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Italy's Center-Left Alliance Leads Pools Ahead of Presidential Elections; British Cardinal Resigns Amidst Sex Scandal; Pope Benedict's Final Week in Office

Aired February 25, 2013 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Live from Rome, I'm Becky Anderson. As the pope's final week is rocked by more sex scandal allegations, so now this man, a top cardinal and one of Britain's most senior Roman Catholic clerics has stepped down.

All that plus, early results show one in five Italians have voted for this comedian in a very close election race. Why political deadlock could spark new fears for Europe's fourth biggest economy.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Max Foster in London. Also on the show, the latest on Oscar Pistorius as the Blade Runner meets with court officials.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really like the bag.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, I really like the bag too.


FOSTER: Red carpet glamour. What Anne Hathaway wore to collect her Oscar trophy.

ANDERSON: Well, it's an important week for the Roman Catholic Church when Pope Benedict makes way for a new spiritual leader, but instead of focusing on that transition, the Vatican is forced to confront new scandals and controversies instead.

Britain's most senior Catholic cleric, the Archbishop of Scotland, resigned today. Cardinal Keith O'Brien faces allegations of inappropriate behavior with priests dating back to the 1980s. He denies the allegations, but apologized today for any, quote, "failures during his ministry."

Two Italian publications reported an explosive scandal over the weekend. They suggest Pope Benedict decided to resign not because of his age, but because of allegations that gay priests were being blackmailed by male prostitutes in Rome. Well, the Vatican emphatically denies those allegations with one cardinal calling them guesswork and imagination.

Well, CNN's senior Vatican analyst says the events of the last 72 hours will likely effect the selection of the new pope. John Allen says it could now be paramount for the conclave to pick someone with what he calls clean hands.

John Allen is here with me now.

A momentous week. I mean, they say a week is a long time in politics, you know, 24 hours is a long time in Vatican politics these days, isn't it John?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, it is, Becky. I mean, you know, typically we say this institution thinks in centuries. This week they've been forced to think in seconds and minutes as news continues to wash through this place. The Vatican, as you indicated, would love for this period to be a story about how more than a billion Catholics around the world are joined in prayer for their church as it faces the end of one papacy and the beginning of a new one. And of course that's real.

But unfortunately for them, that's been a very difficult story to tell in this environment as they face a series of bombshells that have once again raised the specter of the sex abuse scandals that have been such a cancer for the Catholic church for the last decade.

ANDERSON: Stick with me, we're going to talk more about this and more about who we think might take over what is the Vatican City, the spiritual and governing seat, of course, of the Roman Catholic Church sitting just behind us this evening.

Cardinal O'Brien says he will not attend the conclave to select a new pope in light of the allegations against him.

Let's get more now from Matthew Chance live tonight for you in Edinburgh in Scotland.

Matthew, what do we know at this point?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know quite a lot. I mean, he's been a central figure in Scottish Roman Catholicism for many decades. I'm standing outside his official residents in fact in the south of Edinburgh where the cardinal is holed up inside there tonight. He's not issuing any statements this evening. He's not giving any interviews. He only issued that resignation, which was confirmed by the Vatican in which he didn't directly address the allegations against him, but he did say that "for any good that I've done," his statement read, "for any failures I apologize to all who I offended."

So, you know, some words there that may be taken as consolation for some who have been watching the spectacular downfall of this figure, a figure who remember, Becky, has been vocal in his support of church doctrine on homosexuality, on gay marriage, on gay adoption, things like that. In other words, he's been vocally opposed to it.

For such a man to be embroiled in essentially a gay sex scandal, is very surprising indeed. Take a listen.


CHANCE (voice-over): At evening mass, the faithful in Edinburgh have yet another scandal from which to be delivered. The resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, one of Britain's most senior Roman Catholic clerics, has come as a shock.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has shocked me greatly. It really has, because he looked like a really good, lovely upright man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm obviously very sad for the, you know, what's happening in the church and the example it's giving, whether it's true or not, what has been said. It's obviously a very sad day for the church.

CHANCE: The sudden departure follows this newspaper report in which four priests, three current, one former, accused Cardinal O'Brien of having what they called inappropriate relations with them in the 1980s. The implication is of homosexual contact.

The cardinal denies the allegations. But his resignation letter reads, "For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologize to all whom I have offended." CHANCE (on camera): Well, here's the thing. Cardinal Keith O'Brien has been a vocal defender of church doctrine on homosexuality and same sex marriage, publicly rejecting them both. Supporters say he has voiced liberal views on the celibacy of priests, suggesting they should be allowed to marry women. But on the issue of gay rights, he's often come across as a hard-liner.

All the more surprising, then, that a scandal of this nature should end his career.

(voice-over): It's damaging for the Vatican, too, already mired in pedophile sex scandal, it's trying to shore up its reputation ahead of the papal election in march. Cardinal O'Brien had been preparing to vote in that conclave, recently speaking of his worries.

CARDINAL KEITH O'BRIEN, ARCHBISHOP OF SCOTLAND: I will respond as well as I possibly can to the will of God for me at this time and to the will of God for the Roman Catholic Church at this time.

CHANCE: But now, he won't be going to the Vatican at all. Preferring, he said, for attention to be focused on Pope Benedict and his successor, not on this scandal surrounding him at home.


CHANCE: Well, Becky, even though the Cardinal has resigned, he still keeps his title of cardinal. He also still keeps his right to travel to the conclave and cast his vote for the next pope if he chooses to do so. But for the reasons we just mentioned he's decided that he wants to stay here in Edinburgh and keep away from the very harsh media spotlight.

ANDERSON: Matthew Chance in Edinburgh in Scotland for you this evening.

Well, as Matthew said Cardinal O'Brien has taken a hard line stance on homosexuality for years, once calling same sex marriage a, quote, grotesque subversion.

Well, the journalist who broke the news about Cardinal O'Brien's accusers spoke earlier to CNN. This is what he had to say.


CATHERINE DEVENEY, THE OBSERVER: None of the complainants are really interested in the personal foibles or weaknesses of Cardinal O'Brien, but the cardinal has been a very outspoken man over the years on homosexuality and the gay lifestyle. He opposed gay adoption. He has been a very vociferous opponent of same-sex marriage. And it's really because of those public pronouncements that he has made that everyone felt that it was the right thing to do to tell the story.

And it was clear that the cardinal had made a moral blueprint for other people and the way that they should live their lives, but in private he was not living up to that himself.


ANDERSON: Let's bring John Allen back in. When you consider the events of the past 24 hours, let's just contextualize them. What does this mean for the Vatican?

ALLEN: Well, I mean, first of all any time a cardinal resigns amidst scandal -- it doesn't happen very often and it's a big deal, because the cardinal is sort of top of the food chain just below the pope. It's also a big deal for a cardinal not to participate in a conclave. I mean, typically the loan reason a cardinal wouldn't come here to perform the most important duty of being a cardinal is for grave reasons for health. So that's not quite unprecedented, but it's certainly unusual.

But, Becky, I think the practical political fallout of all this in terms of the election of the next pope is that the events of the last 72 hours, not just the O'Brien story, but also the accusations of a kind of shadowy gay cabal inside the Vatican and other stuff has cemented a conviction among many cardinals that the next pope has to be a reformer who will lead a serious house cleaning of the Vatican bureaucracy. That is, they're looking not so much for a kind of lofty global teacher as they are a practical nuts and bolts governor.

ANDERSON: I'm going to talk later this hour about who that might be. John for the time being, thank you very much indeed. Our senior Vatican analyst.

As we sit just outside Vatican City tonight, you're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Up next, is this the next prime minister of Italy? I'll bring you the latest results from the Italian election plus expert opinion on what all the politics could mean for the country's struggling economy. That up next.


ANDERSON: U.S. stocks tumbling today. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson from Rome for you this evening. I'm going to be bringing more on the U.S. stock story shortly.

The center-left, though, here appears to be heading for victory in Italy's parliamentary elections, but it's close with the polls closed and about half the total counted one Pier Luigi Besani and his center-left coalition is in the lead, that's with more than 31 percent of the vote in the lower house, versus almost 27 percent for the conservative coalition lead by the controversial former prime minister, three times prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

In the senate, that's the upper house here, the leftists are also ahead with more than 32 percent versus almost 30 percent for the conservatives.

The polls also show former comedian Beppe Grillo and his anti- establishment five star movement holding a solid third place followed by the caretaker technocrat prime minister, the former prime minister in a Mario Monti in a distant fourth in both races.

This election could ultimately determine the direction of Italy's economic policy with broader implications for the EuroZone debt crisis. And as I said, U.S. stocks tumbling and they did so on worries about the stability of Italy's bond market should Silvio Berlusconi regain a foothold in the Italian government.

The Dow posting its worst loss of 2013, sliding more than 200 points in a late session sell off.

Well, I want to bring in James Walston, politics professor at the American University of Rome joining me here tonight.

I read those results. And as I do I feel a sense of deja vu. I wish for Italy's sake that this was sort of done and dusted election, but given that there's been 60 governments in the last 60 odd years, this one is no exception is it? This is by no means done at this stage.

JAMES WALSTON, POLITICS PROFESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF ROME: It's by no means done, but it is exceptional. This is the first time ever that Italy has had a hung parliament. It's all because of the very peculiar election law, which as you showed, even though the center-left got a majority in the senate, they won't have a majority of seats. And Berlusconi will almost certainly have the biggest single number.

ANDERSON: I've said tonight at best I think this is a complicated system. I worry at worst it's pretty dysfunctional. Don't answer that question for me yet. I want to just get us some more facts for our viewers to contextualize why the Italian election is so important to all of us around the world.

Italy is struggling with its longest recession in 20 years. Last month the country's central bank said Europe's fourth largest economy, the third largest in the EuroZone remember, would shrink 1 percent this year. That's five times worse than its previous forecast.

Now Italy's high public debt is a ball and chain, holding back its recovery. It's currently at 120 percent of its annual GDP, that is the third highest in the developed world. The severe spending cuts needed to bring down that debt have not been popular. They've lead to protests and strikes across the country.

So the question is who would do what if they were running a new government? It's no surprise it's all about the economy in Italy, James, is it? But what are the candidates pushing for? Austerity of stimulus.

I want to just remind our viewers before we speak on that, a reminder, Pier Luigi Besani, leader of the Democratic party does back austerity. He also wants to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is pro-stimulus. He also wants to abolish Italy's controversial property tax, of course, and even pay back the property taxes already paid in.

Technocrat Mario Monti, also a former PM, supporting austerity, pushing unpopular budget cutting reform.

And don't forget the comedian turned politician that we've been telling you about Beppe Grillo hopes his anti-austerity message resonates with recession scared voters, especially in hard hit areas like Sicily.

Get your magic ball, get your magic wand out, get the golden goose -- the ball out as it were. What's going on here? And what do you think is going to happen next?

WALSTON: Well, Italians had a year of serious cuts which were supported by Berlusconi by the way, and Bersani and of course led by Monti.

They couldn't decide -- the center-left was not able to put forward a clear picture. They lack leadership. And Berlusconi, who was trailing way behind before Christmas, ended up putting together reconstituting a new center-right coalition.

ANDERSON: When I was coming out here to cover these elections, and I've been -- you know, I've been covering the business and economic sort of beat for years and years and years now. I was looking at some of the numbers, GDP per capita here is practically the same in 2013 as it was back in 1999. I mean, that is ridiculous. And you've got to -- you've got in Italy on -- when it compares to others on the basis of global competitiveness sitting at 41 in the world. This is the world's biggest -- sorry, eighth biggest economy. How do you fix this? And who fixes it?

WALSTON: Well, this is as you said, this is not a recent problem. This is not a problem to do with housing bubbles like in Greece or in Ireland or Spain or Portugal. This is a longstanding lack of competition, lack of competitivity (ph) which goes back 20 years, 20 years of governments which are just not done what it takes to get Italy back into some sort of growth mode. And nobody was going to do that instantly. Mario Monti with the pressure of the European Union was trying to do it. Bersani would have continued these sorts of reform measures, but he has been stopped by two brilliant performers.

ANDERSON: One of whom, of course, is a man called Beppe Grillo. And I was hoping we might be able to do more for our viewers. Yes, we can.

Last year, I went to one of his rallies. At the time, no one took the so-called clown prince of Italian politics seriously. But the turnout wasn't bad. People seemed to be curious or even interested in a different voice. Well, now look at him.

Like a rock star at a concert. This was Grillo rallying the faithful on Friday in Rome.

A short time ago -- I just want to bring in one more element so that we can talk to this -- a short time ago CNN spoke to the CEO of the Pirelli Tire Company about the wild card that is Beppe Grillo and his five star movement. James, this is what he said.


MARO TRONCHETTI PROVERA, PIRELLI, CHAIRMAN & CEO: I think that this movement is a movement that shows a reaction of people to a situation of police -- politics. I think there is something good in this movement. The problem is how to channel all this into a project? The country needs a project. Europe needs a project. I don't think that we can solve the issue with minor move. We have to revise the way to grow in Europe.


ANDERSON: Does he stand any chance of playing a part in Italian politics going forward -- Beppe Grillo I'm talking about here.

WALSTON: Beppe Grillo will have between 100 and 150 members of parliament in both houses. He is certainly going to have a say.

You said earlier that he -- that one in five Italians voted for him, one in four Italians voting for him. A quarter of the Italian population is fed up with politics as they are and wants some sort of change. And Grillo is the man they voted for, mostly from the left, but from the right as well.

ANDERSON: Fascinating times. We're going to have to leave it there. We're going to have to take a very short break. Mr. Walston thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Italian politics for you this cold, chilly February out of Rome.

I'm Becky Anderson. It's Pope Benedict XVI's last week at the Vatican. Between changing Vatican law to holding his last audience in front of thousands, his week is packed. The latest details just ahead on CNN.

I want to get you back, though, to Max for a little bit of other news -- Max.

FOSTER: Thank you, Becky.

Also ahead on Connect the World, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has begun his first overseas tour. We'll tell you who he's meeting with and what's next on his agenda.


FOSTER: The new U.S. secretary of state has arrived in Berlin as part of his first international tour. Whilst in Germany, John Kerry will meet Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. The two are expected to discuss the crisis in Syria. That's at the top of Kerry's agenda as he visits nine countries across Europe and the Middle East.

His first stop was London where he met his British counterpart William Hague. While there, Kerry urged Syria's main opposition group to reconsider its boycott of an important meeting in Rome on Thursday.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are determined that the Syrian opposition is not going to be dangling in the wind wondering where the support is or if it's coming and we are determined to change the calculation on the ground for President Assad.


FOSTER: John Kerry will visit nine countries during his 11 day tour covering much of Europe and the Middle East. After Berlin, it's on to Paris for talks on Mali. On Thursday, there's a key international meeting in Rome where Syria will be top of the agenda. And then the Middle East peace process will take precedence as Kerry visits Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates before finishing in Qatar.

Oscar Pistorius may be free on bail, but he'll face restrictions on where he can go and what he can do. We're now getting some of the details regarding the rules the athletes will have to follow while he awaits trial for killing his girlfriend. Our Nic Robertson joins us from CNN Johannesburg.

And some confusion, Nic, initially about whether or not he had to report to police stations, but he did anyway.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of confusion, Max. Even the public relations company that speaks for the Pistorius family now say they were confused about what was happening.

What had been expected was that Oscar Pistorius had to report as part of his bail conditions to a police station in Pretoria on Monday and on Friday. That turned out not to be the case. He instead reported to the magistrate's court where he discussed term where he discussed some of his bail conditions. And what we have learned about those conditions, some of the supervision by parole officers.

What we have learned today is that four times a month, a minimum of four times a month, parole officers will visit him. Now it won't be just at his home. If he tells them he will be doing his athletics training at 10:00 am and may show up there and check that he's there. He's not allowed to leave Pretoria. We know that his bail conditions say that he is not allowed to drink alcohol or take prohibited drugs. The parole officers will be able to give him urine tests which are very sensitive, they say, which will test for alcohol and drugs. They say also that they can go to his house or wherever he should be at any time. So it's a minimum of four checks.

They do also say that this is sort of standard procedure, so not quite the harsh bail conditions that appeared originally on Friday.

FOSTER: And obviously everyone has got a view on this case right now. It's riveting stuff in many ways, although it is real life. And his version of events is that he mistakenly shot Reeva Steenkamp. And it's interesting to hear what South African's think about that. There's a lot of sympathy for that view, isn't there?

ROBERTSON: There's a lot of people who say it's too soon to judge, that we have to see all the facts. I went to see a family who had a very, very terrible tragedy befall them, and not too dissimilar fashion. The husband, Rudy Visagie was an international rugby player. They thought that there was an intruder on their farm. And he shot out of the window. We talked to both him and his wife Frieda Visagie and this is what she told us the pain she feels.


FRIEDA VISAGIE, MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: ...very, very, very bad. Some days to see other mothers and their daughters, they are -- you know, she could be with me. And when I see daughters with (inaudible) little children, you know, I wish I had little children.


ROBERTSON: And they thought somebody was stealing the car. And Rudy, the husband, shot out of the window and killed their 19-year-old daughter who happened to be in the car. It was in the middle of the night. There was confusion.

In the end, Rudy didn't have to go to court, because the court said that he'd already suffered enough, what more could they do?

Their point is that until you know the circumstances it's too soon to judge. And they have also found a way forward through this tragedy. They say that god had a plan for them. And they've now become counselors in the evangelical church and go around the country counseling people on trauma who have gone through trauma. And they do have a message for Oscar Pistorius and that is to stay with god. If he calls them, they say they are ready to help share their experiences and help him get through what they realize and sympathize with he is going through at the moment, Max.

FOSTER: Nic Robertson in Johannesburg, thank you very much indeed.

Now the latest world headlines just ahead.

Plus, pope for three more days. We'll head back to Becky in Rome for more on what Benedict XVI's last week in office looks like.

Plus, frozen out of the Antarctic, Sir Ranulph Fiennes is forced out of his historic trek. I'll be talking to the expedition chairman.

And it may have been a cold night in Paris, but David Beckham came out red hot in the first appearance with his new team.


FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. Britain's most senior Catholic cleric has resigned. Cardinal Keith O'Brien faces allegations of inappropriate behavior with priests dating back to the 1980s. He denies the allegations but has apologized for any, quote, "failures" during his missionary -- his ministry.

Voters -- votes are being counted in Italy and early results show Pier Luigi Bersani and his center-left allies in the lead in races for the lower house and Senate, but it's very close. Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his center-right coalition are in second place.

Syria's main opposition group has decided to attend an international meeting this week in Rome. It comes after new US secretary of state John Kerry made a speech urging the Syrian national coalition to attend to the conference discussing the crisis in Syria. The coalition originally planned to boycott the meeting.

South Korea's first female president is promising to secure her country against threats from North Korea. Park Geun-hye was inaugurated on Monday. She is the daughter of late president Park Chung-hee.

Let's go straight back to Becky in Rome to look at Pope Benedict XVI's last few days in the Vatican. Becky?

BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Thank you, Max. In just over three days, the world's most powerful religious leader steps down, the first pope to resign in over 600 years. Let's take a look at what Benedict XVI's final week in office looks like.

Already today, the pontiff changed a Vatican law allowing the process of electing a new leader to begin earlier than the traditional 15 to 20 day waiting period. He'll hold his last public audience on Wednesday before retiring the following day.

Well, Thursday is his last day at the Vatican. Benedict will meet the cardinals gathering to elect his successor. Then just before 5:00 PM local time when his resignation takes effect, he will fly by helicopter to his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo. You will see that from here, the Vatican, of course, just behind me.

He maybe -- have been hoping for a quiet last few days, but so far, there's been a barrage of controversy keeping Benedict busy. CNN's senior Vatican analyst John Allen is here with me. What do you expect in the days to come?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, Becky, at one level, I would tell you that it's hard to imagine we're going to see anything to rival the bombshells that have gone off in recent days.

On the other hand, look, this is one of those rare moments when the eyes of the entire world are on the Vatican and the Catholic Church, and so those who have a story to tell about the church, those who have a bone to pick with it are going to use this opportunity.

We know, for example, that the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, which is the main advocacy group for victims of clerical abuse in the States, is staging a protest here in Rome tomorrow afternoon. I expect that will continue to keep that issue alive.

But as you indicate, the Vatican has a badly-needed opportunity to get back on message on Wednesday when the pope holds that final audience, because officials around here are expecting an oceanic crowd.

And symbolically, what that will say is that despite all the fires that have broken out, there still are plenty of Catholics out there who have the pope's back.

ANDERSON: Lest we forget, there are 1.3 or 4 billion of the faith around the world from Spain to South America, John. Global reaction has been pouring in over the controversy surrounding the pope's final few days in office. I just want to get our viewers a sense of what we've gathered so far as reaction is concerned. Have a listen to this.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I don't believe or listen to any of those bad rumors. We need to listen to God, and I am sure he has done just that to make the decision he has made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There are so many rumors around that you never know if he's leaving because of his health or because of internal reasons at the Vatican.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think it's better if the pope gives up his position to someone more energetic, and then he can rest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I heard about a scandal on the internet, but I did not give it a lot of thought because the information didn't come from the Vatican.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Like every big organization, there are rivalries and groups and favorites. The Vatican is not immune to this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's sad because the church is supposed to be a transparent institution.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He leaves us with great knowledge of the gospels. I read most of his books and it's really a doctrine with fantastic explanations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Why not a man of color? Because that's never happened before and this could bring a sense of renewal and openness that this pope has shown by leaving his position.


ANDERSON: A story that truly connects the world. When we see the pope on Wednesday for the last general audience -- we've had the last blessing, of course, that was this Sunday -- there is an expectation that he will do the rounds in the popemobile. Do you expect that?

ALLEN: Yes, I do.


ALLEN: Yes. Look, the popemobile, it's worth remembering, was actually created by the Vatican following the assassination attempt of John Paul II. They were trying to strike a balance between keeping the pope safe but also still making him available to the people.

Benedict has not sort of claimed the popemobile the way John Paul did, but I expect on this occasion amidst that vast throng of people that we expect to see assembling here in St. Peter's Square and streaming down this broad avenue called the Via della Concilliazione we see behind us, he'll want to be available to people using that instrument.

ANDERSON: So, only just begun, we were saying this. We thought that there was going to be a quiet lead-up as it were to Wednesday, Thursday. Really, quite tumultuous times, John.

ALLEN: Really, this is the story of Benedict's papacy in miniature. This is a man who wants to be a teaching pope, who wants to conduct a global graduate seminar about reason and faith and the great issues of culture, and he has done that for eight years.

But throughout those eight years, he has also repeatedly found himself struggling with crises and controversies and meltdowns, some crashing in on the Vatican from the outside, and some self-inflicted.

ANDERSON: Just moments ago, Christiane Amanpour was pretty much sitting where I am sitting now. She spoke to Tom Rosica, the assistant spokesman for the Holy See, and she asked him what impact these scandals are having on the Vatican during such a delicate time. Let's leave the last word for the time being to him. Have a listen to this.


TOM ROSICA, ASSISTANT SPOKESMAN TO THE HOLY SEE: Certainly this is not a pleasant moment for the entire church. When one member suffers, all of us suffer. I don't know the details, we don't know all of the details, we know what's been reported to us by the papers.

But I can say this, that the resignation was accepted and the cardinal humbly backed down and said "I will not go to Rome to the conclave," and that, I find, is a positive thing for the cardinal and for all of us.


ANDERSON: And Christiane will join me a little later this hour. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London. John, thank you very much, indeed, for joining me. I'll be back at the end of the show. For now, though, it's over to Max in London. Max?

FOSTER: Becky, just ahead, frostbite stops explorer Ranulph Fiennes in his tracks. I'll be talking to the chairman of his Antarctic expedition next.


FOSTER: Stopped cold. Frostbite has put an end to what could have been Sir Ranulph Fiennes' greatest challenge yet, trekking across Antarctica in winter. Seen here with Britain's Prince Charles in December, the 68-year-old Fiennes is already the first person to cross Antarctica on foot. He's also the first person to reach both the North and the South Poles by land.

But this time, the global explorer was frostbitten when he tried to mend a ski binding with bare hands at minus 30 degrees Celsius. Fiennes has already lost five fingers to frostbite from another trek. Becky recently asked him what drives him on.


RANULPH FIENNES, BRITISH EXPLORER: I suppose the fact that it hasn't been done. The people that have wanted these records as much as we do are mainly the Norwegians. We realize this, they realize that, for the last 40 years it's been back and forth. And they call it Polar Hula, meaning it's like a drug, it's like an addiction. Once you're bitten by polar records, you keep going for it.


FOSTER: Well, the other members of his expedition, called the Coldest Journey on Earth, still plan to carry on for charity. A short time ago, I spoke to expedition chairman Tony Medniuk. He explained how Sir Ranulph Fiennes got frostbite and how the emergency team is planning to get him out of there.


TONY MEDNIUK, CHAIRMAN, THE COLDEST JOURNEY: I believe his ski binding was a little loose or required some adjustment and he found he couldn't make the necessary adjustment in those challenging conditions with his mittens on and he needed to take his gloves off in order to make the necessary adjustment to his binding. And I'm afraid that was the point at which his hand has become frostbitten.

FOSTER: It was minus 30 degrees Celsius, as I understand it, roughly, at that time. So, not unexpected. But I know you're trying to evacuate him, but conditions are so bad, you're unable to do that.

MEDNIUK: At the moment, we were discussing with the ice team as short a time as an hour ago, we have a -- the weather is clearing a little bit and we do, indeed, have a contingency plan whereby there is a vehicle which can come from the Belgian depot at Princess Elizabeth and collect him in the morning.

It is the last remaining great polar challenge, and yes, he -- what his role was going to be, he was going to be on skis in specially-adapted clothing, of course, to withstand the temperatures, so that he would be the first person to actually ski across in winter.

That notwithstanding, the expedition itself is going to make the first crossing ever of Antarctic in winter.


FOSTER: Unbelievable effort. Well, still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD --


PIERS MORGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What are you wearing, Octavia?

What are you wearing?

What are you wearing?


FOSTER: Frocks and shocks from the red carpet, coming up after this short break.


FOSTER: A woman race car driver makes history in a sport long- dominated by men. Pedro Pinto has the details.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I really like this story, Max. At the Daytona 500, we saw Danica Patrick make history over the weekend by becoming the first woman ever to attain pole position for this high-profile race.

Then she went on to add to the history books on Sunday by becoming the first woman as well to lead a race in the Sprint Cup series. She did it for five laps and had a good outing overall, finished in the top ten.

The winner of the race was Jimmie Johnson, who put in a great drive in Florida and celebrated his second victory in this event. Jimmie Johnson had won it back in 2006. As much as Johnson was the star of the show, I'd have to say that still most people after the race were talking about Danica Patrick's feat.


DANICA PATRICK, FINISHED 8TH AT DAYTONA 500: Leading laps was nice and it's a little bit, maybe, more calm driving around here than Indy in an Indy car, so I guess maybe I had -- at least on your own, anyway, especially in the lead. So, I guess I had a little more time to look around and see the people.

JIMMIE JOHNSON, WON 2ND DAYTONA 500: She has no fear and is very comfortable. We're excited for our sport to have her in it and to bring this boost of casual fans who may not be avid NASCAR fans as now. So, it's great.


PINTO: And if Johnson could have felt a little jealous not to get all the attention, Max, I can tell you there's a pretty good consolation prize. He picked up a winner's check of $1.5 million.

FOSTER: Well, there you go. That would sort you out, wouldn't it?

PINTO: Not bad.

FOSTER: David Beckham --


FOSTER: -- out in France last night. A lot of people waiting for that moment.

PINTO: Yes, it had been a while since he secured his move from the LA Galaxy to Paris Saint-Germain, and the moment many football fans were waiting for arrived on Sunday evening. He played for the first time in his new colors, coming on as a second-half substitute.

To be specific, he played 14 minutes in Paris Saint-Germain's two-nil victory over Marseilles in the match that's known as Le Classique, just like El Classico between Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain.

It's curious, because a lot of people are wondering how much influence Beckham will have on Paris Saint-Germain at this stage in his career, considering he's 37. I personally think there's still a lot there, as far as his engine is concerned.

And his experience and his winning mentality will come in quite handy for manager Carol Ancelotti in the league, but also in the Champions League, as they hope to make it into the quarterfinals. And who knows? Maybe past that as well.

FOSTER: Well, the shop will be doing well. People will be buying the shirts now, won't they?

PINTO: Yes, you're absolutely right.

FOSTER: If nothing else --


FOSTER: -- the merchandising will do well.

PINTO: Merchandising's a good move financially. Branding. But I think from a football perspective, it's not bad at all.

FOSTER: Good news. Pedro, thank you very much, indeed.

Now, history was made in Hollywood last night at the 85th annual Academy Awards. British actor Daniel Day-Lewis won his third Oscar, taking the Best Actor prize for his role as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's film "Lincoln."


DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, BEST ACTOR, "LINCOLN": I really don't know how any of this happened. I -- I do know that I've received so much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life, and I'm so grateful to the Academy for this beautiful honor.


FOSTER: A special guest announced the Best Picture winner, "Argo": First Lady Michelle Obama opened the envelope from the White House. The film's director and co-producer Ben Affleck accepted the award despite a snub for the Best Director nomination.

That honor went to Ang Lee for "Life of Pi." The film, based on the novel by Yann Martel, won four Oscars, the most for any film on the night. And "Silver Linings Playbook" star Jennifer Lawrence was literally -- quite literally -- falling over herself on the way to collect her Best Actress award.


JENNIFER LAWRENCE, BEST ACTRESS, "SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK": You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell, and that's really embarrassing.


FOSTER: Jennifer Lawrence was the talk of the fashion world, too, as much for her fall upstage as much for her enormous Dior gown. Here's a look at the other big awards of the night: Hollywood's best-dressed.



ALINA CHO, CNN US NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Oscars. The glitz, the glamour, where arguably the most important awards of the night are not this --


CHO: But this.

MORGAN: What are you wearing, Octavia?

What are you wearing?

What are you wearing?


CHO: Halle Berry in Versace.

CHO (on camera): I heard you wanted to look like a Bond girl, is that true?


CHO (voice-over): Nicole Kidman in L'Wren Scott, and Jessica Chastain in Giorgio Armani.

JESSICA CHASTAIN, ACTRESS: The dress reminded me of -- it was a "happy birthday, Mr. President" kind of dress --


CHASTAIN: And I love --

MORGAN: It is. It's just like the Marilyn.

CHO: Old Hollywood glamour on full display in a sea of strapless gowns, including Helen Hunt. But guess who made it?



HUNT: Yes.


HUNT: Yes.

MORGAN: Really?

HUNT: Yes.

CHO: Accessorized with $700,000 in diamonds. Fashion favorite Anne Hathaway turned up in Prada, deciding on it just three hours before the show.

ANNE HATHAWAY, ACTRESS: And I really like the back.

MORGAN: Wow! I really like the back, too!


MORGAN: That is -- can we do that again?




CHO: During the show, she changed into Armani. The face of Dior, Jennifer Lawrence, wore -- you guessed it -- Dior Haute Couture. But it was this moment that caught everyone's eye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She told me before that she was going to do that because it would guarantee a standing ovation.

CHO: Jennifer Aniston and Sally Field wore signature red Valentino.

MORGAN: Do you still feel pressure about what to wear at these things?

SALLY FIELD, ACTRESS: Oh, my God, yes! You didn't -- we didn't used to feel any pressure at all in the old days, literally. You just walked in a store and got a dress and put it on.


FIELD: There wasn't any of this "what are you wearing?" and all of this kind of stuff.

CHO: But don't tell that to Quvenzhane Wallis. She wore --

QUVENZHANE WALLIS, 9-YEAR-OLD ACTRESS: I am wearing Amour Junior -- I meant -- I think that's how I said it.

CHO: Actually Giorgio Armani, custom-made with an accessory no other nominee had: a doggie bag.

WALLIS: It's a puppy purse from Poochie and Co. I usually wear them since Sundance.

CHO: Ah, the Oscars, the most expensive, glamorous, over-the-top fashion on the planet.

Until next year, Alina Cho, CNN, Hollywood.



FOSTER: The H&M dress with diamonds, incredible. That's it for me in London. Let's go back to Rome, now, check in with Becky one final time. Hi, Becky.

ANDERSON: Oh, good stuff. All right. Well, thank you for that. Straight after this show, viewers in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East can watch a special edition of "Amanpour" from the Vatican. That's tonight, 10:00 P London, 11:00 here in Rome right here on CNN.

And I've got Christiane with me now. Just a sort of final thought. We heard from you speaking to the spokesman from the Vatican just earlier on.


ANDERSON: Your sense of the occasion, as it were?

AMANPOUR: Well my sense of the occasion, Becky, is that the occasion has been overshadowed, unfortunately by this ricocheting of bombshells that just seem never to stop.

I remember being here in 2005 as John Paul II was dying, and then for the conclave and the election of Pope Benedict. And we were told that this was going to be actually an interim, a caretaker pontificate, that somebody was going to competently lead the church into the next generation.

And to an extent, he's done things that are unprecedented. He apologized for the sex pedophile case, he tried to bring more openness, accountability, and transparency. But by all accounts, not nearly enough.

And here we are, as he's resigned, an historic moment, and yet, his last few days are simply being overshadowed by the kind of headlines that the Vatican doesn't want to see, no organization would want to see.

ANDERSON: Christiane, when you look at Vatican City tonight, the lights are still on. They will be working well into the night, won't the?


ANDERSON: When we go home this evening --

AMANPOUR: They will be.

ANDERSON: -- that's still going on.

AMANPOUR: Yes, it is. And it's so beautiful. But I would say they're in damage control in the Vatican, and they have been for a long time. And I think the important thing is to see the next pope and how he can lead a next generation that is open, transparent, accountable.

And meets the faith needs of all the Roman Catholics, 1.2 billion people, half of them conservative and traditional, half of them want a more progressive, more liberal, more modern church.

ANDERSON: You've spoken to some of the cardinals who will be here who are eligible to vote, of course, in the coming weeks. Is there any single character that stand out for you?

AMANPOUR: Look, we've spoken to a lot of people, including a lot of analysts and reporters. It seems the field is kind of wide open. Back in 2005, it was almost clear that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was going to win. He'd had such an important position in the Vatican for years as cardinal.

Now, they're talking about a whole list of people, and there's no real clear front-runner. Canadians, Americans, from the developing world, whether Africa or Latin America. We'll see.

ANDERSON: Christiane Amanpour with me here in Rome. And sitting here, you cannot underestimate the drama surrounding everything that's going on, another sex scandal, more than one in the Roman Catholic Church, a Vatican struggling to manage the activities -- and dare I say it -- the proclivities of itself. And all of this at a time of significant change for the more than 1 billion around the world who declare themselves of faith.

And then -- well then, there's the Italian election. There's a reason why Italy has had more than 60 governments since the second World War. The country's electoral laws dictate that a party or coalition needs a majority in both the lower house and the Senate to govern. And the likelihood is this time around, well, there's little chance of a stable government.

So, where does that leave the eurozone's third-biggest economy and the world's eighth-largest? Well, I'd say full of uncertainty and, sadly, looking decidedly shaky.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD from Rome. Thank you for watching.