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Continuing Coverage of Pope John Paul II's Funeral; Bush Reflects on Experience in Rome; So Many Heads of State Make for Strange Bedfellows; Pope John Paul Reached Out to Youth, Gained Large Following

Aired April 8, 2005 - 16:30   ET


BLITZER: We have complete coverage for you this hour, beginning with CNN's Diana Muriel. She's joining us now live from the Vatican.

DIANA MURIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I spent some time this morning down in the crowd on my way to the CNN live location. And there was the most extraordinary atmosphere, a sense of anticipation amongst those who had spent so many hours of waiting.


MURIEL (voice-over): The time had finally come, the body of Pope John Paul II, encased in a cypress-wood casket, carried out of the basilica of St. Peter's by 12 pall bearers, to the crowds who awaited him in the piazza below.

Among them, kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and the Eastern patriarchs of the Catholic Church. Further out in the crowd, tens of thousands of the faithful, from all over the world. Among them, countless Poles, who made the long journey to say good-bye to their native son for the last time, their national flag reflecting the color of the cardinals, capes sailing in the wind as they came to kneel in front of the body of the Holy Father.

German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a close friend of the pope, led the service.


CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER, GERMAN CARDINAL (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Today, we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality. Our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time, of joyful hope and profound gratitude.

MURIEL: The cardinal's words met with applause from the crowd, but also tears and muttered prayers as thousands followed the proceedings on screens around the city.

As the priests exchanged the kiss of peace, one to another, the hand of friendship also extended among the great and the good. President George W. Bush, leaning back to shake the hand of the Turkish prime minister. Communion was given, not just to the dignitaries, but also to the ordinary people who had waited so patiently for so many hours to be there. As the communion ended, the cry went up, "santo subito," "sainthood now," as thousands cried for the sanctification of Pope John Paul II.

The Eastern patriarchs ended the service, chanting in Greek, their gowns billowing in the breeze. Then, almost three hours after the proceedings began, the casket was lifted once again and carried to the basilica, turned by the pallbearers to face the crowd in one last gesture of farewell.


MURIEL: The burial itself in the crypt of St. Peter's, this private, intimate moment that was not televised around the world.


WOODRUFF: The whole thing was so moving. Diana Muriel, thank you very much.

After the funeral mass ended, the pope's body was taken to its final resting place. Following tradition, the plain cypress coffin was placed inside a second casket made of zinc, and that was sealed in a third casket made of walnut, all to preserve the pope's body.

John Paul II now rests with 148 other popes inside the giant St. Peter's Basilica at the heart of Vatican City. It was placed in a grotto beneath the basilica's main floor, in a tomb that once housed the remains of Pope John XXIII. They were moved when John Paul II made him a saint in 2000.

As specified in this pope's will, his caskets were placed in the ground. Many other popes lie above ground, in crypts, which was once considered a sign of status. John Paul II's insistence on interment is seen as a sign of humility.

BLITZER: For more on the burial, let's turn once again to Father David O'Connell, the president of the Catholic University of America here in Washington.

It's interesting that immediately after the funeral, some of the top aides, the advisers to Pope John Paul II, in effect, are told it's time to move on.

FATHER DAVID O'CONNELL, PRES. CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: That's right, Wolf. As you know, the papal apartment is sealed after the death of the pope and so entrance and exit from that area would be restricted in the Vatican. But it is customary that the closest aides would be invited to move on. I know Archbishop Dziwisz, who was so close to the pope for so many years, has made plans to reside in a monastery outside of Rome and he's taking with him the Polish sisters who worked inside of the papal apartments.

WOODRUFF: Who provides the continuity, then? If, essentially, it's a clean house, as we prepare for the conclave of the cardinals, who provides the consistency in running the church during this short period?

O'CONNELL: There are some people, even though they don't exercise official authority in virtue of an office that they hold, who stay around. And really in many ways, depends upon the new pope. The new pope certainly has the freedom to invite them back into service, as Pope John Paul did in the case of Bishop Magee, who was Paul VI's personal secretary.

BLITZER: We're showing our viewers a picture of Archbishop Dziwisz, who was, a fellow Pole -- still is a Pole -- the closest aide, I think it's fair to say, to the pope.

As we take a look at the actual casket, the pallbearers, I'm fascinated by who these men are, the ones who actually carried this wooden casket.

O'CONNELL: They have the title "Gentlemen of His Holiness," and from what I understand, it's almost a family tradition. It's in their family, passed down from generation to generation, that they'd be selected from among the noble families of Rome to serve the Holy Father in his office in this way.

In the past, if you recall, many years ago, the pope being carried around on a chair called the sadia justitoria, these would have been the individuals who would have done that as well. It's a family, in a sense, a family custom and a family blessing.

BLITZER: And no major roles for women in any of this kind of traditional mass?

O'CONNELL: As you saw today, there was no real place for women provided in the liturgy, although I think the reading, the first reading was done by a woman lector. I think that was the only place that was provided in the liturgy today.

BLITZER: All right. We're going to continue this conversation. Father David O'Connell of Catholic University, thank you very much.


WOODRUFF: All right. President Bush, who of course led the U.S. delegation to the funeral, said he was very moved by what he saw, and he talked about it at length on the trip back to the United States.

CNN's senior White House correspondent, John King, has that.


JOHN KING, CNN SR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Bush called attending the pope's funeral one of the highlights of his presidency, labeling the ceremony "majestic" and a reaffirmation of his faith in, quote, "a living God." The president said he was moved by the service, especially the music and the sight of the plain cedar coffin being carried out at the opening of the mass.

Mr. Bush led a U.S. delegation that included two former presidents, the first lady, and the secretary of state. He made no public statements during some 40 hours in Rome, but as he headed home, the president made clear he disagrees with his predecessor's assessment of how history will remember John Paul II. On the way to Rome, former President Clinton praised the late pope as a historic figure. But Mr. Clinton also said the pontiff, quote, "may have a mixed legacy," because many Catholics disagree with the Vatican edicts on issues like abortion, and the death penalty.

On Air Force One, heading home, the current president took issue, using the words "strong," "clear" and "excellent" to describe the legacy of a pope Mr. Bush described as a man of compassion and peace. The Protestant president met the pope three times, most recently 10 months ago, and he attended Catholic mass in Washington just hours after John Paul's death.

CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK, ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON: I don't think that was just political. I think it was because he had a great affection for this Holy Father and for what he stood for in the world.

KING: Mr. Bush has always been open about his faith. Yet still his language during that conversation on the flight home was quite remarkable. The president talked of sensing a spirit during his days here in Rome, especially, he said, when pausing to pray during a viewing of the pope's body Wednesday night.

The president also said he found the funeral service much more moving than he'd anticipated. He called it a reaffirmation of his own Christian faith and predicted a reaffirmation of faith for millions around the world.

John King, CNN, Rome.


BLITZER: In other news, an unexpected announcement in the case Eric Robert Rudolph. The accused Olympic Park bomber agrees to a plea that could save his life. We'll have details on this developing story.

WOODRUFF: Plus, a remarkable collection of world leaders and royalty, all together at the pope's funeral. Were there any diplomatic implications?

Also ahead...

JOHN PAUL SOLER, SEMINARIAN: Wow, this man is such a holy man. And I kind of had to deal with the fact that maybe, maybe God was calling me to be a priest.

BLITZER: Inspired by Pope John Paul II, one young seminary student shares his calling to the priesthood. Our special coverage of the pope's funeral continues after this.


WOODRUFF: Welcome back. Millions of faithful packed the streets surrounding St. Peter's Square for the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

BLITZER: Our special coverage continues.

But, first, let's get a quick check of other stories now in the news.

A Pakistani businessman has been charged in the United States with trafficking in nuclear detonators and testing equipment. Prosecutors say the man knowingly violated U.S. export restrictions. Authorities also unsealed a guilty plea from an Israeli national living in South Africa who admitted helping the Pakistani obtain the materials.

There's a claim of responsibility for yesterday's bombing in Cairo, which left three people dead, including an American who died of his wounds this morning. An obscure group calling itself the Islamic Brigades of Pride in Egypt says it acted in retaliation against the United States and, quote, "colonial powers" for what it calls oppression in Iraq and Palestine.

WOODRUFF: Here in the United States, former fugitive Eric Rudolph will apparently avoid a possible death sentence. The Justice Department says he has agreed to plead guilty to a series of bombings, including fatal attacks at the Atlanta Olympics and at a women's clinic.

Let's turn to our justice correspondent, Kelli Arena. Kelli?

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Judy, Rudolph has agreed to plead guilty to four bombings: the 1996 Olympic Park bombing and other attacks on abortion clinics and a lesbian nightclub. In exchange, he'll get life in prison without parole. He'd been facing the death penalty.

Now, as part of the deal, Rudolph told investigators where he hid 250 pounds of dynamite in North Carolina. Three of the five locations were near very populated areas. The explosives had to be detonated at some of the locations because officials say they were just too fragile to be moved. In a statement, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says that "victims of Rudolph's terrorist attacks can rest assured that he will spend the rest of his life behind bars."

But several victims tell CNN they're very disappointed by the plea deal, and think Rudolph should have been put to death. Rudolph will appear in federal court on Wednesday to plead guilty. First he'll do that in Alabama, then in Atlanta. Judy. Wolf.

WOODRUFF: Thank you, Kelli.

BLITZER: Kelli, thank you very much.

Joining us from the CNN Center is CNN senior producer Henry Schuster. He's written an outstanding book on this case. It's called "Hunting Eric Rudolph."

Quick question, Henry. I know you're getting a lot of reaction from various victims and others to this plea agreement. What are they saying to you?


As Kelli pointed out, one of the victims that we talked to was upset, both she and her husband. She was badly maimed in the bombing in Birmingham, and she felt the death penalty is what Eric Rudolph deserved. I talked to two different U.S. attorneys who had been involved in the case. One of them was surprised by the decision not to seek the death penalty, especially considering this administration's desire to call this a domestic terrorism case, while the other -- Doug Jones in Birmingham -- said he was ecstatic, and said that what would happen on Wednesday would be the most important thing, that Eric Rudolph would stand before federal judges in Atlanta and Birmingham, and admit his guilt.

Another person I spoke to who's been involved in investigating this case from the beginning said, that what he's already seen -- that was taken -- that was discovered in North Carolina -- really ends the chapter for him in the Rudolph book. All the explosives, the components, leaving absolutely no doubt in his mind that Eric Rudolph was responsible for this reign of terror.

BLITZER: CNN's Henry Schuster, who broke this story earlier today here on CNN. Thank you very much. Important story out of the South.

When we come back, Judy?

WOODRUFF: That's right.

Millions gather worldwide to view the pope's funeral, including hundreds of world leaders -- princes, presidents, kings and queens who are rarely, if ever, in the same company. How do they all get along?

BLITZER: Also this. The pope's popularity, rock star status to so many young people around the world. We'll take a closer look at what drew them to this conservative pontiff.

WOODRUFF: And, later, an affair to remember. England's royal wedding just hours away.


BLITZER: Welcome back. One big moment at today's funeral, Israel's president shook hands with the leaders of Iran and Syria. Noting the venue, some people call that a miracle. That may be an exaggeration, but whenever world leaders gather as they did today, observers pay very close attention to how they treat each other.


BLITZER (voice-over): U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was there, part of a gathering as diverse as any you'd see at the United Nations. From the United States, three of the presidents who served during John Paul's long papacy -- the two President Bushes and former President Clinton. From Europe, Spain's King Juan Carlos and France's President Jacques Chirac. British Prime Minister Tony Blair was there. So was Britain's Prince Charles, who postponed his own wedding in order to attend.

Charles found himself seated near Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who's been accused of numerous human rights abuses. At one point, Charles shook Mugabe's hand. A spokesman for the prince later said that was a mistake, that Charles was caught by surprise after Mugabe offered his hand.

With so many leaders from so many countries present, any interaction was scrutinized for diplomatic implications. Iran's President Mohammed Khatami and Syria's President Bashar al Assad kissed, which was not surprising. But both of those Middle Eastern leaders also shook hands with Israel's President Moshe Katsav, which was surprising.

Both of those countries are in a state of war with Israel. Mr. Katsav, himself born in Iran spoke in Farsi with Mr. Khatami, according to some reports, for as long as an hour. The Israeli leader later told a television station that the hand shake and conversation were just a matter of being polite, and had no policy implications.

There were other diplomatic complications. Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian attended the funeral. But China did not send a representative, citing Taiwan's presence. Another no-show, Cuba's Fidel Castro, who attended a mass for the pope in Havana Monday. Though Mr. Castro was absent, Latin America was represented by leaders like Brazil's President Da Silva. Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai was also there.

The list goes on and on -- kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers. The world's mightiest leaders gathered for the funeral of a man who was called the people's pope.


BLITZER: And this just in: Judy, only a few moments ago, the Syrian government issued a statement saying that hand shake between the two presidents, Bashar al Assad and President Katsav of Israel, had no political significance, did not underscore any change in the Syrian attitude toward Israel.

WOODRUFF: I wonder if that means they were feeling some heat over that. Very interesting.


WOODRUFF: Sure is.

All right. Well, untold millions around the world did mark the pope's funeral. In Manila, an estimated 25,000 people watched the spectacle on giant TV screens in the same park where John Paul II celebrated Mass 10 years ago.

Nairobi's Holy Family Basilica was filled to overflowing, as the funeral was broadcast to huge crowds both inside and out. The pope visited Kenya three times, most recently in 1995. Eight hundred thousand people watched the funeral in a park in Krakow, Poland, where Karol Wojtyla was archbishop before he became pope.

In Chicago, which has a large Polish-American population hundreds of people took part in a procession honoring the late pontiff. They streamed through a traditionally Polish neighborhood in a cortege six blocks long.

BLITZER: The paradox of the pope, enormously popular with young people, yet enormously conservative.

Why did this pope draw so many young people to the Catholic Church?

WOODRUFF: Personal memories of the pope. Hear from a Holocaust survivor who crossed paths with John Paul II after her liberation from a prison camp.

BLITZER: Plus, blessed by the pope, meet a U.S. couple who met the pope seven times and even had him at their wedding. We'll be right back.


WOODRUFF: John Paul II had what could be described as a pop star's appeal for young people. But at the same time, he was deeply conservative.

For a look at this papal paradox let's turn to CNN's Tom Foreman.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was, indeed, a paradox. And this pope seems to have figured out what so many people really over 30 have trouble figuring out, how to connect with younger people. He did it by showing time and again that he cared and that has placed his church in his passing at a crossroads.


FOREMAN (voice-over): Far from Rome at countless places like Gonzaga College High School, teenage Catholics are wonder what will come now that the pope of the young is gone.

BOB MCCARTY, NATIONAL FEDERATION FOR CATHOLIC YOUTH MINISTER: Age wasn't a factor with him. Every person was -- seemed to be equal in his eye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He could really relate with anybody. It wasn't like he was some Polish man that you couldn't talk to or anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He really embraced what the new world had to offer and what new technologies brought.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He seemed old but not out of touch. He seemed like he knew what was going on with the world. FOREMAN: John Paul made extraordinary connections with young people through two dozen World Youth Day rallies around the globe.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: Go in search of God.

FOREMAN: Under his leadership, the number of full and part-time Catholic youth ministers increased tenfold, according to Bob Mccarty, with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He looked at young people not as a problem to be solved, he looked at them as a gift to be shared. So, rather than see young people as spectators to church, the pope is challenging the church to invite them to be participants.

FOREMAN: The pope staunchly conservative, young people are generally more liberal. Catholic children adored him, even as their parents complained the Vatican was too slow in addressing the problem of pedophilia in the priesthood. But for Donna Campbell and her daughter, Britney, contradictions did not matter. They met the pope 10 years ago and he reinvigorated their faith. And it sustained them when Britney's brother was murdered last year.

(on camera): How is it possible that a man from a different culture a different time, a different race a different part of the world could have such an impact on you two?

DONNA CAMPBELL: I don't have the words for you.

BRITNEY CAMPBELL: He was very gentle and quiet, like, almost like I knew him already.

FOREMAN: Young American Catholics still shy away from becoming priests or nuns. Many do not go to church. But this pope enthralled millions of them.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: Hasta la vista.

FOREMAN: And they're waiting to see if the next one will build on John Paul's bridge between generations.


FOREMAN: So many young Catholics have told me over the years what really works with John Paul is they had the feeling that he actually cared about them, wanted to listen to them, even if he disagreed with them. And the great challenge right now is not so much who the next pope is going to be, but how much parish priests, as overworked as they are all over this country, can carry on that work and convince young people that they're just as concerned at the local level at keeping them involved in their churches.

WOODRUFF: That is so interesting, and that the young people were so willing to talk so openly.

FOREMAN: They loved this man. They will miss this man very much. WOODRUFF: Tom Foreman, thank you.

BLITZER: Good work, Tom. Thank you very much.

So, what made John Paul II such an extraordinarily popular pope? And what do Americans hope for from the next pope?

Joining us now from New York, our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield.

Jeff, this whole issue that Tom pointed out to in his piece, this gap between and the pope's personal appeal and his influence on behavior, do you want to expand a little bit on that?


Look, this was an extraordinary figure. For people who remember, say, Pope Pius XII or even John XXIII or Pope Paul VI, this was an accessible pope. The idea of going to stadiums where there was rock music and the pope's image was on a giant TV screen, you couldn't picture that with another pope.

But, at least, for American Catholics, there's a huge gap between that kind of an appeal and willingness to say he was right about doctrine. And here, we're not just talking about young people, but about American Catholics in general. There's a new survey out that says American Catholics want the next pope to change the church's policy on, say, women in the priesthood, priests marrying.

And when it comes to the issue of birth control, it's a 3-1 margin. And I think you can sometimes mistake the fervor of hundreds of thousands of people for a majority. You can get hundreds of thousands of people turn out and really admire and be enthralled by a figure and the people who don't show up, who are perhaps less practicing Catholics, may actually wind up as a majority.

You also know -- it's an interesting thing in Tom's piece about the number of young people in youth ministries, because the number of diocesan priests in the United States has dropped by a factor of almost 90 percent. And their average age over the last 15 or 20 years has crept up from about 56 to over 70. There's a real crisis there.

And, after all, John Paul II was pope for 26 years. So you can see that what we saw in that piece in terms of the kids pouring out to see this figure and what they think about the church, that can be a very different matter, Wolf.

BLITZER: And yet, at the same time, Jeff, the outpouring of emotion that we saw today involving the pope's funeral does show an extraordinarily strong bond. You have to, I think, agree with that.


And I think there are two ways you can use this metaphor. The title of the pope, or one of the titles, is the Holy Father. Now, put this in a temporal setting. You can have a lot of disagreements with your father. You even have emotional disagreements with your father and still have enormous love and affection for that person. And I think that's one way to think about this.

Another nonreligious example I could cite to you is what happened when Ronald Reagan died. There were a great number of people who felt, I think, an emotional attachment to this man who had been president for eight years, who was almost shot, as was the pope, who played a giant role on the world stage, as the pope did, and still had profound disagreements with him.

So, I think that there's not a contradiction here. It's just important to keep in mind that the images we see of young people turning out for the pope's visits and absolutely being enthralled in his presence doesn't mean that he convinced them doctrinally that his traditionalist positions were what they were going to take into the next generation of churchgoers or even whether they were going to be churchgoers at all, Wolf

BLITZER: Our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield -- Jeff, thanks very much.


WOODRUFF: It's possible to be a great leader, and to be viewed as a great leader, even if people don't agree with everything that leader believes in.

Well, now we turn to a remarkable story. It concerns a pair of American pilgrims whose journey to Rome began in Wyoming. But it wasn't their first journey to see the pope, as CNN's Thelma Gutierrez reports.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dawn breaks over Cheyenne, Wyoming.

RICHARD WALL, PAPAL PILGRIM: In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

MARGARET WALL, PAPAL PILGRIM: In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

GUTIERREZ: And Richard and Margaret Wall say their morning prayers.

M. WALL: Our Father...

R. WALL: Who art in heaven.

GUTIERREZ: Very soon, they'll embark on the most important pilgrimage of their lives.

M. WALL: We'd talked about it before he died, that, when he dies, we had agreed, you know, we're going to be on the plane, right?

GUTIERREZ: The Walls are packing up. And they're heading to Rome for the pope's funeral.

M. WALL: I need to go there. I need to see his body. I need to put it all together and to really be able to grieve him and celebrate him at the same time.

R. WALL: When I found out that he died on Saturday, you know, I felt as bad when I heard that as when I heard my own father died.

GUTIERREZ: The Walls are not your average Catholic couple. Together, they say they have traveled to the Vatican and met the pope seven times.

R. WALL: As a Catholic, I see the pope as the vicar of Christ on Earth. When you come into his presence, it's like coming into the presence of God.

GUTIERREZ: The Walls are the trustees of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., which is dedicated to the pope's teachings. The last time the Walls met him was five months ago.

M. WALL: We touched him. And that's one thing. I saw a picture of him with his hands. And I did weep, because his hands were soft, and his eyes were very beautiful, steel blue, a lot of depth. And I made it a point to look in them when we did meet him.

GUTIERREZ: Theirs was a special connection.

M. WALL: This is a picture of us sitting, waiting for our audience.

GUTIERREZ: Three years ago, Pope John Paul II blessed Margaret and Richard's marriage.

M. WALL: We were excited and there was a lot of anticipation of the moment and we were all newlyweds.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): What did that mean for you as a bride?

M. WALL: Well, it's a good start to what we hope will be a long journey.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): These wedding pictures were taken by none other than the pope's photographer.

M. WALL: One by one, we went up and we kissed the pope's ring here and basically asked him to bless us. In our case, we took a baptismal gown to be blessed in case we're blessed with children, and we thought that would be a nice treasured memento of him and, actually, it would be a second-class relic in relic, in Catholic terms, because he touched it.

GUTIERREZ: The Walls leave Wyoming. They travel across the world to Vatican City to the same hotel room where they spent their honeymoon.

R. WALL: Oh, there's what we wrote almost three years ago. M. WALL: We were married on Pope John Paul's birthday and couldn't imagine a better place to stay to receive his blessing for the newly married.

GUTIERREZ: It is a room with the view.

R. WALL: Here, you can see the papal apartments off to -- straight ahead. And then, off to the left, the roof of the Sistine Chapel is there. And all the times that we came here, at night, the lights would be on in the papal apartments. Last night, the lights weren't on. And that's when it really came home to me that the Holy Father was dead.

Beautiful day.

GUTIERREZ: This couple from Wyoming, trustees of the pope's cultural center, have seen the pope's body five times since their arrival. They attended his funeral and say they won't return home until a new pope is chosen.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, reporting.


BLITZER: What a nice piece.

Father David O'Connell, president of Catholic University, that's a pretty amazing story.

O'CONNELL: It is an amazing story, but it's not an uncommon story -- those who have had the chance. And it's the thing I've noticed again and again on your program, how many people actually said, I met the pope, I had my picture taken with him, that was unheard of years ago. This man was so accessible to people. And when people had the opportunity to be in his presence, as she said, the eyes, the smile, there was just so much about this man, so much that he exuded. It just drew them closer to him, so much so it created bonds all over the world.

WOODRUFF: Extraordinary, seven visits to Rome.

O'CONNELL: Seven visits, and so much that they'd even be willing to put their own personal resources at the service of the John Paul II Cultural Center, which is a wonderful, wonderful thing. They're trustees, as I am, of that cultural center here in Washington.

BLITZER: Arguably, Pope John Paul II met more people in this world than any other human being, because he traveled so much.

WOODRUFF: Ever, that's right.

O'CONNELL: It's amazing, amazing.


WOODRUFF: Phenomenal thing for us to get our minds around. O'CONNELL: It's hard to imagine.

BLITZER: You've been a big help to us. Thanks very much, Father O'Connell.

O'CONNELL: Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: Thank you, Father. Appreciate it.

So, an inspirational pope. Meet one young man who is not only named after John Paul II, he's actively trying to follow his holy path.

BLITZER: And, in other news, a royal wedding just hours away in England. We'll go live to Windsor Castle, where Prince Charles and his longtime girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles, will soon wed.


BLITZER: Reams of royalty and considerable controversy are about to collide in the English town of Windsor, where the heir to the British throne will marry his longtime mistress tomorrow.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is there with the latest on the preparations for the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it has been a very long road to the altar; 35 years after Charles and Camilla met, they're finally tying the knot here in Windsor, just west of London.

Now, it will be a very different affair to the first wedding that Charles had to Princess Diana back in 1981; 750 million people across the world watched them tie the knot. Now, tomorrow, there will be just 28 people in this civil ceremony, just down the road from where we are, just outside Windsor Castle, watching them in that civil ceremony. The queen will not be attending that part.

Then they'll be going to a religious blessing in St. George's Chapel in the castle behind me. And there'll be about 750 guests there. There will be a lot of celebrities. There will be a lot of the royal family and also a lot of politicians. So, you can imagine security very tight here at the moment -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Paula Hancocks reporting for us. Thank you, Paula, very much.


WOODRUFF: Thank you, Paula.

Well, CNN national correspondent Bruce Morton has his own take on the marriage of Charles and Camilla. He thinks it's just ducky.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You could call it a fairy tale -- kind of, anyway -- a shy prince, disciplinarian father, years in private schools, grew up to be not an ugly duckling, exactly, but a duckling, plain, everyday, a prince not drenched in glam. He didn't turn into a swan when he grew up either. He did something different. He married one.

And she was glamorous -- Diana the swan, blonde, leggy. The nation loved her, a kind of people's princess. They had two handsome boys. But what they didn't have, it turned out, was a marriage. Swans and ducklings aren't alike. They were different ages, had different interests and, ultimately, both of them, affairs.

They got divorced and then she died, killed in a car accident, which shocked the British, mountains of flowers outside the palace where she lived, people crying in the streets, stiff upper lips in very short supply. And Charles the duck was, by then, back with Camilla, the woman he loved before and during his marriage.

And she's not a swan. She's more a duck, like her prince, dresses in a style you might call high frump -- the queen will recognize it -- shares his interests in horses and country life, knows him probably better than his first wife did. The British were appalled at first, but seem to have come around. The Church of England has adjusted. So has the queen.

And we Americans, we are split on Charles, according to a CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll last month, about 40 percent with a favorable and 40 with an unfavorable opinion of him. Our sample didn't like her, 25 percent favorable, 42 not. But we approve of the wedding, 56 percent in favor, just 24 against.

And why not? Two middle-aged ducks a bit battered by life, as middle-aged folk mostly are, in love for more than 30 years and with a shot now at some happiness. Who wouldn't wish them well?

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: On the other hand, what's wrong with a couple of middle-aged ducks? CNN will bring you live coverage of the royal wedding tomorrow morning at 6:00 Eastern.

BLITZER: And more immediately, coming up at the top of the hour, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT."

Lou standing by in New York with a preview. Lou.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thank you.

We're going to defer coverage of the pending royal wedding and tonight, instead, focus on whether our failure to secure the nation's borders and enforce our immigration laws are the result of public indifference, hidden agendas, outright incompetence or possible corruption in the agencies responsible for protecting our borders and all American citizens. Tonight, we'll also be reporting, Wolf, on the illegal alien crisis in south Florida, where an unbelievable estimated 90 percent of one hospital's emergency room patients, 90 percent of them, are illegal aliens, leaving that hospital with a budget crisis and thousands of Florida citizens without the care they deserve -- all of that and more.

Wolf, thank you.

BLITZER: All right, Lou. We'll be watching "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT." That comes up at the top of the hour.

When we come back, remarkable connection, how Pope John Paul II helped save a teenage Holocaust survivor by literally carrying her home, an incredible story you'll see only here on CNN.

WOODRUFF: And, later, the prayers, rituals and tears -- the lasting images of this pope's historic funeral.


BLITZER: While millions of people are reminiscing about Pope John Paul II as pope, some are recalling him in more personal terms, among them, a Holocaust survivor who crossed paths with a young priest named Karol Wojtyla at the end of World War II.

CNN's John Vause has the story.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like so many who survived the Holocaust, Edith Zierer owes her life to the kindness of a stranger.

EDITH ZIERER, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR (through translator): Tall, strong, young. He was 25 years old. He told me that he was an orphan.

VAUSE: It was January, 1945. The war in Europe was coming to a close. The Russians were driving the Nazis out of Poland.

As her guards fled, the teenage Edith, malnourished and sick, walked out of a labor camp -- her only thought to get home more than 100 miles away. It is difficult for her now to think of those days. Staggering through the snow and bitter cold she made it to a train station and collapsed.

ZIERER (through translator): I believed this was the end. I didn't want to go anywhere. I wanted to stay sitting there. And then in the morning, a priest came along.

VAUSE: The priest was, in fact, a young seminary student. She told him she was too weak to stand.

ZIERER (through translator): He then disappeared and came back with a glass of tea for me, a glass of tea, a glass. I hadn't held a glass in my hands for three years, hot tea for me. I drank the tea and then after an hour or two -- I had no notion of time -- he came back and brought me two slices of bread, Polish bread, round. They were huge with cheese and butter and packed in paper.

VAUSE: The Catholic seminarian and the 14-year-old Jewish girl began a remarkable journey.

ZIERER (through translator): Then he said, You told me you want to go to Krakow? Yes I said. He said, Me too. Then he lifted me up but I fell back down again because my feet, I couldn't, and then he carried me on his back for quite a few miles.

VAUSE: Only after reaching Krakow did she ask the young man his name.

ZIERER (through translator): His name is Karol Wojtyla.

VAUSE: In the chaos of post-war Poland they became separated but she never forgot his name. Thirty-three years later in 1978 she would read in the newspaper that Karol Wojtyla, her savior, had been named Pope John Paul II.

ZIERER (through translator): I wrote four pages in Polish to the Holy Father. I said, It is very difficult for me to keep living like this. I want to thank you.

VAUSE: Twenty years later, she would get that chance when they met again in Rome.

ZIERER (through translator): He said to me, My child, speak loudly because I am an old man and I can't hear so well. He put his hand on my head and blessed me.

VAUSE: They would meet once more at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Edith could barely speak through the tears but recited a line from the Torah, He who saves one life it's as if he saved an entire world.

John Vause, CNN, Jerusalem.


WOODRUFF: That is just a remarkable story.

Well, Karol Wojtyla would go on to influence countless others, as he became a bishop, a cardinal and ultimately the pope, among them, a young man who now shares not only the pontiff's name, but his calling.

CNN's Mary Snow live in New York with that.

Hi, Mary.


You know, they were more than 60 years apart in age, but a young boy from the Bronx looked to Rome and the pope for direction. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): John Paul Soler was named after the pope, the beginning of his bond to John Paul II. As a child, the picture of the pope hung in his room. Today, he prepares a special chalice the pope gave St. Joseph's Seminary during a visit in 1995. John Paul was only 13 that year when the pontiff visited New York, but the impression was everlasting.

SOLER: And I remember thinking, wow, this man is such a holy man. And I kind of had to deal with the fact that maybe God was calling me to be a priest.

SNOW: But embracing that call didn't come easily.

SOLER: You kind of don't want to deal with it at first. It's kind of like, ah, I don't want to do this. No one else is doing this.

SNOW: At 23, John Paul is in the minority of his age group. He is one of only seven seminarians in his class. Back in the 1950s, the average class size was 50. Adding to the smaller numbers is the hardship the U.S. church faces because of sex abuse scandals.

SOLER: I remember it was just day to day. And it was horrifying. It really was.

SNOW: As he prepares to become a priest, he says it's a topic people frequently talk about.

SOLER: The best thing to do is, OK, let's talk about this, because it's not going to get better by not talking about it.

SNOW: His colleagues hope the positive images of the pope will attract more priests.

REV. JOSEPH GIANDURCO, ST. JOSEPH'S SEMINARY: There was an increase in men coming to seminaries after Pope John Paul II was elected. And I hope and pray that the same thing will happen when the new pope is selected.

SNOW: John Paul Soler is inspired by his sister, who is becoming a nun, and lessons learned from John Paul II.

SOLER: You know, look, it's not going to be fun or nice in some certain circumstances. But you keep going.


SNOW: And John Paul Soler says he doesn't expect to see female priests or married priests in his lifetime -- Judy and Wolf.

WOODRUFF: Mary, thank you very much.

So interesting to see this pope influencing people at the beginning of his life all the way to the end of his life.

BLITZER: An extraordinary pope.

WOODRUFF: Every step along the way.

An outpouring of admiration for Pope John Paul II.

BLITZER: The most widely watched funeral in history, there's no doubt about that.

A final look at the solemn ceremony, as our coverage continues.


BLITZER: By any standard, it's been a remarkable day, bringing to an end an unprecedented outpouring of emotion for the late John Paul II.

WOODRUFF: Here now, a last look at his funeral, attended by hundreds of thousands and watched by millions around the world.



CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER, DEAN OF COLLEGE OF CARDINALS (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): From the moment he was a young student, John Paul, Karol Wojtyla, was a great lover of literature and poetry.

Working in a chemical factory surrounded by the Nazi terror, he heard the voice of the Lord saying, Follow me.

The life of Christ was the dominant feature of our beloved Holy Father. And he who has seen him pray and preach knows that full well.

And it is thanks to this being profoundly entrenched in Christ we can be sure that our beloved pope...


WOODRUFF: That simple box, those are images we're going to remember for a long time.

BLITZER: I certainly will.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for watching.

BLITZER: And I'll see you again this weekend on "LATE EDITION." I'll have an exclusive interview with the new Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani. That airs Sunday, noon Eastern.

"LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now, Lou standing by in New York.


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