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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

The Communion Rite; Communion Underway In St. Peter's Square; Thousands Receiving Communion; Campus Attack Foiled?; Winter Smacks Northeast; Pope Francis' Inaugural Mass

Aired March 19, 2013 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPE FRANCIS: -- supper of the lamb, you who are not worthy to come under my roof, but only the word and my soul shall be healed.

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JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone to CNN's special live coverage of the inauguration of Pope Francis. What you're looking at right now is they're about to go over communion. A lot of people involved in this process, a very complicated process.

It has been a beautiful, symbolic morning. It began with Pope Francis coming in to St. Peter's Square aboard the pope mobile, uncovered, so he could be right next to his flock right here.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: He is handing out communion. We're surprised to see that, aren't we?

RAYMOND ARROYO, NEWS DIRECTOR, ETERNAL WORD TELEVISION NETWORK: He's giving communion to the priests and his attendants, deacons. But he will not -- according to what we've been given thus far he's not giving it to the masses. Remember there's also going to be a little bit of a controversy here in that you have these delegations from 130 countries here.

Some of them may or may not be in various states of grace, according to the church, so this presents a difficulty, so the pope isn't giving communion. Priests will be.

BERMAN: We're joined this morning by an extensive team covering this historic morning. Raymond Arroyo, you're just hearing from right now, the news director of the Eternal Word Television Network, Father Edward Beck, a CNN contributor, a Passionist priest, Monsignor Rick Hilgartner is here with us. He is the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the secretary of Divine Worship.

In Rome, we have John Allen, of course, CNN's senior Vatican analyst, and also Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the media director for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and right here on set with us is CNN's Chris Cuomo who was leading our coverage of the conclave last week at the Vatican -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Let's go back to something for a moment. Edward, you said that 1,000 years had to go by for the pope to offer an outward gesture of a sign of peace with the Eastern Christian leader. Why and how significant is it? Because there are no accidents, everything that's happening here today is by design. So, what's the headline there?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: When Constantinople broke from Rome, and so since then, it's been not animosity, but not exactly an ecumenical dialogue as you would like. So to have him then show up here, uninvited, invited, we're not sure.

No formal invitations went out. Maybe he just came on his own, but to have him here is symbolic and it's real because it hasn't happened. And for me, already he has ecumenical outreach in his own country, among Jews, other faiths.

I think we're going to see a lot more from this pope. We're going to see him reaching out to other rites, to other Christian denominations, and to Jews.

RICK HILGARTNER, HEAD, U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS: Pope Benedict went to Constantinople, we don't call it that anymore, but there was a great sign, a great image of the Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict standing to the as the patriarch hosted him.

The patriarch was also present at Pope John Paul's funeral and there have been other occasions when they've been together, but sharing in the sign of peace, even though they don't share together in communion is significant.

BERMAN: I was going to say, John Allen who is in Rome right now, to share in the sign of peace on the altar, if the terminology is correct, right in the middle of this inauguration that did seem like a very big moment.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: It's a huge moment. Now, as we've been saying all morning, it is not unprecedented. Last fall, when Benedict XVI led a mass, he was joined by Patriarch Bartholomew and also the bishop of Canterbury. Not only did they do liturgy together, but they actually sat down and had lunch together.

What it is expresses is there is this desire -- you know Christ's final prayer on earth as reported in the gospel was that they may all be one. Constitute one family, done a good job of living up to that vision of unity.

But the gesture, let's be clear, they're ahead of the politics and theology because there still are very serious divisions between Catholics and orthodox, between orthodox and Protestants, and so on. So the gesture, in a sense, projects us towards the future political and theological and historical vision.

BERMAN: John, one of the ways this really began, Pope Benedict XVI did a tremendous amount of outreach to eastern churches and I should tell everyone, in case they're wondering, Benedict XVI, now pope emeritus, he is not there this morning. He is not part of this papal inauguration. We do expect them to meet soon. I wonder if I could ask Sister Mary Ann Walsh, even though he is not there, what signs of his presence were around in about today.

SISTER MARY ANN WALSH, MEDIA DIRECTOR, U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS: -- exactly sure I heard your question there, the significance of Pope Benedict not being here?

BERMAN: Pope Benedict -- yes, I was asking you about Pope Benedict XVI. He was not there today. But Pope Francis did mention the pope emeritus right at the beginning of his homily and there was a moment of applause from the audience. I was wondering -- go ahead.

WALSH: There's great applause at that moment and there's been great applause any time Pope Francis has mentioned Pope Benedict. He holds him in great affection. I think, however, he has made it clear that he was stepping aside, and his presence there, I think he probably thought, would take away from the emphasis on the new reign of Pope Francis. I'm sure he's glued to the television set at Casto Gandolfo.

SAMBOLIN: Raymond, you're nodding your head and smiling.

ARROYO: It's a balancing act for Benedict XVI in all of this. He is the pope emeritus, but visually, if you saw the two men together in their white cassocks, one could confuse, and say, look, there are two popes there.

So I think he's purposely staying off stage, if you will, so that Pope Francis can have his moment. We see him fully vested in the trappings of the altar, the fisherman's ring, the pallium, that woolen collar he wears, all of this is to signify he is, indeed, the pope, and there's only one. If Benedict were there --

CUOMO: Less than 10 percent of people believe that if the pope and pope emeritus disagreed on any final issue who should rule, I think it was like 92-6.

ARROYO: When Pope Benedict renounced the office it was finished and the moment that they offered this man, the previous Cardinal Bergoglio, they said, will you accept the office of the papacy, and when he said accepto, that was it.

You don't need an inaugural celebration. This is the outward manifestation of the job, but it has already been accepted. He is the pope, vicar of Christ and the 266th successor of St. Peter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they both are expected to have lunch on Saturday. I'd love to be a fly on the wall.

SAMBOLIN: I think everybody would.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure there will be a photo-op.

ARROYO: And the pallium that Pope Francis has is the same pallium that Pope Benedict wore. Pope emeritus Benedict is no longer entitled to wear that. It has been given over and now belongs to Pope Francis as one of the signs of his office, again, woven from sheep's wool so it actually has sheep on his shoulders.

SAMBOLIN: We have been watching here Pope Francis mass, the inauguration. There are a lot of heads of state present today. They're in the middle communion right now. We expect that to last another 15 minutes and then Pope Francis will meet with the heads of state.

He will shake their hands, probably. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we're going to have this. Live coverage will continue along with other top stories of the day. We'll be right back.

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CUOMO: Welcome to our coverage of Pope Francis' inaugural mass. Right now, you're seeing some 500 priests giving communion to a packed St. Peter's Square. We estimate about 200,000 people there. Of course, the pope is not giving out communion because it would never end. It would take forever.

However, after this, there are 132 delegations of leaders from around the world, religious and non-religious and the pope will meet with them. And we'll be taking live coverage throughout the morning and giving analysis of what the pope has said in his first major issuance, his first homily.

And what it means for Catholics and non-Catholics around the world who are paying very, very close attention.

SAMBOLIN: And what a beautiful day. When you were there the skies were gray, and now it's absolutely lovely.

CUOMO: Yes, a clear sign of divine intervention. My exit made it a holier place.

SAMBOLIN: That's not what I was suggesting but --

BERMAN: We will come back to the coverage of this inauguration in a little bit.

First, there is some other news this morning. We do have some new developments in the apparent suicide at the University of Central Florida. Investigators now believe that a former student was planning a massacre on campus.

Police were called to a UCF dorm early Monday morning by a student who said his roommate pulled a gun on him. The suspect was dead by the time the officers arrived. Investigators say they found detailed plans for an attack, four homemade bombs, a handgun, an assault weapon, hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Orlando with more on this investigation. Good morning, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Well, this student's name is James Oliver Seevakumaran and authorities here described him as a loner and someone who was showing signs of anti- social behavior. Investigators here at the University of Central Florida say they're trying to figure out what made him tick.

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LAVANDERA (voice-over): When the fire alarm sounded inside this dormitory tower on the University of Central Florida Campus all of the students scrambled to get out. All, except James Oliver Seevakumaran.

CHIEF RICHARD BEARY, UCF POLICE: They found the subject dead from a single gunshot wound to the head.

LAVANDERA: The 30-year-old former student killed himself, but what investigators say they discovered next were the workings of a sinister and deadly plan to commit mass murder, four homemade bombs in a backpack, multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

BEARY: It could have been a very bad day for everybody here. All things considered, I think that we were very blessed here at the University of Central Florida.

LAVANDERA: Investigators say they don't know what made Seevakumaran turn his gun on himself instead. Police believe he pulled the fire alarm himself to lure unsuspected students out into the open of the dorm hallways.

He pointed a gun at one of his roommates, but police say that student barricaded himself in a bathroom and called 911. The suspect then killed himself. Students in the dorm were left shaken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started off as a fire alarm and nobody said that something else was going on with a bomb and the shooting. So, we were left in the dark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just never thought this was going to happen. So it's really horrible that someone had to die.

LAVANDERA: Investigators also say they found writings laying out a timeline of what Seevakumaran planned to do, a plan investigators say was designed to, quote, "give them hell."

We don't know who he planned to target, but investigators say he was acting as a lone wolf.

BEARY: He did not have a lot of friends. One of those people that really and truly flies under the radar, and had some anger issues. He was just truly one of those that are out there, and he made up his mind and set a timeline and put a plan into place.

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LAVANDERA: John, Seevakumaran was a business student here at the University of Central Florida, enrolled here through the fall semester of last year but he wasn't enrolled this semester and officials here at the university say they were in the process to try to remove him from this dorm -- John. BERMAN: All right. Ed Lavandera in Florida this morning -- thanks to you.

SAMBOLIN: We've been showing you some beautiful pictures of Rome all morning long. It's absolutely gorgeous there for the inauguration of Pope Francis.

But that is not the case for parts of the U.S. this morning. Spring is just hours away but you sure would not know it. Blowing snow forced the closure of many roads and highways from North Dakota to Minnesota.

Take a look at these pictures. This is incredible. Here in the Northeast -- snow, ice, and rain turned roads in the New York City area into very slick, slippery messes overnight. Boston is bracing for up to six inches of snow today. And the New England Mountains could see up to a foot of snow.

Alison Kosik is live in Concord, New Hampshire.

Alison, you are outdoors sampling the weather for us this morning.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And it's quite beautiful, Zoraida. You know, if there's going to be a late-winter snowstorm with spring literally tomorrow, this is the way to really do it. Yes, the snow is falling at a pretty good clip at this point, but look how picturesque this is.

Here's the state capitol, how pretty is that? Almost like a postcard. And you know what? Here in Concord, New Hampshire, they've got this snow thing down to a science. The plows have been going back and forth on the downtown streets here. They've done a really good job clearing the street, getting ready for the morning commute.

Here's what's expected today: accumulations -- heavy accumulations are expected to continue throughout the day here in Concord, up until midnight tonight, of about an inch or more every hour.

So, yes, they're expected to get up to a foot or even more by the time all is said and done. But this is a pretty snow. Look how pretty it is.

And you don't have that blowing wind going on. So it's not uncomfortable to stand out here, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: I'm loving it. The glass half full.

Alison Kosik, thank you.

BERMAN: So she claims it's really pretty up there. It was a wretched, awful mess coming in to work today. I am talking the pits.

SAMBOLIN: I thought it was lovely.

BERMAN: It was just plain bad.

I want to know what other kinds of wretched awfulness the weather will bring today.

Jennifer Delgado is live at the severe weather center in Atlanta.

You know, Jennifer, how much more are we talking about here?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You're right. We are going to see a lot more snow.

I have to point out to you, though, Alison is taking that storm a lot better than I did last week. It seems like she's really enjoying that snow.

And more of that is going to be coming down, guys. Look at this. As we head over to the radar right now, notice we are looking at rain, John mentioned messy commute in to New York. Rain there, anywhere to the north, you can see for Connecticut to the North, we are looking at that wintry mix. That means lead in there. Roadways are going to be very tricky out there, and then, for Concord, we're talking 12 to 18 inches of snowfall.

New England, you're going to get pounded. That is why we have winter storm warnings and watches in place anywhere you're seeing eight to 12 for areas like Vermont a little bit less, Maine, 18 inches. You're going to be really digging out.

But it's not just snow we're talking about. We're also looking at some stronger storms moving through parts of Florida, Miami, as well as Jacksonville, a lot of lightning there. We don't have any warnings out there but yesterday was certainly a quite active day.

We had a squall line move through and we had more than 100 reports of hail. Now let me show you some video coming in to us from one of our iReporters, and this one is actually from Mississippi.

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DELGADO: That's in Pearl, Mississippi. Guys, back to you.

BERMAN: All right, Jennifer Delgado, our thanks to you.

We want to go back to Rome for a second because we have just wrapped up communion there in St. Peter's Square. You're looking live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The mass has ended.

The mass has ended. Thanks be to God.

Hail Holy Queen, mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope, to thee we cry poor banished children Even, to thee we send up our sighs --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an important in Rome. And it's -- I went to the church where this was featured and the Romans literally get down on their faces before it. She is the protectress of the roman people and you see the pope venerating the statue of the Madonna with the child Jesus. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the pope there, obviously, right before, saying final prayers. Mass is about over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pope Francis really expressed his own devotion to the Blessed Mother. And speaking of her, specifically, and in that first full morning of his pontificate going to the church of Santa Maria Maggiore to pray at the shrine of Mary, protectress of Rome.

BERMAN: We've been talking this morning that the pope did not go off script as some were anticipating in his homily or during this service but that moment may have come before the service began when he entered St. Peter's Square in the open-top pope mobile when he was kissing babies. I think we counted three babies at least that he kissed.

One was a really long-distance handoff, too. He showed remarkable coordination in receiving that baby. And then, of course, he's descended from the pope mobile into the crowd to kiss an infirmed and disabled man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only kissing babies, but that man reminded me, really, of Jesus reaching down to the paralyzed person on the mat, ministering in a very direct way. It was one of the most touching moments of the whole mass, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many people in the faith community are those who are observing Francis, I remember being with John Allen, thinking about what does this mean and there do seem to be a lot of, you know, coincidental indicators that give this pope a little bit of a head start of presuming some type of change. I mean, the timing of when he was selected came down to allow his inaugural to be on Saint Joseph's Day.

To the uninitiated it's just another feast day, but not to Catholics, especially with the message that he's chosen to receive. Certainly in Italy it's a big deal, but the idea that he's going to look to Joseph as he did in his homily as the basis for being a strong protector of the weak, which hopefully in that language contextually means taking care of children.

So, this -- this is a sign, their religion is so often about signs and symbology that he was able to have his inaugural mass on this day, that we have a 10-year anniversary of the Iraq war coming out, that we have the anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery coming out, that these are opportunities that his leadership has begun during for him to weigh in and hear what his message is as it extends to the world.

BECK: And let's recall during that homily the protection of creation that he talked about. This is one who took Francis as his name, Francis being a great creationist, praying (ph) brother sun, sister moon.

And so this pope, I think, you will see a reach out, an outreach to ecology and protecting of the environment, much like Benedict.

BERMAN: Looking at all the flags waving a moment ago in St. Peter's square there. It is quite a scene.

The Vatican says 200,000 people, 150,000 to 200,000 people there. Maybe a little bit on the lower end if you're doing crowd estimates right there.

But Jim Bittermann is there and whatever the number is, there was certainly a great deal of enthusiasm -- Jim.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESOPNDENT: Absolutely. In fact one of the things we've been talking about all morning is the fact that it is after all a work day here in Italy, so it might be difficult for some people to come out to mass this morning. But certainly at least 100,000. I think the crowd estimate given by the Vatican is somewhere between 100,000 to 200,000, and have turned out for this mass this morning.

You know, one of the things that we've been watching as we've gone along here, is that we talk about differences between this inaugural mass and other inaugural masses. One of the things I should say is that it's come in not only on time but ahead of time. This mass has gone less than the time what we thought it was going to go. We were talking about an hour and a half or so for mass, it's come in under that.

The pope's homily was 14 minutes long, as I counted it. And that's, as far as parish priests go on for longer than that. In fact, I think it's something that we talked all along, simplicity and the conciseness of it. I think for the crowds here this morning, it was probably a blessing in disguise that they were able to come out and hear mass that was a papal mass but also one that was concise and to the point.

CUOMO: John Allen, you're there in Rome. A lot of the signs that I'm looking at there, written in Spanish, they're saying, Francesco, prepare my house. Go and prepare my house.

What do you think the take away is for the crowd, the major communication is from pope to people today?

ALLEN: Well, look, I mean there's a sense in way today marks the end of the beginning. I mean, that is what's been going on since last Wednesday at 8:00, more or less, Rome time, when Pope Francis stepped out on the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square, he's been introducing himself to the world.

And as introductions go, it has been a home run. I mean, we have been talking about how consistently the humility, the simplicity, the closeness of the people with this man, which is all on display again today in that determination to be in that open air, refusing to be allowed to be put inside a bubble and separated from the crowd.

All of that has sort of captured the hearts and imagination of the world. But going forward, the story shifts from style to substance, because what has to happen now, of course, is that Pope Francis has to begin the heavy lifting, so to speak, of actually governing this 1.2 billion strong church, and there are significant challenges waiting for him on that step.

And that's going to be fascinating to watch how he begins meeting those challenges going forward.

CUOMO: Thanks, John. We're going to leave the coverage now.

John, you know, another thing that is important, on the symbology side, the liturgical calendar is what it is. The gospel is what it is. Every week, it's set before, there's no discretion.

However, just this past Sunday the gospel was that it was about a woman who was condemned for adultery, and they come to Jesus and they say, what do you think we should do? One of the tests of Jesus.

And he says let he who is without sin throw the first stone. No one, of course, throws the stone and he says they haven't judged you, and neither will I. Go forward, sin no more.

The message of the gospel is you have to let go of the past so you can embrace the hope of the future. An interesting message, right before the inaugural of Pope Francis.

BERMAN: It is.

Our coverage will continue as the morning goes on. The pope will meet with the various dignitaries, representatives of more than 130 countries are there. We will bring you that as it happens.

There is a lot else going on in the world this morning. When we come back we'll give you more. Stay with us.

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