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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium; Pope Visits Ground Zero
Aired April 20, 2008 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, HOST: And welcome, everybody. You're looking at a full house here at Yankee Stadium, where nearly 60,000 of the Catholic faithful are awaiting the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI. Over the next few hours he'll say mass and preach what will be the final sermon of his first papal visit to the United States.
Thank you very much for joining us on this historic occasion.
I'm Soledad O'Brien.
And joining me is CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen, who has been following the pope during this entire trip.
T.J. Holmes, along with our colleague Betty Nguyen, talking with some of the pilgrims who have come to see the pope, some of them from thousands of miles away.
And this has already been a very emotional day for the pontiff and those who have had an opportunity to be with him. This morning he knelt and prayed at Ground Zero, ask that peace come to all who died there in comfort, consolation, and healing be granted to everyone who was spared. In a reference many perceived to be to terrorism, he also prayed that hearts and minds consumed with hatred return to the way of love.
Today marks the culmination of the pope's six-day visit to New York and to Washington. And while we, along with the nearly 60,000 Catholics here at Yankee Stadium, wait for the pope to arrive, I'd like to start with our senior Vatican analyst, John Allen.
So, John, in a nutshell, how has the pope's historic visit -- it's his first time to the United States -- how has it gone?
JOHN ALLEN, CNN SR. VATICAN ANALYST: Well, you know, Soledad, I was just sitting here thinking that this is, in effect, the closing act of the pope's six-day swing. And boy, if you had had to pick one spot for a finale, I mean, wow, huh?
But to come to your question, you know, I think Catholic insiders who are hanging on the details of this pope's trip will take away a truckload of things. But I think the average person probably was struck by two things.
First, the pope seems exceptionally kind. I mean, he's been warm and affectionate, and reaching out to people who have been hurt, as he did in his meeting with sex abuse victims, as he did this morning at Ground Zero. And secondly, this is a pope who's been extraordinarily candid of tackling head-on that very painful chapter of recent church history of the sex abuse crisis. And so, if these are the two takeaways, kindness and candor, you know, frankly, if I were running the Vatican this morning, I would call this trip a success.
O'BRIEN: There has certainly been, and we have here, 60,000 Catholics who have been hanging on the pope's every word. And, as you see, he follows and tries to fill some very big shoes. John Paul II was absolutely beloved.
How would you rate how he's done on the charisma front?
ALLEN: Well, you know, I think a lot of us coming into this trip were worried about how that might play out. I mean, obviously this is not a sort of rock star-esque figure that we associate with John Paul II.
But, you know, I have noticed the crowds have been responding to him exceptionally well. I think part of that is precisely because he's not trying to be a celebrity.
I mean, in other words, it is his transparent sort of humility and sincerity, and almost to selflessness. And it really seems that has worked a special kind of magic with the people who have been lining these routes and turning out to see him.
O'BRIEN: Which we have been looking at pictures while you talk, taking a look back at the last couple of days, the pope meeting with President Bush and also his well-received trip to Washington, D.C.
In a nutshell, how would you define what his message has been? He's known as, in some ways, really sticking to the gospel and a hard- liner, as described by some. Has that message changed for Americans on this trip, do you think?
ALLEN: Well, yes and no, Soledad. I mean, the essential motto of this trip, of course, was Christ our Hope. And I think what is unique about Benedict is, on the one hand, he very much is a doctrinal conservative. And he believes in a very classic reading of Catholic doctrine, Catholic practice, and certainly has not wavered from that. But he believes in presenting that to the world in the most positive and affirmative fashion possible.
In other words, trying to make it attractive rather than seeming fussy and legalistic. A real stark contrast in some ways to his reputation for 20-some years as the Vatican's enforcer of the faith. So I think what we've seen is the same convictions, but a different side of the man's personality in these six days.
O'BRIEN: It's been pretty amazing to watch the show, really what is a pre-show going on behind us. As we sit up here in the bleachers quite a bit -- as everyone is waiting for the pope's arrival here at Yankee Stadium, he'll do a lap and then begin the mass. And that's what people are waiting for. Let's get a chance to talk to T.J. Holmes, because he's in the stands with some of those faithful who will be listening to the pope's message today.
Hey, T.J. Who are you talking to?
T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there. Good afternoon.
I'm talking to everybody down here, Soledad. We've got folks from all over the place. Even though there's 60,000 people here, those were still tough tickets to get. So a lot of people certainly lucky to be here.
We've got Michigan, Iowa. We've got someone from Canada, Pennsylvania over here on my left. And they're yelling. Yes, we've got a papal pep rally going on down here, if you will.
But I want to show you all something. The gentleman to my left here.
Stand up here for me. Keep your back this way. I want you to see this shirt he has on. This is kind of the mood and kind of what's happening here. And this gentleman here -- tell me your name
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sean Calhoun.
HOLMES: Sean (ph), actually from Pennsylvania, this group -- I was here this morning at 7:00 a.m. This was one of the first groups to come in when they opened the doors at 9:00. People have been waiting since 9:00 a.m. to get a glimpse of the pope.
Now, I said you were one of the early ones here. And tell me, honestly, how was it getting here that early?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
HOLMES: Yes, exactly. That's what he did. Yes, it was rough.
But now that the time's finally here -- you're a young man. Tell me how old you are and tell me how excited you are to be a part of something this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm 15. I'm very excited. It's a once-in-a- lifetime chance.
HOLMES: Where did the idea for the shirts come from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My youth minister.
HOLMES: Well, it was a good idea and it certainly stands out.
But several other people -- thank you, kind sir.
A 15-year-old young man there.
But certainly the youth playing a big part in the pope's trip. We saw yesterday he was presented with a skateboard, even, kind of in a way to bridge the divide I guess between the older generation and the younger generation.
But the stands have certainly filled up at this point. Again, 9:00 when the gates opened, and people were showing up right when the gates opened. So it's going to be an exciting time finally here.
And Soledad, the weather has cleared up. It was a little dreary and cloudy earlier. But a beautiful day right now. The pope should be here any moment.
O'BRIEN: You know, it's true. It really started off drizzly and rainy. And right now it's -- it's like John Allen said before. You've really seen the sky open every single time.
ALLEN: Yes. This is about my 70th papal trip. And I would say virtually every time when it is rainy and cold and there is lightning and thunder in the morning, when it's time for the pope to come on stage, somehow the clouds part, the sun shines. And, you know, cue the Holy Father.
Now, make of that what you will on a spiritual or metaphysical level, but that seems to be how it works.
O'BRIEN: All we can say, guys, is that the clouds have parted and the sun is shining. And it was raining this morning.
We'll take a look around the stadium, because we really want to show you what is incredible diversity here and really speaks of the incredible diversity of the U.S. Catholic Church.
We're all awaiting the pope's arrival. We're also taking a closer look at a church that's really in the middle of change.
That's all ahead as we continue our special coverage.
Stay with us. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Take a look at some live pictures of the faithful, about 57,000 strong, in fact, as we await Pope Benedict's arrival for mass at Yankee Stadium. We're going to bring that mass to you live in its entirety, with very limited commercials.
The pope has drawn large and very enthusiastic crowds throughout this six-day trip, although a poll that was taken before his visit shows that only 52 percent of Americans who were polled say they viewed the pope favorably. Now, that survey, a joint effort between the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life also showed that eight in 10 Americans have heard only a little or nothing at all about this pope.
It's sort of all been part of the reason for this trip. And of course the question is, what does it say about Catholicism here in the United States? We're back again with CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen. Also joining us this afternoon is Father Joseph Fessio, editor-in- chief of Ignatius Press, and theologian in residence at Ave Maria University. He's a longtime friend of the pope.
You can see him -- if we have a picture there -- on the left side of the picture. That was taken during a meal with the pope. The pope, long before his election, when he was known as Joseph Ratzinger, was one of Father Fessio's university professors.
Joining us this afternoon from Philadelphia is Catholic author and human rights advocate Kerry Kennedy, daughter, of course, of the late Senator Robert Kennedy.
Thank you all for joining us.
Let's begin with you, Kerry, because, of course, the message that we're going to hear in the homily today will be directed to the 57,000 people who are here, but also Catholics around this nation. What has been the biggest conflict, the biggest rubbing point between some of the messages that the pope has been trying to impart and really the realities about being a Catholic today in the United States?
KERRY KENNEDY, CATHOLIC AUTHOR: Well, I think that Catholics have had a few problems with the church, of course. The pedophile scandal is number one among them. And the pope has been amazing at addressing that head-on.
Then, of course, there's been the issue of women, which the pope unfortunately really has not addressed during this trip.
And then just the question of reviving the spirit of Catholicism from the pulpit in church every Sunday. And I think that the pope's message at St. Patrick's yesterday is that we really need a revival of the spirit. And I think that will resonate with Catholics across the country.
O'BRIEN: Father Fessio, we mentioned in your introduction, of course, that you're very close to the pope, well before he became pope. But I'd be curious to know, those poll numbers -- 52 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the pope, and that a large number say they actually don't really feel like they know anything about the pope -- is that to a large degree the reason for this trip, sir?
REV. JOSEPH FESSIO, IGNATIUS PRESS: I don't think so, Soledad. I think he came because he wanted to come to the church here. He says he wanted to be here for the anniversary of the formation of the diocese, and also to speak at the United Nations. And, you know, polls are important, but I wonder what would happen if Jesus had had polls in his time, what his rating would have been. At the end of his life it probably wouldn't have been very good.
O'BRIEN: Oh, touche. And excellent point, Father.
You're absolutely right. And I think many a politician would agree with you on that point. I should mention that there are motorcycles coming over the bridge, which is an indication that we're getting very close to the start of the pope's mass.
We'll turn to John Allen now, our Vatican analyst.
Interesting to hear from Father Fessio, of course, that the Vatican doesn't live and die by poll numbers of American Catholics, but, of course, American Catholics are critical to the church as a whole. And it's been interesting to me to see, really, the numbers are growing.
ALLEN: Well, sure. I mean, in part, of course, that is because of the rapidly rising Hispanic presence in the American Catholic church. The U.S. bishops estimate currently that 39 percent of those almost 70 million Catholics out there are Hispanics.
By mid-century, that will probably be a majority. That certainly is bringing new numbers and new life.
The other thing I would say, by the way, about the disagreements in the American Catholic church is, you know, it's not just American Catholics who have had their issues with Rome. I mean, this isn't a uniquely American phenomenon.
I think sometimes we Americans think that, you know, Rome must be terrified of the United States because there is disagreement and dissent, and it's a rambunctious culture and so on. You've got the same problems on the ground in every part of the world.
I mean, you know, James Joyce once said that Catholicism is sort of "here comes everybody." And then, of course, there's a little bit of everything under the sun in the Catholic big tent.
There's always going to be disagreements. You've seen the pope talking about that. I think he's aware of it. He's trying to call Catholics to a basic sense of unity underneath those disagreements.
O'BRIEN: We should mention, John, that the pope's motorcade is actually nearing Yankee Stadium. As you can see, they're beginning to assemble as well. Good indication that the mass is very close to joining us.
We're going to continue with our panel in just a little bit. We want to take a short break and come back in just a moment with some more pictures here from the Yankee Stadium. The crowd's first chance to see Pope Benedict in just a moment. It's a moment you're not going to want to miss either.
We'll be back right after this.
O'BRIEN: And you can see the beginning of Pope Benedict's entrance into Yankee Stadium. And the crowd can feel it as well. Even though we don't actually have a visual that you're seeing on your screen -- oh, now I do. You can see the top of the pope-mobile as it makes its way past the gate.
And we're just beginning to get a glimpse of Pope Benedict. And everyone is standing and waving kerchiefs. And the cheer as Pope Benedict XVI enters Yankee Stadium with 57,000 Catholics standing and cheering and waving.
Anyone, John Allen, who has said that Pope Benedict is not a rock star like John Paul II...
ALLEN: Is not at Yankee Stadium today.
O'BRIEN: Is not here with us.
What he will do is do basically a lap around the stadium, and everyone will have an opportunity to see him a little bit closer before he actually gets the mass under way.
ALLEN: Yes, that's right.
You know, Soledad, the pope-mobile, of course, was created in 1981 following the assassination attempt against John Paul II. So it was -- in its origin it's a protective device. But what it's become over the years is the symbol that the pope is in the house.
You know, the moment people see the pope-mobile, you felt it, heard it. They just erupt because that means that the pope is here and that things are getting ready to begin.
O'BRIEN: It's an amazing moment when that happens. And it reminds me a lot of covering Pope John Paul II in Cuba, where you would see the pope-mobile come down the street, and you'd see the pope-mobile and you'd realize what you're seeing before you really even know what you're seeing.
ALLEN: Yes, that's exactly right. And it's a classic illustration of how the Vatican, on the one hand, sort of roles with the circumstances.
I mean, the pope-mobile was a response to a practical necessity, but they have a sort of genius instinct for symbolism, because this is a very singular carriage. You know, no other world figure moves in something like this. And it just immediately tells you that the pope is drawing near.
O'BRIEN: It is an amazing thing.
In a nutshell, what do you think his message will be in his homily today? And to what degree is it directed at the Catholics not only in this stadium, but directed at political leadership, et cetera, et cetera?
ALLEN: Well, as you know, I mean, the pope has sort of been moving heaven and earth, figuratively, over these few days to try to stay above the political fray of the 2008 elections. So, if you're expecting him to deliver an endorsement, I don't think we're going to get anything that comes close to that.
What I do think is that typically on a papal trip, his final homily -- that is, his final sermon in the final mass -- is to some extent a recapitulation of the key themes of the trip. So I think we'll hear him talk about the role of religion and public life, the need for people of faith to bring those values into public discourse.
I expect we will hear something about a few specific issues -- maybe abortion, maybe immigration. But in general I think you sort of celebrate. This is, after all, the 200th birthday of the four American diocese -- New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Louisville. The 200th anniversary of Baltimore becoming a major archdiocese. And, of course, Benedict himself just celebrated his own birthday a few days ago.
So this is basically a big Catholic birthday bash here today in Yankee Stadium.
O'BRIEN: He's 81 years old, and it's been a fairly busy seven- day tour through the United States. Or, you know, part of the United States. How is he holding up?
ALLEN: Well, actually, I think he's doing remarkably well. He is a very energetic 81. And, you know, part of that, Soledad, is because the Vatican has taken very careful measures to not overtax the pope.
You know, when John Paul was here for the first time in 1979, he was here seven days, went to seven cities, gave 63 speeches. Benedict is here six days, has gone to just two cities and given just 13 speeches. And obviously that is calculated to make sure that when he is on stage he's fully ready to go.
O'BRIEN: Eighty-one years old, and he looks absolutely terrific, as we can see him coming through in the pope-mobile, basically doing a lap around Yankee Stadium before he kicks off the mass. And it has been -- every single person is standing.
Now, getting tickets very difficult because of the way they were -- I won't even say handed out. Sort of allocated is a better phrase.
ALLEN: Yes, absolutely right. I mean, this was the sort of most-sought ticket in Catholic life in the United States in recent memory.
And, of course, as you know, it wasn't like you get your ticket and then go on eBay. I mean, these were nontransferable. And, of course, very strict security measures.
In fact, people who were attending the mass, which is starting at 2:30 Eastern Time, were advised to be in Yankee Stadium at 9:00 a.m. in order to take their place. So, a very hot ticket in the New York market indeed. O'BRIEN: And you can tell -- I can't even imagine anyone who would post that ticket on eBay when you take a look at this crowd of people. You can tell what kind of progress the pope is making around the track. And I know that there was word they just didn't want anybody on the grass in Yankee Stadium, was what we heard.
O'BRIEN: But you can tell because a massive shout goes up when people actually finally get to see the pope-mobile roll right underneath them.
ALLEN: Yes. You know the wave that people do in stadiums? Well, this is like a slow-moving papal wave. You can tell what section he's in by who's erupting.
O'BRIEN: It was interesting to watch earlier today the pope at Ground Zero. Having followed this trip, not like you, traveling with the entire entourage, but from watching on television, it was so moving. It was so sad and heartbreaking in some ways and so moving. A very different feeling than you get with this 57,000 person crowd strong here.
ALLEN: Yes, exactly right. I mean, this morning was a moment of prayer, a very somber moment of remembrance for the enormity of what happened at Ground Zero.
As I say, this afternoon is more of a birthday bash. So, not that Benedict XVI has a great deal of hair, but what hair he has he can let down here this afternoon.
Even though it is a Catholic mass, and therefore, obviously, he will be very reverential during the celebration of the mass, you know, clearly the atmosphere is festive and electric. This is the final opportunity for American Catholics to celebrate the presence of the man they regard as their Holy Father -- that is, the successor of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles for this unbroken chain over 2,000 years. And obviously they intend to take advantage of it for all it's worth.
O'BRIEN: You used the word earlier, John, "doctrinal hard- liner."
O'BRIEN: That's another section the pope is going by. You can tell, because the cheer has gone up again.
You say doctrinal hard-liner, and yet that often is in conflict with the people who would consider themselves or maybe others would consider them cafeteria Catholics, pick and choose. I mean, the number of pro-choice Catholics that I know is enormous. And that's just personally.
And here you can see Pope Benedict as he rolls by. They're getting ready, of course. He's out of the pope-mobile now waving to the crowd.
O'BRIEN: And mass is about to start.
Cafeteria Catholics, when you have some of the messages that he's had on this trip, consistently it's about sticking to the word of God.
ALLEN: Yes, sticking to the word of God, but with a very positive spirit. But, you know, here's the thing. I think at the level of issues -- that is, what should the church teach on abortion, what should the church teach on gay rights, what should the church teach in the war in Iraq, you know, obviously you're going to have the same diversity of opinion inside Catholicism that you do in the broader world. But frankly, the reason the people are so excited to see the pope today is not because they agree with him on the issues. I mean, it goes deeper than that.
I mean, Catholicism is sort of experienced as a family. And it's sort of like the father of that family who's been away for such a long time is now here.
O'BRIEN: Well, mass is about to begin. And we are going to bring that mass to you live in its entirety, with very limited commercial breaks. So, while the final preparations are under way, we're going to take a quick break before this mass begins.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.
You're taking a live look at Yankee Stadium in New York City, where Pope Benedict XVI has just arrived minutes ago. He is now in (INAUDIBLE), which means he is getting dressed before he begins the mass.
And in our moments we have just before the mass begins, a final couple of words with our senior Vatican analyst, John Allen, who is joining us here this afternoon.
What will we expect and what will we hear from the pope this afternoon in his mass?
ALLEN: Well, of course on one level, this is simply an ordinary Catholic mass. That is, those who are familiar with a Catholic mass, or for those of our viewers who are not, there will be some introductory prayers, readings from scripture.
The pope will deliver a sermon. Then there will be the prayers in which the bread and wine the Catholics believe to become the body and blood of Christ will be consecrated. Communion will be distributed.
By the way, they're going to give communion to about this crowd of almost 60,000 in about 15 minutes or so, they say.
O'BRIEN: We will talk logistics...
ALLEN: Yes, a little bit later.
O'BRIEN: ... about that as that happens.
ALLEN: At another level, of course, this is Benedict's -- in essence, his farewell to the American people and to the American Catholic Church. So it's going to be very interesting to watch and to listen.
O'BRIEN: We know the second reading will be in Spanish. Now, we certainly heard a message of pro-immigration from Benedict this entire trip. And he has done readings in Spanish before.
ALLEN: That's right. And, in fact, I would also expect Benedict to speak in his own voice at some point in Spanish today during his sermon, another acknowledgement.
And look, immigration is an issue for the Catholic Church in two ways. On the one hand, Catholic social teaching is concern for the vulnerable, the exploited, the defenseless. And so it's an issue of justice. But it is also a very practical question of where the Catholic people are, that the enormous rising presence of Hispanics inside the Catholic Church.
So, you know, this is not the pope's language, but in some ways it's a no-brainer that the Catholic leadership in this country would be concerned with the immigration issue.
O'BRIEN: We saw just a moment ago the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, in the crowd. He was at 9/11 earlier -- Ground Zero, rather, with some of the 9/11 victims' families and victims themselves earlier.
How has the discussion, the interfaith discussions gone, as the pope has been there? In the past, there have been some awkward moments and some gaffes that he's then had to come out and apologize for. How has this trip been?
ALLEN: Well, as you know, he had a major interfaith meeting in Washington while he was there with some 200 leaders of five other religions -- Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus. That event in and of itself I think was very -- went well, the atmosphere was very warm.
I think it remains to be seen, Soledad, in the long run how this is going to play out. You're quite right, especially with Jews and Muslims, this pope has had his difficulties. And I think while this was a good step, it remains to be seen what will follow.
O'BRIEN: It's been so interesting to see that since the pope- mobile has rolled through, everyone is still standing. No one has actually sat down yet because they are so excited for the beginning of this mass.
T.J. Holmes is in, around and among the people, the 60,000 or so who are out here. T.J., who are you talking to?
HOLMES: Hey. I've got Father Joseph here with me today. He's got a heck of a challenge today, because you have to find a way to give communion to some 60,000 people.
How do you do that, Father Joseph?
FATHER JOSEPH: As effectively and as reverently as possible.
HOLMES: But what is the actual plan? How do you go about doing it?
FATHER JOSEPH: Well, each section has a different plan, as I said to you. I know what I'm doing with my section here, the bleacher section. Basically, how we will be doing it is they will be going down by sections and going through the ramps and receiving holy communion down there, where the priests will be waiting with them with the (INAUDIBLE) in hand.
HOLMES: So a different section might have a different plan. So you might look over and say, hey, their plan seems to be working better than mine?
FATHER JOSEPH: No. Basically -- basically, the bleacher sections are all following the same.
Upstairs, in the loge and in the tiers, they have a different plan because of the steepness of it. So the priests are actually going to each person, especially in the upper decks, and giving to the sections individually. Here it's safe enough that they can -- people can walk down and it wouldn't be a problem.
HOLMES: And we're about to get started here. I will hand it back over to Soledad.
I appreciate you. We'll be watching you. Good luck in giving communion to some 60,000 people.
And you know it's a challenge there -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Yes, absolutely. Five hundred and thirty priests will be helping in that capacity. And they have assured us that this is going to go off very smoothly.
But I have to tell you, John Allen, I will have to see it to believe it. It looks as if they are getting ready to begin the mass. Everyone still standing.
The mass is going to run about two hours, is that right?
ALLEN: That's right. And you actually will be able to feel and sense when the mass begins, because people will sit down and the atmosphere will change fairly dramatically. But, you know, you said you have to see it to believe it in terms of the distribution of communion. I've seen it. I've been at papal masses with crowds in excess of two million where they're able to do this in about 15 minutes.
O'BRIEN: And everyone who wants to get communion?
ALLEN: Oh, absolutely right. I mean, it's actually an article of the Canon Law of the Catholic Church. The Catholics have a right to the sacraments. And so certainly everyone here who wants to receive communion will be able to do so.
O'BRIEN: At the Nationals Stadium there were 50 lucky people who had an opportunity to get communion from pontiff himself.
ALLEN: Yes, that's right. And, of course, those people in a sense feel like they won the lottery. It's the opportunity of a lifetime, something they'll be telling their children and their grandchildren about.
O'BRIEN: Will the same thing happen here?
ALLEN: We expect so, yes.
O'BRIEN: A hush is beginning to fall over the crowd.
Tell me about the moments before the mass actually starts, because they have not yet started the mass. It's supposed to start any moment. That's what we're waiting for.
ALLEN: That's right. What will happen is there's an introductory procession in which the pope and his co-celebrants -- this morning, that's Cardinal Edward Egan of New York and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who is the Vatican's secretary of state and sort of the pope's top deputy, will process out.
What will happen, of course, as soon as the pope is on the altar, you will hear this roar well up from the crowd. That will be the last moment of the sort of, you know, pop festival feel of the day. And then we will make a transition into the much more reverential atmosphere for the mass itself.
O'BRIEN: You can here every so often people in the crowd almost spontaneously -- and we'll pause for a moment so people can hear some of these shouts -- I can't make out what they're saying. Can you tell what they're saying at different times?
It seems very coordinated, but I know since it's happening in our own section below us, that it's really not. There's no one orchestrating it. What are they doing?
ALLEN: Well, there's sort of two standard cheers that typically go up at a papal event. There's the chance of "Benedetto," which of course is the Italian version of Benedict, and somehow it just sounds better in Italian. And then of course there's "Vive il Papa!." You know, may the pope live 1,000 years.
O'BRIEN: Father Fessio is still with us. He was kind enough to join us, and he's, I believe, at Time Warner Center for us this morning. Father Fessio, give us a sense -- the moments before -- we're seeing the procession now that you were talking about, John. Father Fessio, what's going through Pope Benedict's mind as he is just really a minute or so, or two minutes or so away from the mass beginning?
FESSIO: Well, Soledad, I don't know what's going through his mind, but most priests before they celebrate mass try and prepare themselves by entering as fully they can into the mass itself. So I'm sure he's doing that.
He's a man of deep prayer. Whenever you see him celebrating the mass, you feel that you're in a holy place, a holy action.
And I agree with John Allen. He'll probably summarize most of his major themes when he gives his homily. And it's been very positive, Christ our Hope.
He's used the expression at St. Patrick's he wants us all to be beacons of Christ our Hope, shining with the light of faith upon the world. And he's not only said that many times, but he's actually done that.
I think what he said is important, but what we've seen is more important. We've seen a man, who as John said, is kind and candid, and we've seen that light radiating almost from his white garments on every place he's been. He's been very careful to show his love for all -- for the handicapped, for the abused victims. He's shown his presence to the United Nations and shown how human rights are based upon justice.
He's talked about freedom many times and it's a challenge. We have to have freedom in the truth.
So I think he's been very, very positive, because that's the way he addresses problems. He says there's challenges, there's -- but here's things we can agree on. And now let's try and overcome differences among us.
So I think as John said this is the conclusion of a very successful trip. I think those of us who had the blessing of knowing him realize now the whole world, at least the United States, knows who this man really is. And it's a blessing to have a world leader of this stature.
O'BRIEN: Father Joseph Fessio.
Thank you, Father Fessio.
And with that, we will begin to watch the start of the mass.
O'BRIEN: And you can see, of course, Pope Benedict has arrived, and he is really just a few minutes away from beginning the start of the mass.
Tell me a little bit, John, about what he is wearing and what he is carrying.
ALLEN: Well, of course in the Catholic liturgy -- that is, way the Catholics celebrate their rituals and their rites, nothing happens by accident. So every article of clothing you see that the Holy Father has, has a meaning.
For example, that sort of hat you see him wearing with the two points, one in front, one in back, it is -- symbolizes the Old and the New Testaments. The crosier that he's carrying -- that is, the cross, the gold cross -- is, in a sense -- not only is it a cross, obviously, but it also reminds us -- it's a shepherd's staff. It reminds us that the pope is a shepherd. He is the pastor of souls, the pastor of his flock.
That band of cloth you see around his neck as a skull is the (INAUDIBLE) of service, symbolizing his service. That he is, in a sense, a beast of burden placing himself at the service of the gospel and the service of the church.
And so all of this clearly, for those who know the history of Catholic worship, is deeply meaningful. But it's impressive for outsiders, too.
ALLEN: So what we are seeing here, Soledad, is Pope Benedict XVI distributing incense, spreading incense around the altar. It's a traditional rite on the one hand of purification.
But the incense, of course, which rises into the air, also symbolizes sort of the soul's assent to God. It sort of strikes the tone that we are sort of lifting our gaze above the every day and towards the eternal. And so incensing the altar is a traditional thing you do at the beginning of mass.
O'BRIEN: It's been remarkable to hear the hush that has fallen over the crowd as this mass gets under way.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit...
POPE BENEDICT XVI: ... peace be with you.
AUDIENCE: And also with you.
CARDINAL EDWARD EGAN: Most Holy Father, welcome to New York.
EGAN: Your pastoral visit is for all of us gathered here this afternoon an immense blessing for which we are truly and deeply grateful.
ALLEN: Cardinal Edward Egan of New York welcoming Benedict to Yankee Stadium.
EGAN: Two hundred years ago this month, your wise and heroic predecessor, Pope Pius VII elevated the Diocese of Baltimore...
... the only diocese in the nation at the time, to the dignity of an archdiocese, and created within its metropolitan province Boston...
... New York...
... and Bardstown, which is now Louisville.
All four have since become archdiocese and, along with Baltimore, are engaged in bicentennial celebrations, which in the providence of God culminate most fittingly with the holy sacrifice of the mass offered by the vicar of our lord in Jesus Christ, here in our midst.
For your visit and your leading us in this Eucharist, most Holy Father, we express our humble and heartfelt gratitude.
With us on this splendid and grace-filled occasion are cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, deacons, religious and faithful from all 195 dioceses and archdioceses of the United States of America.
They represent an extraordinary variety of races and ethnic backgrounds, all united in the one holy Catholic and apostolic church of which you are the supreme shepherd.
They are joined by clergy and laity of many faith and communions, political leaders and men, women, and children from every corner of this land. It is an extraordinary privilege to be allowed to tell you on their behalf what a deeply appreciated grace your presence is for all of us.
(APPLAUSE) Most Holy Father, we have read with pleasure and gratitude your most recent encyclical letter "Saved by Hope." It sets the theme for this Eucharist, which is Christ our Easter Hope, and points out most tellingly the path that we need to follow over the years to come with unlimited trust in the lord.
Thank you, most sincerely, for that encyclical, and for all that you have said, written, and done over the past three years as successor of St. Peter to deepen our faith and strengthen our commitment to live as the lord has taught us to live.
O'BRIEN: Cardinal Egan and his welcoming remarks here.
ALLEN: Yes, that's right. And a few moments ago, of course, we saw Cardinal Egan sort of give a cardinational (ph) shout-out to each of the diocese and archdiocese that are here today.
And this is actually -- it's not just a kind of callligraphal coincidence. For the pope, the fact that we're celebrating the birthdays of these dioceses and archdiocese is actually very important, because, of course, part of his program as pope in a way is to return Catholics to their roots, return them to their tradition.
O'BRIEN: It's been a real theme in many of the words we've heard him say over the last six days.
ALLEN: And as a matter of fact, it's been a real theme of what we've heard throughout the first year -- the first three years of his pontificate.
By the way, we should remind viewers that yesterday, speaking of anniversaries and birthdays, was the third anniversary of his election as pope. So this is a trip rich with anniversaries and significance at that level.
And in any event, the fact that Benedict XVI is here today on this anniversary of Baltimore, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Louisville, even though he's only been to Washington and New York, in a sense this really is a celebration for the whole American Catholic Church.
O'BRIEN: And celebration is an excellent word, because you see 57,000 Catholics here in Yankee Stadium -- attention, listening to Cardinal Egan doing his official welcome for Pope Benedict. But absolutely in a celebratory mood.
ALLEN: Yes, absolutely. And, in fact, I was struck by the irony. I wonder what the last time is that so many people from Boston were here in Yankee Stadium to make their voices heard. I mean, that in itself has to win historical significance for today's events.
O'BRIEN: Oh, absolutely. Touche on that, John.
Let's listen to more of Cardinal Egan's welcome.
EGAN: (SPEAKING IN SPANISH). (APPLAUSE)
EGAN: (SPEAKING IN SPANISH)
ALLEN: So here we hear Cardinal Egan speaking Spanish and eliciting roars from the Spanish-speaking Catholics here in Yankee Stadium. Another obviously acknowledgement of the growing Hispanic presence in the Catholic Church, although we should say that in New York, it's not merely Anglos and Hispanics.
On an average Sunday, mass is celebrated in about 35 languages in the Archdiocese of New York. And Senegal and Vietnamese and Korean, and so forth. That's part of the universality of the church.
The word "Catholic" of course means universal, that it embraces the whole human family. And certainly we have heard the pope strike that theme repeatedly throughout this trip.
EGAN: Most Holy Father, welcome.
EGAN: The Holy Father has given us this splendid vestment. And if you come to St. Patrick's Cathedral next Sunday, I'll have it on and I'll look really great.
Thanks a million, Holy Father.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it's a joy for me to be here with you in New York to offer the holy sacrifice of the mass. As we celebrate the bicentennial anniversaries of the archdiocese of Baltimore, Boston, Louisville, New York, and Philadelphia, may our Eucharist renew and strengthen all of the communities of faith in the Catholic Church throughout the United States. Coming together as God's family, with confidence, let us ask the Father's forgiveness, for he is full of gentleness and compassion.
I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, in what I have failed to do, and I ask blessed Mary ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the lord our God.
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
ALLEN: So here we hear "The Glory to the God": being sung by this beautiful choir here at Yankee Stadium. And, you know, Soledad, I was just thinking -- and we were talking about the mass on Thursday as well -- how important music is to this pope. I mean, bear in mind, he is a Mozart lover, he's a man who likes to spend 10 or 15 minutes at the piano keyboard every day.
And I really think that he finds not only this music to be spiritually uplifting, but just aesthetically and personally I think he finds it deeply moving. It's part of what allows him to enter spiritually into the mass.
And knowing that about him, you can bet the members of this choir are aware that the pope is a music aficionado. They are certainly wanting to rise to the occasion.
HIS HOLINESS, POPE BENEDICT XVI: Let us pray. God, our father, look upon us with love. You redeem us and make us your children in Christ. Give us true freedom and bring us to the inheritance you promised. We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
ALLEN: Benedict XVI has just finished the opening prayer. And we are now making the transition into what Catholics call the Liturgy of the Word, which is portion of the mass which is readings from scripture that will culminate with the reading from the Gospel, the life of the Christ, and then the Holy Father's holily that is his sermon.
Because his mitre symbolizes the Old and New Testaments, the pope always puts it on for the Liturgy of the Word.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.
As the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, "It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the Apostles who prayed and laid hands on them. The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith. The word of the lord.
CONGREGATION: Praise be to God.
ALLEN: Soledad, what we're hearing now is the responsorial song, so a Psalms is being song and people sing in response. This is an echo of what happens in Catholic monasteries with monks, they sing the Psalms, one side responding to the other. Benedict, of course, chose the name Benedict in part to honor the founder of monasticism, St. Benedict, so this is a very special for him.
What will happen after this, is that we will hear a reading from the first letter of Peter, in a matter of fact (INAUDIBLE) about...
O'BRIEN: It's one of my favorite readings, the second reading which we're going to hear in just a moment and so appropriate, I think to be in Spanish, considering the message.
ALLEN: That's right. It's about Christ is the cornerstone, a stone that the builders rejected, that they didn't want, has become the cornerstone of this great edifice. So, it's a beautiful piece of imagery and I think we will hear Benedict pick up on that.
O'BRIEN: And it'll all be in Spanish for anyone who can't follow Spanish, we've now basically done the translation.
ALLEN: That's exactly right and I think in a way this reminds us America Catholics (INAUDIBLE) Catholic church (INAUDIBLE) bicultural -- in that sense, people here in Yankee Stadium are getting a foretaste of things to come.
O'BRIEN: All right, that's ahead, in the meanwhile, we're listening to the responsorial Psalm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking foreign language)
O'BRIEN: I love this reading, because it has such a wonderful message. The stone in which the builders rejected would become the cornerstone. Pope Benedict speaks 10 languages, doesn't he?
ALLEN: Yes, that's right. He speaks all of the official languages of the Vatican, all seven, English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Polish. In addition, he's very comfortable in a number of ancient languages, as a matter of fact, Soledad, when he was, for a very brief period of time, drafted into the German army as a young man, he spent his spare time with a spiral notebook writing Greek (INAUDIBLE). So, this is a pope who among other things is absolutely an (INAUDIBLE) intellect. Virtually all the reading he does is (INAUDIBLE) languages, so he certainly is very comfortably following this reading.
O'BRIEN: Many people say that Spanish, he's far more comfortable in Spanish than he is in English. ALLEN: As a matter of fact, that's true. Probably, of course he's native German speaker, probably his most comfortable second language is French, (INAUDIBLE) romance language. So, Spanish, in some ways, is more (INAUDIBLE) than English, although, as we have obviously heard (INAUDIBLE), he's terrific.
O'BRIEN: This is the middle of the second reading.
ALLEN: So, what is happening now is that the book of the Gospels is being presented to the pope, that's the book with the four accounts of the life of Jesus in the New Testament. Then we will hear the Gospel read and following the Gospel, we will be hearing the homily from the pope, that is his sermon, his final message, in a way, to the American people and to American Catholics, which will be coming up just after the Gospel reading.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Lord be with you
CONGREGATION: And also with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our reading from the Gospel according to John.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God, have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way."
Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
Philip said to him, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you for so long of a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'show us the father?' Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father." The Gospel of the lord.
CONGREGATION: Praise to you, Lord, Jesus Christ.
ALLEN: So we have just heard the beautiful chanting of this Gospel passage from the Gospel of John, and we will now hear the much- anticipated homily, that is, the sermon of Benedict XVI, reflecting on the Gospels, but also offering his final message for the American people and the American Catholic church.
HIS HOLINESS, POPE BENEDICT XVI: Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus tells his Apostles to put their faith in him, for he is "the way, and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6). Christ is the way that leads to the Father, the truth which gives meaning to human existence, and the source of that life which is eternal joy with all the saints in his heavenly Kingdom. Let us take the Lord at his word! Let us renew our faith in him and put all our hope in his promises!
With this encouragement to persevere in the faith of Peter (cf. Lk 22:32; Mt 16:17), I greet all of you with great affection. I thank Cardinal Egan for his cordial words of welcome in your name. At this Mass, the Church in the United States celebrates the two hundredth anniversary of the creation of the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville from the mother See of Baltimore.
The presence around this altar of the Successor of Peter, his brother bishops and priests, and deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful from throughout the fifty states of the Union, eloquently manifests our communion in the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles.
Our celebration today is also a sign of the impressive growth which God has given to the Church in your country in the past two hundred years. From a small flock like that described in the first reading, the Church in America has been built up in fidelity to the twin commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. In this land of freedom and opportunity, the Church has united a widely diverse flock in the profession of the faith and, through her many educational, charitable and social works, has also contributed significantly to the growth of American society as a whole.
This great accomplishment was not without its challenges. Today's first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks of linguistic and cultural tensions already present within the earliest Church community. At the same time, it shows the power of the word of God, authoritatively proclaimed by the Apostles and received in faith, to create a unity which transcends the divisions arising from human limitations and weakness. Here we are reminded of a fundamental truth: that the Church's unity has no other basis than the Word of God, made flesh in Christ Jesus our Lord. All external signs of identity, all structures, associations and programs, valuable or even essential as they may be, ultimately exist only to support and foster the deeper unity which, in Christ, is God's indefectible gift to his Church. The first reading also makes clear, as we see from the imposition of hands on the first deacons, that the Church's unity is "apostolic." It is a visible unity, grounded in the Apostles whom Christ chose and appointed as witnesses to his resurrection, and it is born of what the Scriptures call "the obedience of faith" (Rom 1:5; cf. Acts 6:7).
"Authority," "obedience," to be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a "stumbling stone" for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom. Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ -- "the way and the truth and the life" -- we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words.
The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. "In his will is our peace."
Real freedom, then, is God's gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32). And this freedom in truth brings in its wake a new and liberating way of seeing reality. When we put on "the mind of Christ" (cf. Phil 2:5), new horizons open before us. In the light of faith, within the communion of the Church, we also find the inspiration and strength to become a leaven of the Gospel in the world.
We become the light of the world, the salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-14), entrusted with the "apostolate" of making our own lives, and the world in which we live, conform ever more fully to God's saving plan.
This magnificent vision of a world being transformed by the liberating truth of the Gospel is reflected in the description of the Church found in today's second reading. The Apostle tells us that Christ, risen from the dead, is the keystone of a great temple which is even now rising in the Spirit. And we, the members of his body, through Baptism have become "living stones" in that temple, sharing in the life of God by grace, blessed with the freedom of the sons of God, and empowered to offer spiritual sacrifices pleasing to him (cf. 1 Pet 2:5).
And what is this offering which we are called to make, if not to direct our every thought, word and action to the truth of the Gospel and to harness all our energies in the service of God's Kingdom? Only in this way can we build with God, on the one foundation which is Christ (cf. 1 Cor 3:11). Only in this way can we build something that will truly endure. Only in this way can our lives find ultimate meaning and bear lasting fruit.
Today, we recall the bicentennial of a watershed in the history of the Church in the United States: its first great chapter of growth. In these two hundred years, the face of the Catholic community in your country has changed greatly. We think of the successive waves of immigrants whose traditions have so enriched the Church in America. We think of the strong faith which built up the network of churches, educational, healthcare and social institutions which have long been the hallmark of the Church in this land.
We think also of those countless fathers and mothers who passed on the faith to their children, the steady ministry of the many priests who devoted their lives to the care of souls, and the incalculable contribution made by so many men and women religious, who not only taught generations of children how to read and write, but also inspired in them a lifelong desire to know God, to love him and to serve him.
How many "spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God" have been offered up in these two centuries? In this land of religious liberty, Catholics found freedom not only to practice their faith, but also to participate fully in civic life, bringing their deepest moral convictions to the public square and cooperating with their neighbors in shaping a vibrant, democratic society. Today's celebration is more than an occasion of gratitude for graces received. It is also a summons to move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom, in order to build a future of hope for coming generations.
"You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people he claims for his own, to proclaim his glorious works" (1 Pet 2:9). These words of the Apostle Peter do not simply remind us of the dignity which is ours by God's grace; they also challenge us to an ever greater fidelity to the glorious inheritance which we have received in Christ (cf. Eph 1:18). They challenge us to examine our consciences, to pierce our hearts, to renew our baptismal commitments to acceptance and all his empty promises. To challenge us to be a people of joy, hope, born of faith in god's words and trust in his promises. Each day throughout this land you and so many of your neighbors pray to the father in the lord's own words thy kingdom can.
This prayer needs to shape the minds and hearts of every Christian in this nation. It needs to bear fruit in the way you lead your life and then the way you build up your families and your communities. It needs to create new settings of hope in god's kingdom becomes present in all its saving power. Praying fervently for the coming of the kingdom also means being constantly alert to the signs of its presence and working for its -- in society. It means facing the challenges of present and future with confidence in Christ's victory and the commitment to extending his reign. It means not losing heart in the face of resistance, adversity, and scandal.
It means all coming every separation between present life and freedom and happiness. It also means rejecting the false dichotomy between faith and political life, sins. There is no human activity even in secular faith which can be drawn from god's dominion. It means work to enrich American society and culture, with the beauty and truth of the gospel. And never losing sight of the hope which gives meaning and value to also offer hope which inspires our lives.
Dear friends, it's a particular challenge. This is -- St. Peter. There's a truth in people. A holy nation. Follow faithfully in the footsteps of souls who have come before you. How has the coming of god's kingdom in this land past generations, have left an impressive legacy. In our day, too, the nation has been outstanding. Its prophetic witness in the life, the dedication of the young and care for the poor, the sick and the stranger in your midst and seek solid foundation, the future of the church in America must even now begin to rise.
Yesterday, not far from here, I was moved by the joy, the hope, and the generous love of Christ which I saw on the faces of so many young people assembled. They are the church's future, and they deserve all the prayer and support that you can give them. So I wish to close by uttering a special word of encouragement to them, my dear young friends. Like the seven men filled with the spirit and wisdom whom the apostles charged with care of the young children, may you take their ability with your faith in Christ sets before you.
May you find the courage to proclaim Christ the same yesterday and today and forever. And which have the foundations in him. These are the truths that set us free. They are the truths we shall long guarantee respect for dignity and right of each man, woman, and child in our world, including the human beings, the unborn child. Amen.
In a world where he reminded us continue to send out our door. Let your faith in life be a rich fruit in to the poor, needy, and others. Young men and women of America, I urge you, open your hearts to the lord's call to follow him in the priesthood and life. Can there be any greater mark of love than this? To follow the footsteps of Christ who was willing to lay down his life for his friend. And to this gospel the lord promises his disciples to perform works, even greater than his.
Friends, only god in his providence knows what works he his grace has yet to bring forth in your life and in the life of the church in the United States. Yet Christ promised Jesus his sure hope. Let us now turn our praise to his as living stones in the spiritual temper which is his one Catholic church. Let us lift our eyes to him for even now he's preparing for us a place in his father's house. Empowered by his holy spirit, let us work with renewed zeal for the spread of his kingdom. You, who believe, let us turn to Jesus. He alone is the reason we search for eternal happiness, the truths that satisfy the deepest and the life who brings even new joy and hope to us and to our world. (Speaking Spanish)
O'BRIEN: Wrapping up the homily in English there was a big cheer. But when he began in Spanish, an absolute roar from the crowd. Let's get to Delia Gallagher who is at Time Warner Center for some analysis. Delia, one moment that you took away from the Pope's homily, he's reiterating essentially now pretty much in Spanish.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, I think that he said it very succinctly, don't lose heart in the face of resistance, adversity, and scandal. It seems to sum up at least the first half of his message, giving hope and then the second half going forward, moving forward with a firm resolve and use wisely the blessings of freedom. I think that's an interesting message for Americans.
O'BRIEN: It was interesting, John Allen, who's out here with me at Yankee stadium to hear him speak very specifically about the cultural tensions, I mean literally underscoring it for this audience, I thought.
JOHN ALLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. As we remarked earlier, those cultural tensions are very much part of the reality of the American Catholic church at the moment. We have a rapidly rising Hispanic crowd in the church. That is a great richness, and it also creates a possibility of tension. Pope Benedict wanted to leave American Catholics here with this notion that make that diversity sort of strength, don't let it tear you apart.
O'BRIEN: Again, you could certainly hear people cheering, a roar from the crowd, when he began this last moment of his homily in Spanish, sort of a reiteration of what he said in English. Next is the procession of faith.
ALLEN: That's right. Catholics will recite the creed in succinct formula tells them what they believe in. That of course also an echo over the Pope's homily, telling Catholics to hold fast to the church. Then we'll be moving into the most sacred of the mass.
ALLEN: That's the second time, once in English and now in Spanish, but this crowd has roared with approval at Benedict's talk being about the young people to consider a religious vocation, considering becoming a priest or a nun.
O'BRIEN: And definitely an applause when he said my brothers and sisters, I invite you to look to your future with hope and allow Jesus into your lives.
ALLEN: You're picking up on exactly the right point. I think if you did an analysis of this speech, it would be the word "hope." it would leap off the page at you. This is a striking observation to make about this pope who had a reputation as an enforcer, as something of a heavy. In many ways, over these three years and here in America, he has transformed himself into the pope of hope.
O'BRIEN: We have finished the homily. The bulk we heard in English. The little bit that we heard in Spanish.
ALLEN: Listen to that crowd, huh? This is not a formal part of the mass. This is just expressing joy to be in the pope's presence.
O'BRIEN: Many people in the crowd standing and waving the handkerchiefs they've been handing and these impromptu cheers that begin.
ALLEN: And once again we hear the cry of benedict. Again, it sounds more musical if you say it in Italian.
O'BRIEN: Everything's better in Italian really if you think about it. Procession of faith will be next. We'll pause for a moment to listen as they prepare for this part of the mass.
ALLEN: This was the singing of the creed, the statement of fundamental catholic beliefs. Of course as our viewers have heard it was sung in Latin because it is the universal language of the church. So that everyone feels represented. Now we will hear the prayers of the faithful.
POPE: My brothers and sisters, confident in the father's care for us and rejoicing in the resurrection of Jesus, his well-beloved son, with faith and hope, let us place our needs before him.
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): For our holy father, Pope Benedict, our bishops, priests, deacons, and religious, and for all gods' people, that they may faithfully follow Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life, let us pray to the lord.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): For the archdioceses of Baltimore, Boston, Louisville, New York, and Philadelphia, (speaking Spanish) let us pray to the lord. (Speaking Latin)
POPE: Heavenly father, you have given us abundant gifts, and above all, your son, the greatest of gifts. As we seek your help in our need, May Jesus who is our way, our truth and our life, inspire our faith and give hope and courage. We make this prayer through the same Christ our lord.
ALLEN: So we are now making the transition the mass to the liturgy of the Eucharist, this is the holy moment of the mass when the bread and wine that will shortly be presented to Pope, placed upon the altar. In Catholic belief it will be transformed by the prayers that will be said into the very physical body and blood of Jesus Christ.
O'BRIEN: Literally, Catholics believe the body and blood of Christ.
ALLEN: That's right. Not a symbol or not a metaphor but the physical presence of Jesus under the forms of the bread and the wine. And they will then -- the Catholics will then be receiving that, that physical presence of Christ, in the form of communion, a bit later in the service, the idea being that as they bring Christ into themselves, they can then show Christ to the rest of the world. A great church father said that you are to become what you consume. That is, take Christ into yourself and then become Christ's brothers.
O'BRIEN: So now we have the preparation of the altar and the gifts and the liturgy of the Eucharist and then eventually communion for some 57,000 people, which looks like it would be a logistical chaos, but we're told it's going to go off without a hitch.
ALLEN: Well, I've seen it with my own eyes more than once. The Vatican has been around this particular block a few times, and I think we will see this army of 530 priests and deacons fan out in very organized fashion and make this go off without a hitch.
O'BRIEN: It's been interesting to hear from the priest, one or two of the 530, talking about almost how anxious they are to keep it both holy and efficient.
ALLEN: Yeah. Because, of course, the one can get in the way of the other. If the logistics are sloppy and it's a mess, then it interferes in people's prayer experience, it makes the mass unpleasant. So, you know, there is a sense in which a papal mass is an enormous logistical enterprise. Yet that is all in service to make sure that people can enter into the spirituality of it without being distracted by the logistics.
O'BRIEN: Look at the logistics in action right here as we take a look at that wide shot as they prepare for the liturgy of the Eucharist. The holiest part frankly of the entire mass.
ALLEN: That is right. The Pope's homily that is his sermon is in some ways the most highly anticipated part of the mass, but at the spiritual level, it is this moment where Catholics prepare to receive the body and blood of Christ that is sort of the climax. Here you see various people who have been selected to present the gifts, that is, to bring up the gifts, the bread and wine, and to give them personally to Benedict XVI. One of the charming things about a mass is that there are people who are able to play these roles who can present the prayers of the faithful or deliver the readings.
O'BRIEN: Which is remarkable to see the different languages but also the different kinds of people represented by the Catholic Church. We saw that very clearly in those prayers of the faithful that were delivered at the microphone in Spanish and --
ALLEN: Again, James Joyce. Here comes everyone for good or for ill. Of course, for these people, this would be the moment of a lifetime. I mean, the day they were able to present a gift for Benedict XVI or do a reading for the pope. It's a story they'll be telling their children, their grandchildren. It will become one of the most cherished memories of their lives.
O'BRIEN: Yes. I can see that being a story you would hang onto and pass along forever. Absolutely.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: My brothers and sisters, may this sacrifice be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father.
CROWD: May the Lord accept the sacrifice from your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his church.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: Lord God, by this holy exchange of gifts you share with us your divine life. Grant that everything we do may be directed by the knowledge of your truth. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the lord.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: Father, all-powerful and ever-living god, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ, our Lord. We praise with greater joy in Easter season when Christ become our Pascal sacrifice. His perfect sacrifice... as he get himself into your hands for our salvation. The joy of resurrection
Holy, holy Lord God.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: We come to you, Father, with praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ, your son. Through him we ask you to accept and bless these gifts we offer you in sacrifice. We also offer them for your Holy Catholic Church, watch over it, Lord, and guide it. Grant it peace and unity throughout the world. We offer them for me, your unworthy servant, and my brother Edward, the bishop of this church of New York, and for all who hold and teach the Catholic faith that comes to us from the apostles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember, Lord, your people, especially those for whom we now pray. Remember all of us gathered here before you. You know how firmly we believe in you and dedicate ourselves to you. We offer you this sacrifice of praise for ourselves and those who are dear to us. We pray to you, our living and true God, for our well- being and redemption.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In union with the holy church, we honor Mary, the ever-virgin mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God. We honor Joseph, her husband, the apostles and martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Jude. We honor Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian and all the saints. May their merits and prayers gain us your constant help and protection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Father, accept this offering from your whole family. Grant us your peace in this life, save us from final damnation, and count us among those you have chosen. Bless and approve our offering, make it acceptable to you, an offering in spirit and in truth. Let it become for us the body and blood of Jesus Christ, your only Son, our lord.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: The day before he suffered, he took bread in his sacred hands and looking up to heaven, to you, his Almighty Father. He gave you thanks and praise. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said, take this, all of you, and eat its. This is my body which will be given up for you.
When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said, take this, all of you, and drink from it, this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.
(SATELLITE SIGNAL LOSS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...and have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, especially those for whom we now pray. May these, and all who sleep in Christ, find in your presence light, happiness and peace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs, with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia and all the saints. Though we are sinners, we trust in your mercy and love. Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: Through Christ our Lord, through him you give us all these gifts. You fill them with life and goodness, you bless them and make them holy. Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, Almighty Father, forever and ever.
Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our savior gave us.
Our Father, who art in heave heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ.
For the kingdom, the power, the glory are yours now and forever.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, I leave you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom, where you live forever and ever. Amen. The peace of the lord be always with you.
And also with you.
Let us offer each other the sign of peace.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN, ANCHOR (voice-over): John, what a truly remarkable moment to see 57,000 people in Yankee Stadium turn to the person next to him or her and give the sign of peace. JOHN ALLEN, CNN, SENIOR VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and whether there's an extra layer of subtext, of course. The delegation from Boston or New York are right next to one another. So, there is that sort of sporting dimension of this as well. But of course, the logic here is before you receive communion from the Lord, you should first achieve communion with your brothers and sisters. So, let's try to make peace with one another to prepare yourself to come into the presence of God.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, happy ourselves who are called to his supper.
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed.
ALLEN: Some of what we are seeing here is Benedict XVI himself distributing communion to a lucky few who have been chosen to approach to receive directly from him. But, of course, as we have been watching as we sort of craned our necks around to see the crowds here in the bleachers and throughout the stadiums, the priests have taken positions here throughout the Yankee Stadium. Some 430 priests and deacons who are distributing communion to this crowd of almost 57,000 people.
O'BRIEN: The logistics are actually quite complicated. In fact, on youtube they have been showing the rehearsals and the details of how to make something go smoothly that has a lot of inherent risks for chaos and confusion, frankly.
ALLEN: Well, you know how the theater is, the trick is never let them catch you acting. Well I think in a pal mass, the trick is never let them catch you worrying about the logistics. The idea is this is all supposed to work flawlessly and seamlessly so that nothing distracts from the quality of the spiritual experience.
O'BRIEN: We're beginning to see, John, I should mentioned, over my shoulder, people are starting to go down, and what they will do is come to the one priest in their area who will be --
ALLEN: That's right. Every section of the bleachers, every section of the stadium has one or two or three priests who were assigned to it. As you say, there had been elaborate dress rehearsals. Twice in the lead up to this. A special delegation from the Vatican has come to the United States and spent several days in Washington and several days in New York doing an elaborate walk through. And then in the days leading up to this, the Archdiocese of New York also have practiced time and again so that all of these priests and all of these deacons know precisely where to go and what to do.
Here, of course, we see Benedict XVI who himself did not need any particular rehearsal for this moment. He has been a priest all of his adult life, ordained shortly after the second World War. And here we see, one of those rare moments in which Benedict is no longer the Supreme Pontiff. He is no longer a global figure. In this moment, he's returned to his roots as a simple priest performing one of the sacraments for these people who are approaching him. And I think it is a deeply meaningful moment for him at that level. But because before he is anything else, he is a priest of god in his own mind and his own heart.
O'BRIEN: Imagine being one of the select few. I mean, I remember watching this in National Stadium. And there were, I think, 50 people who had been tapped to get communion directly from the Pontiff himself. And whoa, even just reading about it, I thought, wow, what a remarkable thing. But to see it happening now for this really handful of folks considering the size of this crowd. They will have quite a story to tell.
ALLEN: Yes, that's absolutely right. And some were saying earlier, it's one of the nice things about a mass is that there are these moments where either in the readings or presenting the gifts or receiving communion, that the ordinary people have the opportunity to sort of have this fleeting moment in the presence of the Pope or to do something for the Pope, either to receive something from him or to present something to him.
And again, the Pope does so many public events in a way that the danger would be that it becomes almost perfunctory. But I think Benedict is well aware of these individuals at such a peak moment in their lives that he wants to be completely present to them.
O'BRIEN: Oh, absolutely. And I have to tell you, logistically, if you could get a shot of the whole stadium to see in every single section, people moving about in lines that seem to go sort of down and to nowhere but it's all moving quite smoothly, actually.
ALLEN: And what is striking, Soledad, is -- for the instant the soundtrack was off, how quiet everyone in the stadium is. Because we went from this sort of rollicking festive atmosphere. Catholics know instinctively this is a moment of solemnity and reverence. And for that brief moment when we didn't have the soundtrack, you could actually almost hear a pin drop in this vast stadium.
O'BRIEN: Absolutely. Considering, it is almost 60,000 people, it was quiet for just a moment there. And truly, everyone is in some kind of motion heading down to get communion. And you don't hear a lot of hustle and bustle at all behind us.
ALLEN: In other words, it is not the kind of normal scene one associates with Yankee Stadium. Clearly, something different is happening here today.
O'BRIEN: How do you think Pope Benedict's homily will be received. I mean, he touched on some very interesting points, I thought, and also continued with the same themes and messages that he started this trip with, frankly.
ALLEN: That's right. I was struck first of all by his strong call for unity among linguistic and cultural diversity. Again, that is of course, increasingly the reality of the Catholic Church in the United States. I think we had the closest thing to a real political moment on this trip actually, during that homily, because you remember, the first roar of applause from this crowd actually was when the Pope talked about the need for a defensive unborn life. Obviously, a reference to the church's stance on abortion. And clearly, that got a strong response from this very Catholic crowd here today at the Yankee Stadium.
O'BRIEN: Delia Gallagher is in New York for us. Delia, let me ask you overall your impression because as John Allen has said a couple of times now. This was the final message. So, rate for me, if you will, how the final message was delivered and how you think it will be received?
DELIA GALLAGHER: Well, I think, first of all, the entire atmosphere of the occasion, the solemnity of the occasion, that is in kind of contrast with the arrival at the White House and the fabulous welcome and the bands and so on, and this is kind of the right way, as it were, for the Pope to end his visit with Catholics at a mass. A very solemn occasion as you both have been commenting.
And of course, in the homily, I agree with John. I was struck by the fact that the crowd really responded. The first big applause was after the Pope's defense for unborn life. And that kind of tells you as much about where some of these American Catholics are on that issue as anything else. And, of course, the main theme of this trip, if you will, the hope of Christ. So, the Pope bringing back, of course, scripture and the original Christian communities right after Christ. You know, he kind of has brought that back in all of his talks that there's a lot of diversity as there was in the very early centuries of Christianity.
And so, it is something that provides hope for right now, because if it was like that 2,000 years ago, and it is still around today, then there's a good possibility that despite all of the difficulties today, it will still be around 2,000 years from now or whenever the end will be coming, which nobody knows. So, I think that's kind of the Pope's main theme, that one should have hope because it is still -- the church still survives, despite all of the difficulties. And purification is another word that's come up a lot this week. And I think that he has almost compared that a bit, the sex scandal that has hurt the church, has also been a purifying moment and will continue to be a purifying moment for the church.
ALLEN: And Soledad, I would add to what Delia just said, the one striking omission, in a sense, from the homily is that this is really the first important public occasion where Benedict has not at any link addressed the sexual abuse crisis.
O'BRIEN: He has mentioned it four times before.
ALLEN: In addition to that meeting with the victims, of course.
ALLEN: There really have been five occasions that he has commented. Now, there was a brief mention in the homily today to not be discourage about scandal, right but do not be paralyzed by scandal.
O'BRIEN: And listen, people move behind us, and it is quiet. So quiet you could hear a pin drop.
ALLEN: I am really stunned by the atmosphere of reverence in this place where you don't think of reverence being the natural response.
O'BRIEN: Yes. Yankee Stadium and reverence, I don't know.
ALLEN: It's a different kind of reverence.
O'BRIEN: Absolutely. It's been remarkable to see. I did not know they would be able to pull it off. We'll see how long it takes. I've been told 15 minutes to get communion done, but the way it is moving so quickly and so silently has really been impressive.
It was interesting to hear Delia talk about some of the themes from the homily. And when I was listening to the homily, you hear him underscore the theme of unity in the church, and also that one word "scandal." And they're both were in there. Not together next to each other, but they are definitely connected.
ALLEN: But fairly related.
ALLEN: And of course, when Benedict talks about unity, you know, the division he is thinking of is not merely that between say Hispanics and others. He's well aware there are many other kinds of divisions in the Catholic Church. You have ideological division, you know, red state Catholics and blue state Catholics. You've got generational divisions, you got older Catholics and younger Catholics. You know, it has always been thus, I think, Delia's quite right, you know, that diversity goes back to the very beginning. And somehow the church has always found its way through it. I think Benedict's invitation here today is once again to go back to these fundamentals that unite us before we move on to the specific issues that divide us.
O'BRIEN: We are going to pause for a moment so people can really listen, in a way, listen to the sound of silence with 60,000 people getting communion at this moment at Yankee Stadium. And it is so quiet. Let's pause for a moment, John.
O'BRIEN: I have to say, the group directly behind us, this portion of the stadium that we are exactly on top of or above, under eight minutes for the whole entire section where we are to get communion. They are just returning, the last of them now, pretty impressive timing. Let's talk a little bit about what will happen next in the mass.
ALLEN: Well, what we will -- as soon as the communion right is finished, we will get the final blessing from Pope Benedict XVI. Which will be the formal end to the mass? Then my prediction is that these 57,000 people are not going to let the pope get off the stage without a final round of applause.
O'BRIEN: I would put money on that, actually, John. I got to tell you. It has been interesting to me to see the security, the level of security having been to the White House a million times and done other high security events. The security here around the perimeter, absolutely tons of police officers, but so much more than that as well.
ALLEN: Yeah, that's absolutely right. Of course, when the pope travels, actually, the security arrangements are almost entirely in the hands of the local authorities. In this case, the New York City Police Department and the Secret Service and so on. Clearly, everyone wants to put their best foot forward and make sure there's no threat from outside interfering with the unfolding of these events. I'm struck sometimes how the pope's security can be relatively light compared to other global figures. Of course, the pope believes that ultimately his fate is not merely in the hands of the Secret Service. It is in the hands of god. That's a different calculus when you think about security.
O'BRIEN: The NYPD believes the fate of the pope is firmly in the fate of god and their hands. Hence, the very intense police presence and much more that we have seen today, but it is such a sedate crowd. It is interesting to see what we had to go through to enter Yankee Stadium and others as well for such a sedate and really solemn, in some ways, occasion.
ALLEN: Earlier, there were rocking. This is one thing -- most of the people that gather are Catholics. They don't need many cues about when it is appropriate to be festive and when it is time to be quiet and solemn. They are navigating that quite well.
POPE: Let us pray. Merciful father, may you give us new purpose and bring us a new life in you. Granted through Christ our lord.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): The Holy Father will now impart his ecstatic blessing. He intends to bless all articles, which the faithful have brought for that purpose, in particular, he will bless two objects, which are found on the platform before the people. A corner stone for the by centennial garden of the Cathedral of St. Patrick and a crucifix to be placed in the chapel of St. John Noonan's Seminary residence.
POPE: The lord be with you.
PEOPLE: And also with you.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Bow your heads and pray for god's blessing.
POPE: Through the resurrection of his son god has redeemed you and made you his children. The redeemer has given you lasting freedom. May you inherit his everlasting life.
POPE: By your faith you rose with him in baptism. May your lives be holy, so that you will be united with him for ever.
POPE: May almighty god bless you, the father, and the son, and the Holy Spirit.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): The mass is ended. Go in peace.
PEOPLE: Thanks be to god.
O'BRIEN: Cheering for Pope Benedict XVI as he makes his way down from the altar. This is the most remarkable part of the mass for me, John, personally, because it is sort of all the emotion welling up at the end. What a reception.
ALLEN: The marvelous crescendo. We are hearing be, Beethoven's song "Ode to Joy."
O'BRIEN: It is hard I think to articulate the remarkable site of being inside of Yankee Stadium and turning outward and looking at nearly 60,000 people waving their handkerchiefs. What a remarkable thing. The popemobile is moving closer to where the pope will be entering. And the cheers, really, just do not stop. He has had this opportunity to sort of meet with people a couple of times. I mean, at the national stadium, too. He walked out and --
ALLEN: He had an opportunity at St. Patrick's yesterday, and there was the marvelous popemobile tour down Fifth Avenue yesterday where people had the chance to interact with him. There you see benedict almost reluctant to leave. Making sure he gives one more wave, one more smile to the crowd of 60,000 people here today.
O'BRIEN: What a wonderful reception from the people who are inside this stadium.
ALLEN: I am being told I have to slip out because I have to be on Benedict's plane back to Rome.
O'BRIEN: You have been here -- I'll let you go.
ALLEN: A great pleasure being with you.
O'BRIEN: The pleasure was my. Thank you, John. We continue our coverage here as Pope Benedict XVI continues to wave. I tell you, no one is moving. No one is moving. As he continues to greet the crowd and the well wishers and is making his way -- as John pointed out, relatively slowly to get to the popemobile and make his exit from Yankee Stadium. What a remarkable, remarkable thing to be in this stadium to see such an incredible moment and such a warm reception on what ended up being an absolutely beautiful day here in Yankee Stadium.
We can see shots of the popemobile getting into position as Pope Benedict is getting ready to depart from Yankee Stadium. T.J. Holmes has had an opportunity to sort of hang out with some of the 57,000 people here at the stadium. What a remarkable day, T.J. What are you hearing?
HOLMES: I'm hearing all kind of stuff. It is not every day you get to hang out with 57,000 folks, but I have done just that. People still excited waiting on the pope to leave here. I'm here with Brother Daniel, a young man from Canada here. You traveled here to be here for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Did it turn out to be everything you could imagine or more?
BROTHER DANIEL: And more. 50,000 people here in love for Christ through the pope and the Holy Father, what an amazing experience.
HIOLMES: As a young person, you are a fairly young guy, and a lot of youth really being targeted by this pope. We want to bring the youth into this movement. What got you to where you are?
BROTHER DANIEL: The example of Pope John Paul II. He laid a model for what a priest should be. Total love, to give your life, lay down your life for Christ. That's what the people want. They want the truth. They want total sacrifice. Give us love. That motivates the young people, to really give themselves.
HOLMES: Those are some topics and serious issues you talk about. I saw you over there with the yellow towels, the gold towels in the air. There is also a nice excitement in this stadium.
BROTHER DANEIL: There is. What excitement and joy. You really see the faith alive, all these people here coming to worship the lord with the Holy Father's presence. We really believe that Christ is present in the Holy Father. The holy father being the representative of Jesus Christ. You feel it in the air. It is something to watch him in TV, but it is another thing to be here in person.
HOLMES: From the vantage point we have, we are in center field, that's where we are. Dead center field out here in the bleachers. You didn't have the best view. Did that take away from it? You are looking at the back of the stage, but did that take away from it? Or just knowing his presence was here and you were in the same stadium with the pope today?
BROTHER DANIEL: Just being here -- I got my ticket last night. Being here is a miracle. I thank god for this opportunity. I think it was a miracle. I got my ticket last night.
HOLMES: How did that happen?
BROTHER DANIEL: Some family wasn't able to attend. I met a young family at Dun Woody last night. On my way out, this family said, we have these tickets and we can't attend. Would you like a ticket brother? Amazing.
HOLMES: Congratulations, Brother Daniel. As you hear in there, Soledad, an actual miracle took place last night. These tickets just fell into his lap last night. There you go.
O'BRIEN: What a lucky, lucky happy circumstance for him, T.J. You know what I found remarkable? Is that no one is moving. Pope Benedict has wrapped up the mass, and they have moved the popemobile into place to get ready to have him depart Yankee Stadium. Every single person is standing, hoping to get a glimpse of the pope's departure. Not a soul is moving out of their spot. What a remarkable day and mass. Delia Gallagher is standing by for us in New York. Delia how would you overall rate the pope's trip to the United States? How do you think history will remember his first historic trip?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there's no doubt, you have to call it a resounding success on all ends. I mean, the American people welcomed him. They are sitting here watching all of this and thinking, what is going on? Why is it that with such a difficult time in the Catholic Church, a pope who represents teaching that most modern Americans don't necessarily agree with, says contraception, for example, or divorce?
The pope is seen as a traditionalist. What is it that when he comes creates this excitement, you know. Even people who don't share his beliefs seem to somehow interest in meeting him in awe of him, and so on. Is it the pomp and circumstance of the Vatican; is there something more going on? I don't know. One interesting thing to see in the next few years, a long-term analysis, that's the way the Vatican works, you interviewed a man saying his vocation was spurred, in part, by Pope John Paul II. It will be interesting to see for the Catholic Church what kind of effect Pope Benedict has on young people.
O'BRIEN: Father John Bartunek is joining us as well. He's a priest and religious commentator. Father Bartunek, I'm going to put to you the question that Delia sort of raised, which is on one hand, resounding success. I think many people would agree with her on that front. And, yet, there are these inherent contradictions to where he stands. What do you think is the reason for that?
REV. JOHN BARTUNEK, PRIEST, WRITER: Well, I think, without a doubt, he exerts an incredible power of attraction. He has shown that during these days. I think it was unexpected. He doesn't have the kind of dynamic personality that John Paul II has, but where does this power of attraction come from? In speaking as a priest and an American myself, I know that I am drawn to him because he's a man of such uncompromising integrity. There's no division between what he believes, what he says, and what he lives. And that creates a personality that is incredibly attractive.
And it also enables him to speak the truth to people who don't agree with him and it enables him to be calm and open-minded without being fuzzy-minded. It enables him to be joyful, but never superficial. That's the kind of person you want to be, and I think that's really the source of the attraction. There's one other thing, though, that came out in his homily that contributes to this power of attraction. He talked a lot about the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, and the history of Catholics, who suffered, who struggled, but who made a real contribution to American society.
And that was another theme throughout his whole visit. He was calling American Catholics to take their faith seriously and also to put that faith into practice to better our society, to protect the good that's here, to purify our hearts, as well as our society of the evil. And that, also, I think, appeals to the mission, that reminder to us, and speaking as a priest and an American, the reminder that my life, my mission does have relevance for American society. It is not something that's just on the margins. We can contribute to the American experience. All that and many other things go into the power of attraction that we experienced from this pope.
O'BRIEN: There's no question that many of the things that he has said, whether it is in interviews or in his homily, which everybody watches very closely, have been forward looking. Talking about the theme of this visit, the hope of the church as it moves forward.
I need to say, thank you to Delia Gallagher who runs off and continues to cover the pope as he makes his way out of the United States. We are now going to bring in David Gibson as well and Betty Nguyen who is down really hanging out with 60,000 people who are standing by. Nobody is moving, Betty, is what I have noticed. I see some people behind you actually getting ready to go, but if you look overall, people are staying to see this pope off.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. The people who are starting to leave, let me just tell you this, Soledad, the smiles on their faces, I mean, the enthusiasm they still have now that mass is already concluded. I want to introduce you to two mothers who have come a long way, they come from Boston, this is Teresa Linder and Kelly McPhearson and they are here with their children and let me ask you. How important was it for you to be here today?
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): It was an enormous blessing. We had known the pope as a rather stoic intellectual, and on this trip we got to see his heart. We just feel like we received multiple blessings. It didn't matter what religion, what faith, I think he had something wonderful and very important to say to each and every one of us.
NGUYEN: It was important for you to bring your son, wasn't it?
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): Oh, what a blessing. I know in his 40s he'll remember this day. The pope addressed the youth here during the mass. It was just stunning. It was just stunning.
NGUYEN: Let me ask you little guy, what did you think about the pope?
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): I think it was very nice and very pleasant. He talked about some very nice things.
NGUYEN: You are so very cute. You have taught him well. Let me talk to you for a second. What was the experience like for you and your daughter? (UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): It was very moving. It is very special to be here and to help the archdiocese of Boston celebrate their by centennial and to heal from the abuse scandal. It is very important.
NGUYEN: Was it important for you during this trip that the pope has come to America and spoken many times, to hear him speak specifically about the sex abuse scandal?
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): I do. He comes over as such a kind and gentle person with an outstretched hand like Jesus did. It is important for the church in Boston. We have many people who have been so hurt. It is a welcoming door for them to come back.
NGUYEN: Do you feel like you are starting to heal with the pope coming and speaking to America?
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): Absolutely. Without a doubt.
NGUYEN: What did you think about the pope?
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): I liked it a lot.
NGUYEN: He was pretty neat, wasn't he?
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): Yeah.
NGUYEN: It has to be so exciting for you. Thank you both for spending a little time with us. I can see it on your face, you are just thrilled.
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): Well, god bless you. It was life changing. I'm so glad that you were here, too, and you bring it to so many other people as well. It's a gift that keeps on giving.
NGUYEN: Teresa, thank you so much. Soledad, there's really no words for the excitement they have. They are just enthused. They are inspired. They are so blessed to have been able to get the golden ticket to come today and experience this with the pope. So many would have loved to be here, but only 57,000 got a ticket. Sounds like a lot, but compared to those who would have wanted to be here, it's really a small number.
O'BRIEN: That's right, Betty. And I'm sure you can hear the cheers as we can. It looks as if the pope is really waving his final goodbye and getting ready to get in to the popemobile and make his exit from Yankee Stadium.
They talk a lot about a blessing and of course, any small child who can make it through a two-hour mass, then at the end say it was great? That's a big blessing in my book.
The pope now in the popemobile waving to the assembled crowd. I know some folks by you, Betty, we can see them getting ready to go, but there are thousands and thousands still in the stadium.
Virtually, everybody where we are has not moved in the hopes of getting a final glimpse of Pope Benedict XVI as he makes one final turn in the popemobile and gets ready to leave Yankee Stadium, the culmination of what has been a remarkable mass, and certainly, a remarkable trip to the United States. A resounding success many analysts have told us today for this pope on his first visit here to America.
Everyone now on their feet and again, waving those handkerchiefs as the popemobile makes its way.
Look at the crowds. That is quite a sight to see.
The popemobile inching along, really giving the people who have gathered and assembled a real opportunity to get a good look at Pope Benedict as he makes his way out of Yankee Stadium, wrapping up what has been a remarkable three hours here.
Pope Benedict XVI saying his final goodbyes to the crowd assembled at Yankee Stadium, some 57,000 strong at one point. And the cheers go up whenever he passes by. He now heads to JFK via motorcade surrounded by well over 3,000 people who will see him off. And he'll leave this evening on Shepherd One, which is what they call whatever airplane the pope is on as the popemobile passes directly below us on the field at Yankee Stadium.
As he makes his way to JFK for his final departure, he'll be seen off by a crowd that includes Cardinal Egan of New York, and Bishop William Murphy of Rockwell Center, and Bishop Pietro Sambi, and the Archbishop Celestino Migliore.
Our analysts called it a resounding success and I believe there is not one person in the crowd who would disagree. Everyone still on their feet, even well after the popemobile is visible to the crowd.
And you can see from our cameras, even though he's no longer visible to the crowd inside Yankee Stadium, the pope is now leaving the stadium and making his way to JFK Airport, where he will depart and return to the Vatican.
And only now, inside Yankee Stadium where you see people, at least in our section, beginning to pack up their stuff and get ready to make their way out. A remarkable success, a truly remarkable first visit to the United States for Pope Benedict XVI.
David Gibson is a papal biographer and has been following this mass with us as well today.
David, we've used the word resounding success many times. It's hard not to feel that way being in this crowd that is so enthusiastic and so excited on what turned out to be a beautiful day and a very well-received message and homily, certainly, from Pope Benedict.
DAVID GIBSON, AUTHOR, "THE RULE OF BENEDICT": Yes, it really has been a remarkable success. Being in the midst of it, obviously, is such an enthusiastic moment. And I think the thing that really struck me is that Benedict was enjoying himself as well. I mean, this is not a man who came to this job with a lot of natural gifts for this kind of public event. He never traveled with John Paul II.
O'BRIEN: He, at one point, compared being named pope as to, I think, an execution or "the noose is tightening around my neck," it's what he's saying.
GIBSON: Exactly. He felt the guillotine coming down over his neck. And even when he was elected, his older brother Georg said, well, maybe the sight of crowds would loosen him up a little bit. And I think it's been three years and I think it's worked pretty well.
But it is true, I mean, it's something he told reporters last summer. He said, "I think I'm learning to be pope." It's not something that comes natural. He knows he's not John Paul II. It would be false for him to try, and, yet, you've seen, I think, over -- each day, progressively culminating here that he's grown really more responsive to the crowd.
O'BRIEN: And a lot of affection from the crowd and truly rock star status when he entered and again, with the departure, to see the crowd on its feet waving the handkerchiefs.
GIBSON: Cardinal Levada, who was the former San Francisco archbishop who replaced him at the office in the Vatican that Benedict left when he was elected, he told us the other day that you know, when the pope -- he's never seen Cardinal Ratzinger raise his hands like this in blessing.
He said -- he said, you know, we were kind of struck how he learned to that. He said, "Yes, well, I'm pope. I have to learn the rules of being pope, and one of them is you have to sort of raise your hands in acceptance."
O'BRIEN: Well, he's learned the rules of being pope certainly, if you were to poll this crowd. They absolutely loved it.
We're going to take a short break. When we come back in just a moment, we're going to talk a little bit more about the pope's homily. During the homily, we heard the pope talk about authority and obedience. He said that they're not easy words to speak nowadays, especially here in the United States, certainly. Are they any easier for American Catholics to hear today? We'll check in with some of the faithful about that straight head.
Short break, we're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're looking at live pictures from Yankee Stadium where Pope Benedict XVI has just wrapped up mass. The crowd of 57,000 Catholics who were here beginning to depart.
We're joined by David Gibson, who is a papal biographer, to talk a little bit more about a message that I was frankly surprised to hear so often. Pope Benedict referenced the sex abuse scandal in his homily today, very briefly, just used the word scandal. But four previous times he's talked about it and then, of course, he had that meeting with a very small number of victims of sex abuse by priests. How do you think the approach on this visit vis-a-vis that scandal has been received?
GIBSON: I think it's been received very well. I think, you know, the great paradox is that ahead of the visit, the Vatican was very concerned that the sex abuse drama storyline not dominate and overshadow everything else about the pope's visit, his teachings, what else he wanted to say.
In fact, he decided not to go to Boston despite pressure by church leaders or pleas by church leaders up there that he'd come to what effectively was the ground zero of Catholicism in this scandal. He declined to go there, but he spoke about it very forcefully and very plainly and very humanly from the papal plane press conference on for the first three or four days straight.
By doing that, ironically, I think he showed himself to be the pastor that the Vatican wanted people to see. They didn't want the sex abuse to dominate it, but by confronting the sexual abuse crisis head-on, he showed people that in fact, he is a pastor. He's not just a cold, intellectual and academic who is coming here to give us a bunch of lectures that we would take home.
O'BRIEN: Which was some degree was a little bit of his reputation. As you mentioned, David, the pope on Thursday held a kind of a surprise meeting, frankly, with a few survivors of clergy sex abuse.
And Bernie McDaid was part of the group. He had an opportunity to meet with Pope Benedict. He joins us this afternoon.
Mr. McDaid, thanks for talking with us. And I'm curious to know what did you say to the pope, and what did he say back to you?
BERNIE MCDAID, SEX ABUSE SURVIVOR: Anybody out there want to comment for a minute? We got...
O'BRIEN: I don't know if he can hear me. Mr. McDaid, do you have audio? Can you hear me? This is Soledad in New York.
OK. It sounds like we're having a little bit of difficulty with Mr. McDaid's audio.
He was one, as I mentioned, David, one of a very few number of people. And that in and of itself touched a lot of nerves the wrong way. Only six people had an opportunity to meet with Pope Benedict. And for many of the survivors, they felt like why them and not me.
GIBSON: I know. You have to realize, again, one of the most poignant things of this visit is that the major sex abuse victims groups, SNAP, a couple of the others, they're the ones this visit -- that meeting between the pope and the victims and all the statements were made because of the pressure of these groups over 20 years. Ten years ago, there were being spat on the sidewalks outside of churches, but they persisted with it.
Let's get back to Mr. McDaid; I think his audio is good.
Mr. McDaid, thanks for being with us. And I'm curious to know, well, you were one of just a handful of people who had the opportunity to meet with Pope Benedict. What literally -- what specifically did you say to him, and what specifically was his response to you?
MCDAID: I shook his hand, he gave us a blessing, and said he was sorry. And I was the first to go up and meet him. I shook his hand and I said, "Holy Father, I have to talk with you." And I told him when I was an altar boy in the sacristy, and 11 and 12 years of age, the place where I prayed, I was sexually assaulted by a priest. And I said, "Holy Father, I was not only a sexually abused, I was spiritually abused."
And he backed off like a bolt of lightning and he looked over at the Cardinal Sean O'Malley, looked down on the floor, and looked into my eyes and he squeezed my hand. And I squeezed his. And then I brought up another issue that I didn't want to, but I just had to go here with it and I said, I looked him straight in the eye and I squeezed his hand and said, "Holy Father, you have cancer in your flock and you need to do something about it."
And as I said "you need to do something about it," I reached out and touched his heart. I didn't want it to be a sign of aggression. It was a sign of just, please hear me. And he took that and squeezed my hand again. I didn't know how to break the tension at that point.
Then I turned around and give him an Irish bread my mother had made from our family. And he smiled and the Secret Service and the cardinals all smiled. And with that, I went and sat down.
O'BRIEN: How did you feel, Bernie, about that moment? I mean, obviously, it sounds like you felt you were heard. How do you feel about what happened?
MCDAID: Well, I've been trying since 2003 -- I went to Rome because I've always known that it has to go -- this problem has to go to the head of the Catholic Church. The guilt and the shame has to be removed from the survivors, people who have been abused, if you will. Now, the people and the church pews like my mother and the hiercharcy and right up to the main man has to take this problem and then work back down with it.
Hopefully, now we can work together instead of us against them. When I was at the mass, it was -- that was the most emotional for me, believe it or not. When he apologized in the mass, I was with my mother and I just -- tears came out of nowhere. I had to put my sunglasses on.
I just had waited so long for this and here it was, the reality that this man was taking this issue on and not only taking it on, I have to say this. The mere fact that he announced it from the plane before he set foot in America shows me that it is the number one issue and it should be.
O'BRIEN: And what do you think will happen next? Do you think literally there will be tangible change which you and other survivors of abuse have been asking for, as you well know, for a long, long time?
MCDAID: Well, as you know, we have trust issues, so the fact that we weren't being heard, and now he has taken it on, I wish it was a lot earlier that this happened, but nevertheless, it has happened now. That's a big movement. I think you're seeing a beginning of another phase in this thing, if you will. I don't know how to quite put it, and I think the change started at the mass.
I am hoping that all the communities that are splintered can somehow collectively work somehow together here, because this issue is just intolerable, children being abused, and like I say, robbed of your spiritual values as well as what makes it so unique as well as sexual abuse.
And it's intolerable, and, you know, time is of the essence. It always has been with this issue with me, and I think we are really nearing a completion here where something might really start to get done. I think they need a lot of work in his flock of bishops, as I had said to him. And I hope they reach out and do something there.
O'BRIEN: Bernie McDaid joining us from Watertown just outside of Boston. Mr. McDaid, thanks for your time and thanks for your comments.
MCDAID: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: He was one of the very few had an opportunity to meet face-to-face with Pope Benedict.
Coming up next: we're going to hear from a man in Boston who did not have the opportunity, a clergy abuse survivor who did not get to be one of those chosen six to meet with the pope. He'll tell us how he feels about the comments the pope has made about the sex abuse scandal coming straight up.
A short break, we're back in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE BENEDICT XVI, CATHOLIC CHURCH: We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry, this is absolutely incompatible. And who is really guilty of being pedophile cannot be priest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE BENEDICT XVI: I would like say a word about the sexual abuse that has caused so much suffering. I have already had occasion to speak of this, and of the resulting damage to the community of the faithful.
Here I simply wish to assure you, dear priests and religious, of my spiritual closeness as you strive to respond with Christian hope to the continuing challenges that this situation presents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: You are listening to Pope Benedict. A little clip from his mass at St. Patrick's Church yesterday where he was speaking fairly bluntly about the sex abuse scandal that to a large degree has really split the Catholic Church, a huge invocation (ph).
You heard just a moment ago from a man who was one of the few who had an opportunity to meet with Pope Benedict face to face and to talk to him about what the scandal meant for him personally.
Joining us now from Boston now is George Shea. He received an out-of-court settlement after abuse by a Catholic priest. He's an artist, an actor, and an activist to lobbying for a change in Massachusetts law.
George, thank you for talking with us. Mr. Shea, we certainly appreciate it. You were not one of the chosen few who had an opportunity to meet with the pope. What have you made over the last few days of his numerous mentions about the sex abuse scandal?
GEORGE SHEA, SEX ABUSE SURVIVOR: Well, I think the most important thing I want to say first, is that I'm happy for, like, Bernie McDaid and the four others who had the opportunity to meet with the pope. I think that was an important step. My hope is that his hopes aren't dashed.
When I hear how he feels at this moment, I really hope that the cardinals and the bishops in the United States take this as a signal from the pope to actually act more pastoral themselves. Pretty much like the clip that you'd just played, you know, and hopefully stop fighting eliminating the statue of limitation laws and the states are trying to eliminate them, and actually help lobby for those changes. (INAUDIBLE) some of these lawsuits a look quicker than they have been because it's very draining on the spirits of a lot of the survivors, and actually try to reach out to other members.
I mean, when you look at the voice of the faithful, when SNAP and those other organizations, the church is fairly divided here and especially in the Boston areas. It's still very much a hurting community. This stuff helped. I think what he said and his acts did help. But now, it's up to the bishops and the cardinals to take that next step and continue on this path.
O'BRIEN: Boston, to a large degree, was really, for lack of the better term, ground zero when it came to the sex abuse scandal. How disappointed have people in Boston been that the pope did not come to Boston to visit, even just to visit, even if he have spoken not at all about the scandal, just make a visit to Boston during this trip?
SHEA: I think there's definitely some disappointment. There's definitely some anger. As he, you know, went to New York and prayed at Ground Zero for peace, I mean, he didn't pray at the Pentagon, he didn't pray in Pennsylvania, because that was ground zero, that was a wonderful symbol to be praying for peace there.
And Boston is the symbol for the clergy sexual abuse. And for him to have come here for that ground zero, I think, would have actually healed more of the community here, too, because it was in the papers every day in Boston and on national news, on CNN, the whole scandal, every day. And it broke apart families, it broke apart parishes, parishes ended up closing. Really, the whole community here could have used that sound of hope had he come here and spoken here.
O'BRIEN: How did you feel about this pope's visit? I was reading one woman who was a survivor, as you are, of sex abuse by clergy, and she said it was so painful and has been so painful to see so many people so excited about his visit. And she said it sort of underscored her feeling that she doesn't even have a church because she's feeling nothing. She's feeling abandonment at a moment when everybody, while even if you're not Catholic, is excited about the pope's historic visit. Do you feel that same way?
SHEA: It had its challenging moments for me, I mean, to be honest. It does take on a life of its own and sometimes it's very hard. But I also understood, you know, he's the pope. You know, he's the leader. He has to come here. He has to do his job. And that's fine.
So, I was able to, you know, kind of separate the two, but it's difficult. It's difficult with all the news coverage, with people calling all the time asking you know, for our thoughts on what he's doing. It's difficult because as we're asked these thoughts, and I'm glad I'm being heard, I'm thrilled I'm being heard right now -- it's what will happen next that I fear may happen.
O'BRIEN: Well, I guess that leads me right to the question what do you think will happen next?
SHEA: Well, and I'll say the fear. The fear is that once he gets on the plane today and leaves, everybody's going to say great, he addressed it and now it's over, there's no more work that needs to be done. But I, you know -- the way I see it is he just started the work that needs to be done. And again, I'm just hoping that Catholics can join together, especially the hierarchy and do the right thing.
O'BRIEN: George Shea joining us, an abuse survivor. And I understand, I really appreciate you coming on to talk to us. I know at times like this when you're asked to repeat your story again and again, it gets very trying. And this has been a difficult time for many of those thousands of abuse survivors who have had the opportunity to share their thoughts. We're really grateful. Thank you.
SHEA: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: We want to talk a little bit more about this -- the church's efforts to cope with the pedophile priest scandal, especially in light of some of Pope Benedict's words. Is it a new beginning, or is it as some seen to be insinuating maybe a little bit "too little, too late"?
David Gibson is back with us. As we mentioned, he's an award- winning religion writer, also, the author of the book, "The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World."
Also, Father John Bartunek, he's met the pope. He is the author of "Inside the Passion: An Insider's Look at the Making of the Passion of the Christ."
Let's begin with you, Father Bartunek. You heard from both of those survivors -- change. They want change and tangible change at that. Is that really on the horizon, or as Mr. Shea pointed out, is this going to be the minute when Pope Benedict boards that flight, it's kind of a done issue?
REV. JOHN BARTUNEK, AUTHOR, "INSIDE THE PASSION": No, absolutely change is definitely on the horizon. You know, I really agree, especially with what Mr. McDaid said at the beginning. You know, that this is an example of Pope Benedict's fearlessness in the face of the truth. You know, he didn't want to tiptoe around this difficult issue, as painful as it may be, especially to bring it up again when some people have moved on. He didn't tiptoe around it.
And that's how he faced all the issues that he addressed. He's confident in the truth, the power of the truth, to set us free, as he said again in his homily today.
And I think that his comments on this familiar issue really served as an encouragement to the bishops and the cardinals who have been setting in place new policies and dedicating a huge amount of energy to creating safe environments in our parishes and schools. It was a real encouragement that we are on the right track. And that's also part of the truth, that there is hope.
As the survivors we just heard mentioned, with the grace of God, they've been able to move forward with their lives. There is hope. And the church is able to move forward. And I just love the fact that the Holy Father emphasized that so much in his final homily. The Catholics in America, in spite of our sins, in spite of the challenges that face us, with the grace of God, we have a mission that can improve American society as well as give renewed energy to the church and to Catholic culture across the country.
O'BRIEN: You mentioned, he didn't sort of skip around the issue. And I think that that's been true for many people who were expecting not to hear very much from him on this particular trip about the sex abuse scandal.
But at the same time, one thing we hear, David, is from the survivors. The victims of the scandal will say, OK, but if you don't want to skip around it, then clear the way for the lawsuits and stop putting up stumbling blocks and stop, as you mentioned, 10 years ago -- really, these people were pariahs in the community. I mean, there are many other ways to be much more open than just a handful of mentions, as important as they are, by the pope on this trip.
GIBSON: And I have to go back to what Cardinal Levada, now the top American at the Vatican was saying. When we asked him about what can really take away from these statements of the pope and his meeting with the victims, and he said that the pope is really intending these as an example -- as to set an example for the other bishops to be more pastoral, to reach out to victims. So I think, indeed, he was trying to be a role model, but the question -- the next question for Cardinal Levada in fact was what about accountability for bishops? Something that our ...
O'BRIEN: And what about changing Canon Law?
GIBSON: Exactly -- well, the Canon Law changes -- at first, he said there might be something to be done, but then they went back the next day, said there's really going to be no particular changes in that. So, I don't -- he specifically said he doesn't see any policy changes. He also specifically rejected any changes or any way to discipline bishops or make bishops more accountable.
And that was something that was a bit of a surprise because again, this has been a very emotional visit, almost a cathartic moment that the church had to go through and Benedict had to do. But how do we translate that emotion into concrete action, concrete next steps? Cardinal Levada had no particular answer for that.
And I think the guest of the sexual abuse survivors who were on are also pointing the way to that future. What about the people overseeing the priests? Where's their responsibility?
O'BRIEN: It's a good question to put to Father Bartunek in the last minute or so that we have. At the end of the day -- and this may be a very American characteristic, which is accountability. OK, we appreciate the words, but what's the accountability? What's the answer to that, for people who are looking for a tangible, actual next step?
BARTUNEK: Well, I think there's two answers. One is we have to keep in mind, unfortunately, that you can't undo what's been done in the past. And that's an unfortunate reality. And so, the pope was really emphasizing looking to the future. And I know that in the past 10 years, and as a young priest myself, I've experienced this, the bishops have really made a huge effort to institute procedures, training, and ongoing training to raise awareness among priests who are out there that this can be a problem.
You know, for many of us priests, the break of these issues, the break of the scandals was as much a shock as it was for the lay people. I mean, most of us trying to live out our mission, we had -- this doesn't even enter our minds, but now there's a much greater awareness. And every priest -- you can't even go to a different diocese and celebrate mass without being, without having exclusive permission from the bishop of both dioceses.
So, there are institutional changes that have been implemented. And the church really it's safe to say, has done more than any other institution that works with so many children. And that's the direction we're going and that's the direction I think the pope's comments encourage the bishops to continue going.
O'BRIEN: Father Bartunek, thank you very much.
We're going to turn now to a look at where the U.S. Catholic Church is growing, and it's mainly because, frankly, there's a huge influx of Latinos in the church. We'll talk next about what Latinos are taking away from this papal visit. That's straight ahead.
Stay with us. We're back in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE BENEDICT XVI: (SPEAKING SPANISH).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Some of his comments that he was making in Spanish here at this mass at Yankee Stadium.
Ines Ferre is a CNN Espanol correspondent and today, Ines, as you know, because you're not very far from where I'm sitting, he got this massive cheer when he began to speak in Spanish.
INES FERRE, CNN EN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT: Oh yes.
O'BRIEN: Yes, not a surprise, I guess, when you consider the Latino community impact, isn't it?
FERRE: That's right. And you know, it was -- people thought that he would speak in Spanish at some point, but it was really surprising when Cardinal Egan from New York actually was the one that started with, "I'd like to say a few words in the name of the Latin community." And that's when the crowd really went off. And then, when the pope spoke during his sermon, that was another one.
I mean, they just -- and after that, they started chanting, "Long live Benedicto. May he live!" And they starting chanting, "Benedicto, Benedicto!" So, yes, they were expecting for him to speak at some point.
O'BRIEN: It was very interesting to hear "Vival papa," "vival papa," randomly as the mass went by. And I guess when you consider that the real growth in the Catholic church has been among Latinos, it's not such a surprise, especially Latinos here in New York.
FERRE: Exactly, espcially -- Latinos in New York and really in many other dioceses as well, I mean, you've got a lot of growth that's going on in Texas right now. And the Hispanic Catholics are about 39 percent of the Catholics in the U.S.
So, it's a growing population. And if you think about the Hispanic population also growing in general in the U.S., well, it makes sense that a lot of these Hispanics come from households where they're raised as Catholics or they come from Catholic countries, predominantly Catholic countries.
O'BRIEN: To hear the pope mention Latinos and also -- and I thought the second reading frankly was so moving, when you talk about people who have been rejected. The stone, the builder rejected is now the cornerstone. And what a message, I felt, to give in Spanish, where you certainly have a number of immigrants in this country, Hispanic immigrants who may or may not be legal, and may or may not feel like a stone that the builder has rejected when they try to make their way in mainstream American society.
FERRE: Yes, and you know, the pope has actually spoken numerous times in Spanish during his visit, not only here, but also yesterday at the rally with youths and also when he was down in Washington, D.C., and in front of the conference with all those bishops. He was also talking about immigrants and welcoming immigrants, for them to continue to welcome immigrants within the community. So, it's a message that he's clearly set out to do.
And he's also really setting out to talk to the Hispanic community. And when he spoke, also, in Spanish today, he was also talking to the youth. And he was telling them also listen to the message from God and also from his calling for you to follow a religious life or even a priest's life.
So, he -- clearly, the church knows where the population growth is within the church. I mean, they know that the Hispanic community is a big part of the church. And so, they're clearly targeting that. And they not only do -- I mean, they not only speaking here, but also they've got so many Spanish masses now in the U.S. and trying to accommodate all these Hispanics.
O'BRIEN: One of the final words he said in his homily in Spanish were talking about, "I invite you to look at the future with hope," which of course has been a big theme. "And to let Jesus enter your life." And with that, of course, Ines, he had a huge cheer. What a remarkable afternoon to be here and have an opportunity to hear the pope speak.
Ines Ferre, with CNN En Espanol for us, thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.
In the pope's sermon today, he talked a little bit about what he calls the "false dichotomy" between life -- political life and faith. And so, we'll take a closer look coming up about how that could play with Catholic voters as we look to the next presidential election. That's straight ahead.
A short break, but we're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: The pope visited the White House during his visit, but he pretty much steered clear of U.S. politics, didn't endorse, didn't even meet with any of the presidential candidates. But, Catholics make up 20 percent of this country's voters. And they will certainly be a vital voting block come November.
So, let's talk a little bit about religion and politics. We're back with David Gibson, the author of "The Rule of Benedict," Pope Benedict XVI and his battle with the modern world. "Washington Post" op-ed columnist E.J. Dionne is in D.C. for us today. And Raymond Arroyo is an anchor for the religious television network EWTN. He's with us as well.
Let's begin with you, Mr. Dionne because -- I guess we've been talking a lot about what we heard, but I'm curious to know what you think you did not hear because a lot of what we didn't hear involve religion and politics.
E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Right, well, the pope was insistent that Christianity does have a link to politics. And I think Catholics from left to right agree with the pope on that. I think the divisions among Catholics, the disagreements are where the emphasis should be. More conservative Catholics tend to emphasize abortion, stem cell research, end-of-life issues. More progressive Catholics tend to emphasize social and economic justice issues.
The pope gave them the full message, so at today's mass, I think the sermon was representative. He spoke of the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother's womb, and he also spoke of our obligations -- and I'm quoting the pope again -- "to the poor, the needy, those without voice, to the sick and to the stranger among us."
He was not heavily political here. He seemed to be very careful not to say something that could be read as an intervention in this very important election we have this year. Yet, he was very clear on where the church stood.
O'BRIEN: David, the timing of this trip in and of itself has been very a-political in a way. Often, these trips are done sort of closer toward the end of the year, October time period, and that would be certainly very close to the election.
GIBSON: Too close in this case. That's why he came in April, one big reason he came in April. Usually, when -- a pope is never visited during a presidential election year. And when you're going to come to address the United Nations, which was the real spur for this trip, the reason for this trip, you come when the General Assembly is in session in October. That's only a couple weeks before the general election. The pope just could not do that. So, that's why he wanted to come earlier in the year.
And I think he really saw that his language was not very pointed politically. He didn't bring up, you know, in some of the ways that John Paul II would have, issues like immigration in the same strong manner, issues like social justice, the death penalty.
He did reference abortion as a scandal, obviously, a couple of times. And that was one of the big applause lines today. And that I think is very indicative of the sentiments of a lot of Catholics out there in that huge voting block.
O'BRIEN: Raymond Arroyo who's back in New York for us, you had an opportunity, I know, to interview President Bush before the pope -- before he, the president had an opportunity to greet the pope. What did he tell you about what he was expecting? And after the fact, how do you think that visit went?
RAYMOND ARROYO, EWTN ANCHOR: Well, I think that visit ended up in Washington at least being one of the highlights of the visit. A lot of people thought the pope would wag his finger and condemn the president for the Iraqi invasion. The church and indeed Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict, was very opposed to this idea of a preemptive war. He said this is not within the church's just (ph) war tradition.
Yet, when he came, he sort of lauded America and was trying to connect I think to the innate religiosity and the belief of the American people. And you saw that this week. He was really not -- he was purposely avoiding any reference to politics. This was about spiritual matters, trying to call people to authentic freedom and not the fraudulent freedom that sometimes the culture tries to sell off as the real deal.
O'BRIEN: Back to E.J. Dionne, you know, we heard Raymond talk a little bit about the finger wagging. We certainly did not hear anything about the war in Iraq, which was a little bit of a surprise to me. So, what's the take-away for an American Catholic who is thinking of voting in the election? Are you left with nothing? Are you left with no particular message at all? Or do you glean something out of the pope's message that an American Catholic can think as they go to the polls?
DIONNE: Well, I think there was some implicit critique of the war and of a sort of unilateral foreign policy in that U.N. speech. There was also some very strong language about human rights, which a lot of people left and right could identify with.
I think if President Bush was afraid of more finger wagging, I think some Democrats were also afraid of some finger wagging. Remember, we had the whole controversy during the 2004 campaign where a few bishops said that pro-choice Democrats shouldn't receive communion, yet Nancy Pelosi received communion at the pope's mass here. And I think he seemed to go out of his way as David suggested, not to jump into this presidential race.
I think there's another fact about American Catholics, and indeed, it's true of religious Americans of all kinds. Being Catholic is an important part of their identity, but American Catholics are like all other Americans. They vote primarily on issues such as the economy. I think a lot of them will be voting on the Iraq War.
And then, these other issues can have an influence on them. It can influence the way they look at these larger issues. So, at this point, it's very hard to see any large impact of this trip on politics in the United States. And that appears not to have been the pope's intention. O'BRIEN: E.J. Dionne and also Raymond Arroyo joining us, talking a little bit about Catholics and the vote. And of course, David Gibson, who has been my buddy up here as well all morning (ph). Thank you, gentlemen, I certainly appreciate it.
Now, if you didn't get an opportunity to see the Democratic presidential candidates talk about a little bit about their personal faith, you want to stay with CNN for an encore presentation of the "Compassion Forum" which is monitored by Campbell Brown. That's going to air tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.
Another Pope Benedict's priorities during this visit has been reaching out to non-Catholics, non-Christians, too. And to some degree, that's caused him a little bit of trouble before. A closer look at how it went on this visit straight ahead.
Stay with us.
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CHOIR: (SINGING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
O'BRIEN: Pope Benedict XVI at mass today, celebrated at Yankee Stadium with a crowd of 57,000, roughly Catholics, who were paying attention to his message here in what turned out to be a beautiful day here in New York.
During his six-day trip to America, the pope attended inter-faith services with other Christians, visited a synagogue, met with non- Christian religious leaders, including Muslims.
So, the question is how did those outreach efforts work? In Detroit for us this afternoon is Imam Hassan Qazwini. He is the head of the oldest and largest Shia Muslim mosque in the United States. He is also the author of the book "American Crescent."
Also with us, Father James Martin, the editor of "America" magazine and the author as well of "My Life with the Saints." Gentlemen, thank you for being us.
Mr. -- Father Martin, forgive me ...
REV. JAMES MARTIN, AUTHOR, "MY LIFE WITH THE SAINTS": OK.
O'BRIEN: My mother would smack me for that one.
Let's start with the inter-faith discussions that Pope Benedict had while he was here. In a nutshell, how would you assess how they went?
MARTIN: I think very well. I think one of the highlights was his meeting with the Rabbi and Jewish leaders in Washington where he said explicitly I accept all of the reforms of the Vatican, too, which talks about renewed relations with the Jewish people. And in most of his talks, he talked about the great diversity of the United States and talked positively about all the other religions. So, I think he hit those two notes pretty well.
O'BRIEN: Imam Qazwini, as you well know, Pope Benedict in the past, has had a few moments, I'll say, where there have been things that he's had to frankly retract later or have discussions about, awkward moments. What were you expecting, what were you hoping to hear from this pope, and were those hopes met, were those expectations met?
IMAM HASSAN QAZWINI, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN CRESCENT": Well, I hoped that the pope would be consistent in his efforts to reach out to others and especially to the Muslims. This pope needs to learn how to be pope. He needs to follow the footsteps of his predecessor Pope John Paul II, who always stayed away from any fray and from making any controversial remarks.
Unfortunately, the pope in the past made some controversial remarks when he offended Muslims when he talked negatively about the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Afterwards, he went to Turkey and he apologized and he made some efforts to bridge the gap between Catholics and Muslims.
Now, in this past February, the pope again made another mistake, in my view, when he baptized a well-known Muslim barsher (ph) in Italy. And then, now he is reaching out again to the Muslims.
I believe that the current pope has to stay away from making one step forward and two steps backward. He has to be consistent, he has to be practicing what he says, especially when we met him, that he wants to build the bridges with the non-Catholics and especially with the Muslims.
O'BRIEN: It'll be interesting to see, if in fact, Imam, that he can build those bridges.
Back to Father Martin, we heard the Imam talking about building bridges which Pope Benedict -- as Imam rightly pointed out, has both talked about doing and then soemtimes takes two steps forward and three steps back forward and ends up in an awkward moment. Do you think that there is a conscious effort now to not do that anymore?
MARTIN: I think so. I mean, I think he learned from his Regensburg talk and I think the Vatican learned from that Regensburg talk what happens when you so pointedly address other religions. I think Benedict was trying to, in his person what he might not have been able to do as well with his words on this visit, which is meet people and say, you know, I care for you, I'm interested in dialogue with you, even if perhaps my words might not have gone so well with you in the past.
O'BRIEN: We'll give the final word to Imam Qazwini before we run out of time here. We've heard from our analysts and many others and certainly the 60,000 people who were here felt that this visit by Pope Benedict was a resounding success. For those who are not Catholic, for those who have felt a little hurt by some of his words in the past, Imam, do you believe that this visit to America, his first visit to America was a resounding success in fact?
QAZWINI: I tend to be optimistic. I think his successful to the United States is a successful one. I hope that the pope also can concentrate on the future, especially in the relationship with Muslims. Muslims and Catholics form over 50 percent of the world's population. Someone in his prestige, in his position, the leader of -- the spiritual leader of over one billion Catholics, a little mistake can have damaging effect on the relations.
And therefore, that's why I ask him personally to take the lead in promoting the Catholic/Muslim dialogue because we cannot afford having hostile relationship. Muslims and Catholics live occasionally in one country, side by side, for example, like Iraq. So, a small mistake here and there can damage this relationship and it will take years to undo the damage. And I hope that the pope will learn his lessons from the past.
O'BRIEN: Imam Qazwini and Father James Martin joining us this afternoon. Gentlemen, I thank you.
If you noticed, there was not a rabbi to talk a little bit about some of the visits to the synagogue, and that's, of course, because it is Passover, which means rabbis are very busy about this time.
It certainly has been a whirlwind historic visit for Pope Benedict. And CNN's going to have live coverage of his farewell and his departure, which happens in just a couple of hours.
First though, we want to leave you with a look back at the sights and the sounds from the past six days -- enjoy.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Happy birthday to you, happy birthday ...
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Birthdays are traditionally spent with close friends. So, our entire nation is moved and honored that you've decided to share this special day with us.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: It is in the context of this hope born of God's love and fidelity that I acknowledge the pain which the church in America is experiencing as a result of the sexual abuse of minors.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: My presences (ph) that are simply is a sign of esteem for the United Nations. And it is intended to express a hope that the organization will increasing serve as a sign of unity between states and an instrument of service to the entire human family.
I know that the Jewish community make a wonderful (ph) contribution to life of the city and I encourage all of you to continue building bridges of friendship with all the many different great (ph) religious groups, present in your neighborhood.
May our Lord (ph) (INAUDIBLE) in the church of America a new sense of unity and purpose as all bishops, clergy, (INAUDIBLE) may forward in hope in the opportunity (ph) to comfort one another.
God of peace, bringer of peace to our violent world, is in the hearts of our men and women and peace among the nations of the earth. Turn to your real lost (ph) souls whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most Holy Father, welcome to New York.
POPE BENEDICT XVI: May your lives be holy so that you will be reunited with him forever.
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O'BRIEN: CNN's coverage of the pope's visit continues. In the next few hours, the pope will be saying goodbye and then heading back to the Vatican.
That's all for us from Yankee Stadium today. We're going to send you back to the CNN "NEWSROOM" and Fredricka Whitfield -- Fred.