple slab made of a marble. A wooden crucifix at his head, his bishop's staff tucked under his arm.

GALLAGHER: The pope in the first instance is a bishop. He is a bishop of Rome. And a bishop in the Catholic Church is one of the most important positions.

And the staff represents the staff, much as a shepherd of his flock carries a staff. So, the pope - and any bishop - carries a staff during ceremonies.

COOPER: And he's dressed in bright crimson and white robes, the colors of the papacy, wearing a white miter on his head. As in every ritual, each gesture, every nuance has a deeper meaning.

GALLAGHER: Well, the white is purity, and the red is for the flames, for fire, which cleanses. So those are traditional garments in the church that are used at various times during the liturgical year.

COOPER: The pope was declared dead last night by a doctor. But then, according to custom, the camerlengo, or chamberlain, called out his Christian name, Karol, three times, then pronounced that the pope had died.

His body was embalmed. But there is another tradition that may or may not have been followed.

GALLAGHER: Sometimes the organs are removed, if they want to be placed in another place, other than in the tomb under St. Peter's.

COOPER: The pope's body may have been taken to the Sistine Chapel last night, but it was moved this morning to the apostolic palace, where he was blessed with holy water as mourners gathered to pray and say goodbye.

GALLAGHER: Yes. That's the final blessing of the pope, provided by the camerlengo, who is in charge during this time when there is no pope. And it's the last blessing. The pope, of course, must be blessed. And so he's blessed by those cardinals around him as a final sendoff.

COOPER: Tomorrow, more ritual rules the morning of John Paul II. His body will be moved to St. Peter's Basilica, where more than two million people are expected to see him lying in state - a chance for the faithful to say a final farewell to the man they called father.

The day of the funeral has not been set, but if tradition holds, the pope will join half his predecessors who were laid to rest in the grotto beneath the basilica, entombed forever under that magnificent house of worship, and held forever in the hearts of those who mourn his passing.

(END VIDEO) COOPER: This is a truly extraordinary time to be in Rome, to be in Vatican City. The image you're seeing right now is a live shot, right at the heart of St. Peter's Square, where several dozen people stand about, huddled in small groups, huddled around candles for warmth, lighting a candle in the darkness of this early, cold morning.

Silently saying prayers, speaking with one another, recalling the pontiff that they came to know - the pontiff that so many of us have grown up with, when the only popes many of the people alive on the earth right now have ever known.

That is the scene in Peter's Square. We continue to follow developments here in Vatican City and all throughout the world.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour joins me now from here in Rome. She has been monitoring world reaction. And what a reaction it has been, Christiane.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN NEWS, ROME: It has, indeed. And not just from the people, of course, here in Italy, but soon, over the next few days, that giant piazza with those embracing colonnades that look like arms outstretched to embrace the faithful, will be jam- packed with people, pilgrims, who come to say goodbye to the pope, who perhaps will try to file past his body as it lies in state under the basilica.

And as I say, it's not just here that they're saying goodbye, but all over the world, people - ordinary and exalted, those who are the poorest and those who are the most elevated - are saying goodbye to this, the most incredible pope in terms of his travels, his reach-out for the last 26 years.


AMANPOUR: Wherever you look, the scenes are the same - prayers and music in South Africa and in Nagasaki, Japan - reminders that the pope was a global figure. And his death has become a global event.

There are tears in the Philippines and in Africa's Ivory Coast. Candles at Notre Dame in Paris and in Phuket, Thailand.

An estimated 100,000 people turned out for a service in Warsaw, Poland - the pope's homeland.

Bells rang out in Puerto Rico. Mariachi music played in Mexico.

World leaders are paying tribute, as well.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What people could see in Pope John Paul was a man of true and profound spiritual faith, a shining example of what that faith should mean.

AMANPOUR: There were expressions of sorrow from Israel's government, from Palestinian leaders, from Christian churches like this one in Nazareth.

And even from the militant groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which took note of the pope's statements on Palestinian rights.

There were reactions from places you might not expect.

Cuba, where the pope paid a visit in 1998, declared three days of mourning. The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has strained relations with the Vatican, wrote, may his memory live forever.

The man who tried to kill the pope nearly a quarter century ago, Mehmet Ali Agca, is said by his brother to be extremely saddened, in grief.

In his years as pope, John Paul II traveled a distance equal to that of the earth to the moon - three times.

He made 104 trips outside of Italy, and saw more than 120 countries. Millions saw him over the years.

Today, in all their diversity, the people of the world remembered, and they said, thank you.


AMANPOUR: And perhaps one always associates his travels with those areas where Catholics or Christians are in the majority. But of course, he spent much time in areas where Christians, Catholics, were in the minority.

He went to Indonesia. He went to Pakistan. He went all over the world. And today, leaders from those parts of the world said goodbye, as well.

And as we remember, when he used to travel, one of the most electrifying moments was every time he came down the steps of his papal plane and would sink dramatically to the ground and kiss the ground.

He was unable to do that later on. Sometimes, though, the dignitaries who were hosting him would pick up a morsel, a handful of earth, and give it to him to symbolically kiss. And that's what he would do in his later years.

But when one saw him, surrounded by people - even though in many places church congregations are dwindling, when the pope arrived, his popemobile was always mobbed, was always swarmed - Paula.

ZAHN: And, Christiane, so many of the reactions you've shared with us now from around the globe are mirrored right here in America. Thank you.

There are prayers, tears and tributes.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell saw the pope a number of times. Their final meeting was last summer.

But Powell's memories of their first meeting, some 20 years ago, remain especially vivid.


COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Alma and I were with a group that went in to see His Holiness. We were accompanying Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger at that time.

And it was a very emotional. It was almost a - it was an experience, a religious experience. You just weren't in the presence of a marvelous individual or a wonderful room - the setting is remarkable.

But when we left that, we truly felt we had been with somebody who was rather unique.


ZAHN: And many Americans share Colin Powell's impression, that this pope was unique and will be greatly missed.


ZAHN: On this Sunday in America, in very diverse settings, the loss of the people's pope is seen, heard and felt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very sad, but very - knowing he's at peace with the Lord is more than I can say. It's - he deserves to be there. But it's a loss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was the most important person for all Polish people, for the Polish community. Really. He was - he was our Lord.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I feel like my father died. He was like family.

ZAHN: There were outward, ceremonial symbols and internal, personal emotions.

In Boston yesterday, Archbishop Sean O'Malley spoke from his heart.

MOST REV. SEAN O'MALLEY, ARCHBISHOP OF BOSTON: Well, this afternoon I was celebrating mass in Spanish for a group of young people at Our Lady of Lourdes. And when I got to the part of the cannon where we pray for the pope - and there's no pope - I kind of stopped, you know.

And it was a feeling of being an orphan.

ZAHN: In Washington, the John Paul II Cultural Center opened its doors to those who wanted to pay their respects.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: On behalf of all of us, for the Holy Father, who was a man of peace, a man of compassion, a man who has had an enormous impact on the world. ZAHN: In a nation that so often struggles over major controversial issues, today Catholics and non-Catholics alike could agree that the world has lost an extraordinary man.


ZAHN: And, of course, the next question they will have to confront is, who will replace this much beloved pope?

The princes of the church, Catholic cardinals will have a very busy time ahead. We're going to preview their first conclave in a quarter century as they get ready to elect a new pope.


MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FORMER HEAD OF THE SOVIET UNION (through translator): We had a really interesting, albeit perhaps too emotional, conversation.

He told me he supported perestroika. But he was very, very critical of communism. Likewise, though, he was very critical of capitalism.

He said, "I don't serve any political parties. I serve God."



ZAHN: As the world mourns the pope, leaders of the church gather to elect the man who will lead them into the future.

Also, John Paul II touched so many lives in so many different ways. Coming up, a man whose music brought joy and hope to the pope's heart.

First, though, time to check in with Carol Lin for a look at the rest of the day's news. Hi, Carol.

CAROL LIN, CNN HEADLINE NEWS: Hi there, Paula. This is what's happening right now in the news.

A breakthrough day for the new Iraq National Assembly with deputies electing a speaker and two deputy speakers. The vote clears the way for the naming of a new Iraqi president and prime minister, expected at the assembly's next meeting.

Syria says it will complete its troop withdrawal from Lebanon by April 30th. The commitment was given to a U.N. envoy in the Syrian capital today. The Syrians say they have already withdrawn 4,000 soldiers from Lebanon in the last several weeks.

Train derailment. About a dozen passengers received minor injuries when an Amtrak train jumped the tracks today in Washington State. Four cars and a locomotive derailed, but remained upright. Amtrak officials rushed to the scene to arrange transportation for the rest of the passengers and the crew.

And there might be a schedule conflict, but Prince Charles' wedding will take place on Friday as planned. The Vatican says the pope's funeral could be any time from Wednesday to Friday. Well, Charles' wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles was scheduled before the pope's death.

And those are the headlines. Paula, back to you in New York.

ZAHN: I think a lot of folks were surprised by that announcement.

LIN: You bet, but they've got plans.

ZAHN: Exactly, Carol. Thanks.

It's time to go back to Rome now where Anderson Cooper is standing by. Anderson, I know it's the dead of night there and it's freezing.

Are you still continuing to see people come to pay homage to the pope?

COOPER: We are. St. Peter's Square still has several dozen people. And they're filtering in and out, huddled around candles for warmth. It's a very moving site, a very somber site, very quiet.

Last night we heard singing sort of wafting across the air, wafting over the city of Rome, wafting over Vatican City. We don't hear the singing. It is a more somber day, as it has been all day long, really. At the height of today, we saw some 50,000 people visiting St. Peter's Square for a mass in honor of the Holy Father.

His life is over. But, of course, the life of this church continues. And already, the process of picking a new pope has begun. It's a process that is steeped in mystery and shrouded in secrecy.


COOPER: Today, the leaders of the Catholic Church, its cardinals are remembering the pope they have lost. Most of them were chosen by John Paul II. Most of them share his view of the world and a view of him in it.

CARDINAL ROGER MICHAEL MAHONEY, ARCHBISHOP OF LOS ANGELES: He was such a brilliant light for the world.

COOPER: But in a matter of days, their thoughts will turn to electing the pope who will lead them into the future.

CARDINAL J. FRANCIS STAFFORD, FORMER ARCHBISHOP OF DENVER: And that future is unknown to us at this point. But it has to be radically rooted in the magnificent teachings that the Holy Father has given to us.

COOPER: They'll go into what's called the conclave, from the Latin "conclavis" - with key. Canon law dictates that this official election process begin 15 to 20 days after the pope dies.

For many, the Vatican is a museum. But during this time, during this interregnum period, it is a living, breathing place.

The cardinals from all around the world are coming here to Vatican City, where just a few hundred feet from here in the Sistine Chapel, they will meet behind closed doors. The doors will be locked, sealed with wax on either side. And inside, under Michelangelo's masterpiece, they will decide who is the next pope.

But first, the Sistine Chapel will be swept for bugs, recording devices and any other means of electronic surveillance - all in an effort to keep the proceedings completely secret.

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

When Pope Gregory X was finally chosen, he decreed that in future elections, cardinals would be locked in the chapel until a new pope was named.

But this year, thanks to changes made by Pope John Paul II, the cardinals will be able to retire each night in comfort. That's because, for the first time in history, they'll be permitted to leave the chapel so they can sleep in a nearby dormitory, known as Casa Santa Marta, which will also be swept for bugs.

During the daytime, the cardinals will vote twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon - handwriting their choice for pope on ballots, inscribed with the words, "Eligo in Summum Pontificem" - I elect as supreme pontiff.

Between the votes, there'll be discussions - genteel politicking.

CARDINAL THEODORE E. MCCARRICK, ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON: I can't do nuances in Italian. And, you know, sometimes nuances are the most important things in situations like this. So, I would hope that I could speak English or Spanish. I can do nuances in Spanish.

But we'll see.

COOPER: If no candidate receives two-thirds of the vote, the ballots and tally sheets will be burned in a little stove just off the Sistine Chapel, sending black smoke up a 60-foot pipe.

A plume of black smoke means, we are still without a pope.

But when a candidate does receive two-thirds of the vote, chemicals will be added to the burning ballots to make the smoke appear white, and signal that a new pontiff has been chosen.

The new pope will be asked if he accepts his appointment, and led into a small room just off the Sistine Chapel called the Chapel of Tears, to reflect the heavy burden the pope will carry. Inside he'll find papal robes in small, medium and large. Once dressed, the new pope will greet the cardinals and walk toward this balcony facing St. Peter's Square. Leading him will be the cardinal deacon, whose job it is to announce to the anxious crowd, "Habemus Papam" - we have a pope.

Then the new pontiff will greet the faithful and give his first blessing to the City of Rome and the rest of the world.


COOPER: Of course, the question is, who will be that next pope? It is an election, of course. Though it is steeped in tradition and spirituality and religious devotion, it is an election, and matters of age play a part, country of origin and belief systems.

We're going to look, right after this break, at all of those - all of those aspects - how they play a role in the election of the new pope, and who some of the frontrunners are - or believed to be are - and the possibility of a dark horse.

Someone at this point who is not considered a frontrunner may just be elected. We'll see how that may affect the world's one billion Catholics.

We'll be right back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was human. He really showed people that he loved them, and he loved everyone. And he - didn't matter who you were, and that was important. And he recognized the value of all people.


ZAHN: Who is a likely successor to Pope John Paul II? I guess we shouldn't be surprised. It's become a second-guessing game here in America. There are already Web sites that have sprung up, where people are taking bets on the odds-on favorite.

But Vatican observers have been making up their own shortlist for years. And as the cardinals begin the search for a new pope, they'll be weighing some key factors - experience, position on church doctrine and, not least, nationality.

Here's a look at some of the contenders to lead a billion Catholics or more into the 21st century.


ZAHN: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Cardinal Francis Arinze. Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi.

These three names are unfamiliar. But Vatican watchers say they are among the frontrunners to be the next pope.

The College of Cardinals shocked the world in 1978, when they chose a Polish cardinal, making Pope John Paul II the first non- Italian pope in more than 450 years.

That shift, away from the Italian domination in the Catholic Church, has continued over the past 26 years.

Today, the church's strongest growth is in Third World countries. More than half the world's Catholics live in Asia, Africa, Latin and South America. And many say it's only a matter of time before a pope comes from one of these regions.

CARDINAL FRANCIS ARINZE: From the beginning of time ...

ZAHN: That could help the chances of Cardinal Arinze, the Vatican's fourth-ranking prelate, who is from Nigeria.

If elected, he would be only the second African to head the church. Like John Paul II, Arinze is a staunch conservative. He's also one of the pope's closest advisers.

ARINZE: Holy Father, thank you so much.

ZAHN: But some Vatican watchers say age may prove to be a factor. That an older cardinal has the best chance to become the next pope. Many believe the current papacy has lasted too long, and that the next pontiff will be a transition pope.

That thinking increases the prospects for Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany. He'll turn 78 in mid-April. As head of the church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he has been a strong enforcer of the pope's conservative positions on church doctrine.

Others say there's a powerful sentiment to return to tradition and elect an Italian, which would make Cardinal Tettamanzi a favorite.

Known for his diplomatic skills, Cardinal Tettamanzi, the Archbishop of Milan, is also close to Opus Dei, the ultraconservative Catholic group.

Ultimately, the person who may have the most influence on who becomes the next pope is John Paul II. He was responsible for appointing almost all of the 117 cardinals eligible to vote, making it very likely that the next pope will share Pope John Paul II's conservative stances on issues like abortion and the role of women in the church.

But all this speculation about front-runners is just speculation. There's a saying in Rome, to enter the conclave believing one will become pope is a sure way to exit it a cardinal.


And Anderson, about the only thing we could get any of our experts to agree on is the fact that they don't believe there will be a pope from the United States. They say no matter who the candidate would be, that candidate would be considered closely allied with the U.S. government and the power of the Vatican, the power of the U.S. would be terribly alienating to the rest of the Catholic population, interesting thought.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're hearing that as well. It does seem to be the one thing people here agree on as well. There won't be an American pope anytime soon. Paula, thanks very much.

I'm here with CNN Vatican analyst Delia Gallagher. Let's talk a little about countries of origin for some of these people. What is the likelihood that there will be a rebirth of the Italian papacy? There are so many here who would like to see, especially here in Rome, who would like to see an Italian pope again.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that that is one of the major questions for this conclave and I think that it's quite probable that it could happen.

COOPER: Why, because the Italian cardinals as a bloc are powerful?

GALLAGHER: No, because there's a feeling - well, the European cardinals are the majority, 58 European cardinals and I think that there is one group that feels that perhaps the papacy should come back to Italy, because we've had the experiment now of a foreign pope and it might just be too much for them. This is still kind of very traditional, old world church, even though it's been opened up by the pope. So there's a good chance we'll go back.

COOPER: The other side of that is that the growth areas for the Catholic Church have been in Africa, have been in Latin America and there are some very strong candidates, one candidate from Nigeria, other candidates from Latin America. Do you think that's a very real possibility?

GALLAGHER: Well, that's the other side of the coin of course, the growing number of Catholics are in those countries. But then, detracting from that is the fact that those countries don't have the experience that the European cardinals might have with the whole tradition of the church. So it's sort of an old world versus new world fight really.

COOPER: 117 cardinals get to vote because that's the number that are under the age of 80. Of those, 114 have been appointed by John Paul II. What influence do you think that is going to have in terms of the direction they go in and is age going to play a big factor in who gets to be the next pope? John Paul was 58 when he was elected pope. That was very, very young.

GALLAGHER: I think they will probably try for somebody who's a little bit older, but it's not a determining factor. All of these factors we can only say play a role, but you have to look over, an overall...

COOPER: Older because they want someone...

GALLAGHER: Older because it would be a shorter pontificate.

COOPER: And other people could get the opportunity again.

GALLAGHER: Well, yes and just to kind of have a sort of transitional moment. It would be big shoes to fill for whoever the man is, so I do think that they are going to look at several of those factors, but again, it's such - it's so difficult to sort of predict it.

COOPER: It's like American politics.

GALLAGHER: It's going to be interesting.

COOPER: You never know what's going to happen. Delia Gallagher, thanks very much for that. When we come back, we are going to take you behind closed doors, showing you parts of the Vatican you have probably never seen before. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Praying for the soul of John Paul II in Thailand. Mourners around the world remembering the pontiff today. There are really so many mysteries about the Catholic Church and that was really something about John Paul II that differentiated him from some of the other popes that preceded him. He really embraced those mysteries, embraced the essential contradictions of faith in the modern world.

Part and parcel of the mystery to the church is the Vatican. There are many parts of it sealed off from the hundreds of thousands of tourists who come through its doors each year. The National Geographic Channel is airing a special this evening, which really takes you behind closed doors at the Vatican. They call it "inside the Vatican." Here is a look.


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

COOPER (voice-over): 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 and 30 foot tapestries which were done by Raphael, the 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 Michaelangelo. 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 (INAUDIBLE) 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 Michaelangelo'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, 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: Well, Pope John Paul II of course didn't stay cloistered behind the closed doors of the Vatican. He ventured out more than any other pope in history, traveling far and wide to places big and small, meeting more people perhaps than any other single person on this planet in human history. So many people felt a personal connection to the pontiff, personal stories we have heard all day long about this pope changing peoples' lives. In a moment, we're going to tell you one man's story, a story he calls a miracle, how one performance for the pope changed this man's life forever.


ZAHN: And the mourning for Pope John Paul II continues all over the world. In a moment, a musician, an American musician whose life was changed the day he sang and played guitar for the hope. But first, let's go back to Carol Lin one more time at CNN Center in Atlanta for the day's other headlines. Hi again Carol.

CAROL LIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks very much Paula. We're going to start in Stuttgart, Germany, where police say a man with a sword burst into a church service today, killing a woman and wounding two other people. Police say the man's girlfriend, who had refused to marry him, was attending that service. Now she was unharmed and he was taken into custody.

In Iraq today, the transitional parliament elected a speaker and two deputy speakers. The speaker is Sunni and the deputies are Kurdish and Shia. Next, the assembly will name a new president and in turn the president can name a prime minister, allowing the rest of the government to be nominated and confirmed.

Up to a dozen people were slightly hurt today, when an Amtrak train derailed in Washington State. They were taken to hospitals while the rest of those on board were taken to a shelter. All four cars of the empire builder derailed, but remained upright. And those are the headlines. Right now back to Paula for our special coverage.

ZAHN: Those pictures you just showed us Carol looked like they were pretty darn lucky, remarkable. Thanks.

There is an old saying whoever sings prays twice. One musician's prayers were answered way back in 1987. He sang for the pope and it changed his whole life.


ZAHN (voice-over): Guitarist Tony Melendez was born without arms, a Thalidomide baby, but his handicap never got in his way.

TONY MELENDEZ, GUITARIST: When people see a guy with no arms playing the guitar singing and doing his thing, sharing a little bit about his life, there is that sense of inspiration. Hey, if he could do it, I could maybe do it.

ZAHN: He started playing in high school. His dream though, was to become a priest. But that was the one thing he couldn't do. Priests need an index finger and thumb to perform their duty of giving communion. So instead, he did what came naturally, took his voice and his guitar and started playing at church events.

MELENDEZ: I was totally surprised. I really didn't get it. They say you're going to sing a song for the pope. I understand that but all of a sudden you're there. The pope's in front of you. There's 6,000 youth around you.

ZAHN: Melendez was invited to perform for the pope and a crowd of thousands on September 15, 1987. The song he chose to sing was called "Never Be the Same." That title could have been a prophecy.

MELENDEZ: I remember that, just excited, just nerves of him coming in, the young people. I was sitting like within the audience so I could just almost reach out to them with my foot. So I was in the crowd. The pope was up on the big stage. The pope was looking at me and I just remember him leaning forward. At the end, he stood up and applauded and then jumped into the audience and came over to kiss me.

My heart was going da dum, da dum, da dum. At that moment, I just remember my eyes watering up, a hand reaching up, asking me can you come a little closer. I could tell he wanted to share a kiss and that's when I knelt down and we touched with a kiss.

To me I really feel like I've seen a living saint. That touch has inspired so many people.

ZAHN: Melendez says his life changed forever the day the pope came into his life.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: Tony, Tony, Tony you are truly a courageous young man, courageous young man. You are giving hope to all of us and my wish to you is to continue of giving this hope to all the people.

ZAHN: Words and a message not likely to be forgotten.

MELENDEZ: I just admire him. I'll remember him as kind of that grandfather that everybody loved. I just want to say I love the pope. I miss him.


ZAHN: What a beautiful story. Tony Melendez has played four other times for the pope, including twice at the Vatican and a very important reminder of how much energy this pope harnessed from the young people he so much loved.

Still to come, the pope in his own words. Stay with us for memorable lessons from his sermons.


ZAHN: Seems like that, images like that playing out all across Poland today as people mourn Pope John Paul II of course, the country that shaped this pope's philosophy. LARRY KING LIVE is coming at you in just about eight minutes or so and Larry's with us now. Who will be joining you tonight, Larry? LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR, LARRY KING LIVE: Nice to be with you here in New York, Paula. We got some special guests in the next hour, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell. We'll meet James Caviezel who played Jesus Christ in the "Passion of the Christ," and Secretary Jim Nicholson. He's now secretary of veterans affairs. He was ambassador to the Vatican. All that and more ahead with phone calls at the top of the hour. Now back to Ms. Zahn here in Gotham.

ZAHN: Hey, welcome home. Next time you come home, we'll make sure we store (ph) some lights up in the studio so we can see you.

KING: You can't see me?

ZAHN: No, not very well, but I'm sure at 9:00, we'll see you better.

KING: Nice to have you on your set.

ZAHN: Thanks Larry. Have a good show. Now we go back to Rome where Anderson Cooper is standing by.

COOPER: You know, Paula, all day long, we have been seeing such an outpouring of emotion here on the streets of Rome. AMERICAN MORNING'S Bill Hemmer spent some part of the day today just talking with people on the streets in Vatican City and around Rome. Here's some of the reaction he got.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's so many people in the Vatican and yet there's just this calm and this peace that's over each one of everybody in the whole place and it's - people are talking but it's very solemn and quiet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first time I saw him I said something in Polish, not in very good Polish, so at least I got a smile. So anyway...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good memory too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw this on TV and I saw this look on people's eyes. I said let me go there and see if it's like what it is and now I have that look in my eyes. I feel really, really sad, just - he was the people's pope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything around you as you approached him went into slow motion, as if you're in a bubble. It was truly a holy moment.


COOPER: Some private reflections from people about a very public man. Christiana Amanpour joins us now on the streets here in Rome. Christiane. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you can imagine, right at this hour, the square that we saw so full early this morning is now empty, but everybody expects it to get really jammed over the next several days, of course leading up to the funeral. I think what everybody certainly is waiting for is a sort of a formal listing of the next few days and that will start tomorrow with the congregation of cardinals. They start at 9:00 a.m. and we already know that American cardinals are on their way as well as others from all over the world to join that 9:00 a.m. session here at the Vatican to plan carefully the next few days and to give that all-important date, the date of the funeral. So we'll be waiting for that.

COOPER: And some two million people expected to see the pope as he lays in state in St. Peters. It will be a very emotional time of course and that's supposed to begin tomorrow evening. Christiane, thank you. We'll be talking with you a little bit later on.

We're going to go to a short break. LARRY KING LIVE is coming up and as we go to the break, we're going to hear some of the pope in his own words.


ZAHN: Welcome back. In the last hour, we have heard a lot of people tell us what the loss of Pope John Paul II means to them, but in the end, a very valuable part of him will always be with us, the words and thoughts that made me so respected and admired to so many. Here are some, read by former New York Governor Mario Cuomo.

MARIO CUOMO, FORMER NY GOVERNOR: In God's plan, nothing happens by chance.

Just as grace builds on nature and brings it to fulfillment, so faith builds upon and perfects reason.

There is no true freedom where life is not welcome and loved and there is not fullness of life except in freedom.

The worst prison would be a closed heart.

Authentic love is not a vague sentiment or a blind passion. It is an inner attitude that involves the whole human being. Love in a word, is the gift of self.

ZAHN: Some remarkably powerful words for all of us to remember. That's it for all of us here tonight. We really appreciate your joining us. Stay with CNN for continuing special coverage of the legacy of Pope John Paul II. I'll be back at 10:00 p.m. along with Anderson and Christiane, but first LARRY KING LIVE is next.


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