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Terri Schiavo's Death; Pope John Paul II Ill

Aired March 31, 2005 - 15:30   ET


CROWD: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.

ANNOUNCER: Prayers and tears for Terri Schiavo. In life, her plight tore her family and many Americans apart. In death, will there be more anger? Or will there be healing?

GOVERNOR JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: I wish I could have done more. That's the sadness in my heart.

ANNOUNCER: Political figures pay their respects to Terri Schiavo. Will some pay a price for intervening in her case, or for failing to prevent her death?

President Bush mourns for Schiavo, but then returns to business. A new report that America's spy agencies were dead wrong about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To win the war on terror, we will correct what needs to be fixed.

ANNOUNCER: Now, live from Washington, Judy Woodruff's INSIDE POLITICS.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. For many Americans, Terri Schiavo came to embody some of the most difficult questions with ask ourselves about the definition of life, and some of the most painful choices we have to make about death. No matter what side you may have favored in the battle over her fate, her death this morning is poignant and still, it is politically charged. One of the next points of contention, Schiavo's autopsy. We are expecting a news conference on that very shortly. We do plan to carry it live.

But first, we go to CNN's Bob Franken. He is reporting from Pinellas Park in Florida. Hi, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello. And as the legal battles and the political battles and the vigils and all the emotions intensified, the announcement came at 9:50 this morning that the inevitable had happened.


BROTHER PAUL O'DONNEL, SCHINDLER FAMILY ADVISER: It is with great sadness that it's been reported to us that Terri Schiavo has passed away. The family will be making a statement sometime today, but please, out of respect, we ask that you not hound them when they come out. It's our understanding through David Gibbs that Terri has passed away. The family will make a public statement sometime today.


FRANKEN: This intensely private moment had become intensely public, but now the vigil that had been attended by so many...

WOODRUFF: A news conference -- Bob, we're going to interrupt you, I'm sorry, to go to a new conference. This is the director of forensic investigations talking about the pending autopsy.


WILLIAM PELLAN, DIRECTOR OF FORENSIC INVESTIGATIONS, PINELLAS PARK, FLORIDA: In addition, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will not be making any comments or statements about the autopsy or the case on Terri Schiavo. One other clarification, we have a medical examiner system, and this is the medical examiner's office, not the coroner's office. A medical examiner investigation into the cause of death is mandated by Florida law, and for no other reason.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, and family requests are immaterial in that determination. The examination of her remains will include routine forensic autopsy procedures, supplemented by post-mortem radiographs and thorough neuropathology examination by a board-certified neuropathologist. Without stating specifically when the autopsy will be completed, the remains should be ready for release within the next 24 hours.

The autopsy report will be completed as soon as all appropriate laboratory information, records, and anatomic findings have been explored. It would be inappropriate for any comments regarding the contents of the report or the results of the examination before review of all pertinent information. Pursuant to Florida law, the autopsy report will be public record.

Although we will attempt to expedite the results, the cause of death and autopsy report may not be available for several weeks. We will notify all interested parties when the report is completed. Thank you. That will be all.

WOODRUFF: That was William Pellan. He is the director of forensic investigations in Pinellas Park, Florida, talking about the autopsy. We did hear him say this autopsy is mandated to determine the cause of death. He talked about routine procedures. He talked about radiographs, x-rays and other forms of radiography. And he also talked about neuropathology reports.

We did hear him say that the remains of Terri Schiavo will be released, he said, within the day, within 24 hours. But he said the report on the results of the autopsy may not be available for several weeks. Let's go quickly back to our Bob Franken in Florida -- Bob? FRANKEN: And Judy, as you heard, the remains will be released in about 24 hours. That is one of the ongoing points of contention between Michael Schiavo and the family. Michael Schiavo has made it clear he wants those remains cremated and then buried in Pennsylvania, as opposed to the family's wishes to have the burial happen here.

Also a dispute about the last moments of Terri Schiavo. The blood relatives, the Schindlers said they wanted to be in the room, and they bitterly complained that Michael Schiavo had ordered that they not be there.


GEORGE FELOS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL SCHIAVO: I can just tell you that Mr. Schiavo's overriding concern here was to provide for Terri a peaceful death with dignity, and I emphasize it because this death was not for the siblings and not for the spouse and not for the parents. This was for Terri. She has a right -- she has a right to die peaceably in a loving setting, and with dignity and that was his overriding concern.


FRANKEN: And of course, as we've noted many times, Judy, the peacefulness inside the hospice was anything but matched on the outside. It is a debate. It is an angry family situation, and it does not look like any time soon that the controversy and the hard feelings will die down -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Bob Franken, thank you very much.

FRANKEN: Well, meantime, President Bush offered his condolences today to Terri Schiavo's family members and he repeated his position that in such cases, the presumption should always be in favor of life.


G. BUSH: I appreciate the example of grace and dignity they have displayed at a difficult time. I urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to work to build a culture of life, where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others.


WOODRUFF: The president's brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, called Schiavo's death heartbreaking, and he said he wished he could have done more to try to save her life. But he appeared undaunted by threats by some activists he would play a political price for not intervening at the end.


J. BUSH: This issue transcends politics, to be honest. And I think she will be -- her experience will heighten awareness of the importance of families dealing with end-of-life issues, and that is an incredible legacy.


WOODRUFF: Governor Bush says there will be time to reexamine state laws dealing with life and death issues, but now, he says, is a time to pay tribute to Terri Schiavo.

Here in Washington, a number of lawmakers were quick to issue statements about Schiavo's death, mostly those who had pressed for Congress to intervene in her case. Let's bring in our congressional correspondent, Joe Johns. Hello, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy. There were a number of Capitol Hill condolences to the family of Terri Schiavo, from Democrats and Republicans alike today, but the strongest reaction of all, from House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who came out slamming state and federal judges, even the Supreme Court.


REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: We will look at an arrogant, out of control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the president. When given the jurisdiction to hear this case anew and look at all the facts and make a determination, they chose not to participate.


JOHNS: In a written statement, DeLay also said the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior. Now, a congressional official says DeLay's remarks were not coordinated with the rest of the House GOP leadership. DeLay apparently taking -- some Democratic aides suggesting he has stepped over the line this time and conservative legal analyst Bruce Fine (ph) called his remarks outrageous. A number of conservative judges along the way had an opportunity to review this case and declined to intervene.


JOHNS (voice-over): At its heart, the story of Terri Schiavo is a deeply personal one, of a woman's struggle and family strife, but one that turned into a national fire storm.

DELAY: This is about Terri and her life and her family that wants to take care of her. It has nothing to do with politics and it's disgusting to even suggest it.

JOHNS: House Republicans became passionate advocates because her case, dealing so directly with the sanctity of human life, unleashed the full force of increasingly influential social conservatives.

RANDALL TERRY, OPERATION RESCUE: If she dies, there is going to be hell to pay with the pro-life, pro-family, Republican people of various legislative levels, statewide and federal-wide. JOHNS: House Republican Leader Tom DeLay, carrying the flag for these intensely motivated religious conservatives, did more than anyone to turn Terri Schiavo's fate into a Capitol Hill debate.

DELAY: One thing God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo to elevate the visibility of what's going on in America, that Americans would be so barbaric is to pull a feeding tube out of a person that is lucid and starve them to death for two weeks. I mean, in America, that's going to happen if we don't win this fight.

JOHNS: Motivations aside, the push by DeLay and others to have Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted went against public opinion. Polls showed Americans broadly disapproved of Congress and the president intervening. But they were in line with religious conservatives.

AMY WALTER, POLITICAL ANALYST: There may be a very short-term gain or loss for Republicans. I think in the long term, though, the base continues to be motivated and happy.

JOHNS: Still, some Republicans had serious reservations about what is essentially is an anti-conservative position.

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: I feel as sad about this case as anybody in America, but I do believe the Congress move very carefully.

JOHNS: After all the effort, the extraordinary Congressional move to force the court to save Terri Schiavo failed. That much is clear, even as the political consequences remain uncertain.

REP. JAMES MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: And we have no moral right to be doing this.

JOHNS: For Democrats, liberal activists complain they didn't do enough to stop the Republicans. Some even went along, possibly concerned about being held responsible for a woman's death come election season.


JOHNS: In the end, the Congress was powerless in this case. However, the long-term fallout will have to be assessed. One question: What will be the effect of all of this on the president's judicial nominations? Judy.

WOODRUFF: The repercussions will go on and on. All right, Joe, thank you very much.

And we would urge all of you who are watching to stay with CNN throughout the day and this evening for in-depth coverage of the Schiavo story. At 8:00 Eastern, Larry King hosts a three-hour special, a national conversation about life and death.

Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, more on the political fallout from Terri Schiavo's death from Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile. Plus, the courts versus Congress in the Schiavo battle. Did America's system of checks and balances work as the Founding Fathers planned? And the other issue President Bush is dealing with today. We'll discuss that critical report on prewar intelligence in Iraq.


WOODRUFF: The political fight over the Terri Schiavo case has been as intense as the legal battle, and to talk more about the political fallout, I'm joined by former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause. Thanks to you both for being with us.

We heard Tom DeLay say today that the judges who refused to open up this case again, he called "arrogant," "out of control." He said they are going to be called to account. Is that what's going to happen here, Donna?

DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, first of all, I think Tom DeLay is absolutely wrong. On a day that we should grieve with the family on this tragedy, what Mr. DeLay is doing once again is politicizing this issue. What has happened in this whole case is that many on that side of the issue believe that this is now a case to undermine the judiciary. And I think Tom DeLay is absolutely wrong. Many of the judges who heard this case were Republican judges. They were conservative. And what they did, they sided with the law. That's what they did. That's what we want them to do, side with the law.

BAY BUCHANAN, AMERICAN CAUSE: You know, Tom DeLay said it was a sad today. It's more than just a sad day. Today we saw a glimpse of the soul of America, Judy, and it is an ugly sight, unfortunately. It is not a pretty sight at all. We realize now after 30 years, we're killing our unborn children, now it's all right to starve to death our disabled. That's where we are now. We've just added that to the killing of the unborn.

This is extremely serious, and Tom DeLay has an excellent point. The judges in this country have become activists, and we're all saying, well, they have the final word. The judges don't have the final word. And what really is unfortunate is we do have executives that are supposed to act when the judges are off and when they're wrong. They should step forward and act. And unfortunately we have executives in this country who did not do that.

BRAZILE: Well, they tried. I mean, to the extent the President George Bush used his political capital, used the moral pulpit of his office to talk about this case, he did, and so did members of Congress. I think, look, at the end of the day, this was a legal matter as well as a family tragedy. And this matter should never have come to Congress and Capitol Hill. And that's what the majority of Americans believe.

BUCHANAN: Talk is not enough. Talk is not enough. You need action when you're a leader. And these fellows though talk was okay. It was time for federal troops.

BRAZILE: Bay. Bay. It's about the rule of law. We're a nation of laws, not of individuals.

WOODRUFF: Bay, let me read what John Danforth, the former senator from Missouri and recently ambassador to the U.N. -- he said, "High-profile Republican efforts to prolong the life of Ms. Schiavo, including departures from Republican principles," he said, "can rightfully be interpreted as yielding to the pressure of religious blocs."

BUCHANAN: Yeah, well, he's got the facts wrong. We did not prolong her life. We said that you should not starve people to death. This is an able person -- a disabled person, and we're going to starve her to death. That is wrong in America. We cannot take that step. It's one think to not interfere with the process of death, but we do not starve. This is killing the woman.

And where Republicans should be is, we've got to recognize that life is precious, all life is precious, not just some. And so we can't decide ourselves whether their quality is useful or not here on Earth. All life is precious, and it's important, it's imperative that our leaders step forward and make certain that that statement is constantly made.

BRAZILE: But it's also important to honor the wishes of someone who said, you know, quite frankly, to her husband that this is the way she wanted to go. And I think we have to respect the individual in this process and not just go by a certain ideology or religious philosophy.

BUCHANAN: He has no credibility. Michael Schiavo has none. He fought for her life until he collected on it, and when it was no longer useful, then he wanted to get rid of her.

BRAZILE: Bay, he loved his wife. He loved his wife.

BUCHANAN: If he loved her -- okay, then why didn't he let his (sic) parents be by their side. Why didn't he let her have communion.

BRAZILE: He was by her side for two whole weeks, and allowed her to have one communion.

BUCHANAN: The parents -- not by her side. That is not in her interest. One communion? Why not 12? Why not every single day if it would have given comfort to the parents only. This is not a good man that we are dealing with.

BRAZILE: Well, we don't -- why are we the judge of Michael Schiavo? We're not. We're not the judge in any of this. And we're not -- we should stop playing God and politics with the lives of human being in this.

WOODRUFF: We're going to have to leave it there. It's always good to have both of you. Donna, Bay, we appreciate it. Thank you. Very, very difficult subject.

Another report finds major flaws in U.S. intelligence-gathering. Up next, a presidential panel reaches some tough conclusions and recommends sweeping changes in how U.S. spy agencies do business.


WOODRUFF: A presidential commission today outlined major failures in U.S. intelligence procedures, concluding at one point the assessments of Saddam Hussein's weapon program were, quote, "dead wrong." The panel, which presented its final report to President Bush this morning, recommended dozens of organizational changes in how government spy agencies collect and analyze information. Mr. Bush said he agreed that the U.S. Intelligence community needs what he called, quote, fundamental change.


G. BUSH: The commission report delivers a sharp critique of the way intelligence has been collected and analyzed against some of the most difficult intelligence targets, especially Iraq. To win the war on terror, we will correct what needs to be fixed, and build on what the commission calls solid intelligence successes.


WOODRUFF: With me now to talk more about the findings in today's intelligence report is John McLaughlin. He is the former acting director of the CIA. He is now CNN's national security adviser. It's good to have you with us.


WOODRUFF: How could the intelligence community, with its dozens if not hundreds of brilliant, hard-working analysts, have been dead wrong?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it's a complicated story. And of course, with the clarity of hindsight, we now know that that is true. A lot of things came together to create the mistakes that occurred then. Among them, up until 1998, we had very clear vision into Iraq. Once the inspectors left in '98, we were working with information that was less clear, often inferential. It was a time too when our resources were at rock-bottom, and we were trying to reallocate, and we put our priority, frankly, on what we call force protection. You recall that we were flying -- we and the British in the northern and southern no- fly zones...

WOODRUFF: I'm going to interrupt you, John McLaughlin. Forgive me, because there is some news from the Vatican, and that is that CNN has learned from the Associated Press from an Italian news agency -- and this is from the Vatican -- that Pope John Paul II is described as having a high fever caused by a urinary infection. There had been an earlier Italian News Agency report saying that the pope's condition had taken a turn for the worse. For a time, the Vatican was not commenting. Now Vatican officials are confirming -- in fact Vatican Spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, has told the Associated Press that the pope does have a high fever, and that the fever is caused by a urinary tract infection. Now, I believe CNN's Alessio Vinci is with us on the phone. I'm sorry, he is not with us on the phone. We are waiting to speak with him and expect to have a live report. We are expecting more comment from the Vatican while we follow this story.

As we know, the pope had been hospitalized some days ago. He returned to the Vatican within the last couple of weeks. He had had a breathing tube. And then we learned just in the last day or so, that in addition, he has had a feeding tube, a nasogastric tube that he had had inserted through his nose, and he was using that for nutrition. So that was one sign that his holiness had taken a turn for the worse. And now we have this new information that the pope has a very high fever. Again, this is the ANSA news agency quoting a Vatican spokesman.

Alessio Vinci joins us now from Rome, where he has been talking to spokespeople at the Vatican. Alessio, what have you learned?

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Judy. Yes, we have been able to confirm with Vatican officials that the pope's condition has somewhat worsened tonight. Pope John Paul II, according to a Vatican spokesman, has a high fever, which we understand is caused by an infection to his urinary tracts. And according to this Vatican spokesman, Pope John Paul II is currently taking antibiotics. This comes from a Vatican official moments after a news agency here in Rome earlier, a few minutes ago reported that the pope had a worrying drop in blood pressure. Now, the Vatican spokesman could not confirm this latest piece of information, but nevertheless has confirmed to CNN that tonight, the pope's condition has somewhat worsened.

We have been unable to confirm at this time whether the pope will be taken back at the hospital or whether he will be kept at the Vatican at this time. What we do know for now is that the pope has a high fever caused by an infection to his urinary tracts, and that the pope has been given now antibiotics.

Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: And Alessio, so this is the first time we've known about the urinary tract infection. Is that correct?

VINCI: That is correct. This is, I would say, something in the last few months which we have been following the pope's condition closely. We've heard of several problems to his throat, of course. And this is the first time we're hearing about this infection to his urinary tracts. This is something obviously completely new. I am not a medical expert. I am not sure how the two -- the fever and the infection -- relate. But certainly what we can confirm to you at this point is that the condition of the pope seems to have worsened suddenly tonight.

And we're trying to get more information, obviously, from medical sources as well, who earlier today had indicated to us within the last minutes or so that it was extremely likely that the pope's condition has worsened. Obviously, there's a lot of people here who do not like to give any kind of information regarding the pope's health. But certainly with a high degree of certainty, I can tell you right now, including quoting a Vatican official and a Vatican spokesman, that the pope's condition has worsened, and it seems to be connected to his urinary tracts as well as having a high fever.

WOODRUFF: And, again, Alessio, just to pull all this together, we know that the pope left the hospital, returned to the Vatican, and he did have a breathing tube. That was visible. And then we just learned in the last day or so that in addition to that, there had been a feeding tube inserted through the nasal passages. When did that information come out?

VINCI: Well, we heard it confirmed by the Vatican itself that the pope was in need of this nasal tube in order to be fed. Vatican officials however told us that this was not an emergency procedure in order to keep the pope alive, but simply a means to give the pope additional calorie intake as well as a way to speed up his recovery. The pope, of course, now only affected by the problems of his throat and the discomfort for having still this breathing tube inside his lungs, but also from the fact that he's been affected by Parkinson's disease for the good part of the last decade, and his stooped position has crushed his lungs, has given him a hard time to breathe, and therefore the breathing tube was aimed as facilitating somewhat his breathing.

The feeding tube that was inserted through his nose, Vatican officials again, they are telling us that this was a temporary measure. One should not draw parallels between the feeding tube that has kept Terri Schiavo alive for a long time and was eventually removed. This was not a tube that was inserted into the pope through surgery. This was a simple procedure through his nose which would not require additional surgery.

WOODRUFF: We know that it is still a difficult procedure. It is not one that is done normally. Alessio, finally, the Vatican, this word initially came out through a news agency, not through a Vatican statement. At this moment, is the Vatican saying they're going to have more to say tonight on the pope, or what are they saying?

VINCI: Look, we've been able to reach one Vatican official on the phone who gave us the information that I just shared with you. We also understood that the Vatican was about to issue a statement. That statement was then eventually carried by the news -- the Italian news agency ANSA here, and simply said that the pope had a fever.

We did not receive directly from the Vatican statement the information regarding the infection to his urinary tract. That information we got it from a different Vatican official.

So, we are -- as soon as I'm done with you, Judy, I'm going to go downstairs and try to make additional phone calls to establish whether or not more information is expected. Certainly, however, we are going to play (ph) for more, because obviously, the pope's condition has worsened at this time. We know that. He has a fever. He has an infection. He's on antibiotics and, therefore, we expect the Vatican to eventually give us some more information about the condition of the pope -- Judy. WOODRUFF: All right, Alessio. Alessio, we're going to let you go do that reporting. We're going to thank you very much. And of course, we will be calling on you just as soon as you do have more information. We're going to ask John McLaughlin with the CIA -- former CIA acting director, to stay with us for a few minutes.

In the meantime, we want to let you know that we are going to be speaking with Julie Gallagher, who is our Vatican expert. We're also going to be speaking with CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta to help us interpret and understand what we're learning now about the pope's worsening condition.

Meantime, it is just after 4:00, as we do every day at this time, the markets have closed and for the very latest on what's happening on Wall Street, let's turn to Christine Romans in New York.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Judy. Well, stocks on Wall Street finishing slightly lower following another jump in oil prices. With the final trades still being counted, the Dow Jones industrial average down about 37 points. The Nasdaq 0.5 percent lower.

Oil prices spiked more than $2 earlier today, topping $55 a barrel. That as Goldman Sachs released a report saying oil may be in the early stages of what it calls a "super spike," predicting oil could go as high as, get this, $105 a barrel. Goldman says today's market resembles that of the 1970s when soaring energy prices drove the world economy into a recession.

Oil and gas emissions are a major concern for environmentalists and for company shareholders. After increased pressure from stockholders to address the issue of global warming, Ford says it will deliver a report on how environmental issues and policies could affect its business. However, that report will not likely include details of how Ford will change its vehicles to be more efficient.

DaimlerChrysler announced its biggest recall ever, and it happens to be for its luxury line. Nearly 1.5 million Mercedes-Benz models are being recalled worldwide. But Daimler says the recall isn't about safety, it's about quality, "improvements we made to the cars' alternators and other electrical systems." The recall could wind up costing that company hundreds of millions of dollars.

It's an all-out trade war. The European Union and Canada are threatening to slap a 15 percent tariff on many American goods. It's in retaliation for a U.S. anti-dumping law that the World Trade Organization called illegal. The tariffs will hit American products like paper, cigarettes, textiles, machinery and seafood as early as May 1st.

Coming up on CNN at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," a special report on the battle brewing in Tennessee over legislation aimed at curbing illegal immigration into that state.

Plus, Chris Simcox of the Minuteman Project explains why he's recruiting civilians to patrol the Arizona border. And the WMD commission releases its report on the state of our intelligence community. Bobby Inman, retired director of the National Security Agency, joins us to discuss the findings. That and more tonight at 6:00 Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT." INSIDE POLITICS continues in just a moment with the very latest on the pope. Stay with us.


WOODRUFF: We are back with INSIDE POLITICS. But right now we are follow breaking news out of the Vatican. And that is that Pope John Paul II, the Vatican is saying, has a high fever due to a urinary tract infection. The pope is being treated with antibiotics. All this comes on the heels of the pope's hospitalization just a few weeks ago. He was hospitalized for a number of days, came back to the Vatican with a breathing tube just yesterday.

In addition to that, we learned that a feeding tube had been inserted in the pope through his nose, through his nasal passage to get more nutrition into the pope. And now tonight, Rome time, we're learning of a further turn, a negative turn for the pope. And that is high infection, according to the papal spokesman, Joaquin Navarro- Valls, that the pope does have a high fever and it is due to a urinary tract infection.

The pope, we're told, is being treated with antibiotics. And let me just read to you what I'm now seeing on the Associated Press. Joaquin Navarro-Valls told the Associated Press by phone: "An appropriate antibiotic therapy has been started. The medical situation is being strictly controlled by the Vatican medical team that is taking care of him." This after saying that the Holy Father today struck by a "high fever affliction caused by a documented infection of the urinary tract."

So, on top of Parkinson's disease, on top of breathing difficulties, feeding tube, now word that the pope is experiencing a high fever, a urinary tract infection and is being treated with antibiotics. A lot going on for the medical team at the Vatican to monitor. And of course, all of us are monitoring and following this story as closely as we can.

CNN's Alessio Vinci. We just heard from him live in Rome just a few moments ago, just a short time ago. Alessio prepared this report on the sequence of events that has led to the pope's current condition.


VINCI (voice-over): In the early years of his papacy, Pope John Paul II was often called "God's athlete" because of his love for hiking and skiing. But in the end, old age, arthritis, and an only partially successful hip replacement made it difficult for him to move at all.

He was also often referred to as the "great communicator" for his ability to speak to the masses. Eventually the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and a tracheotomy performed after two consecutive breathing spasms hindered his ability to talk.

Yet the pope refuses to be limited by his physical ailments, showing remarkable strength and endurance, like when he left the hospital in early February only days after being treated for a bad case of the flu.

"Thank you for your patience," he said to a huge crowd during his last trip to Poland in August 2002, after reading his homily slowly and with a trembling voice.

Two years later a sick man among the sick reading his homily in the French shrine of Lourdes. The pope again mustered all his strength, and short of breath, he muttered slowly in Polish the words "help me." And later said, "I have to finish" when an aide brought him some water.

The pope clearly knows his deteriorating health is making it difficult for people to understand every word he's saying. But he also knows he has an important message to deliver.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: This is the message, that in a world that worships youth, that we see here an old man, a man who is struggling against the limits of his own body, can still lead and still make a valuable contribution, extraordinarily valuable contribution. I think the pope quite consciously wanted to make that part of his message.

And in addition, I think there's always a theology of suffering here. The pope has always talked about suffering as not meaningless, if it is accepted in the spirit of Christ. That is, just as Christ suffered on the cross in order to redeem humanity.

VINCI: The pope would often joke about his old age, even making at times a rare reference to his death. "Pray for the pope, not only when he's living, but also after he dies," he said in Poland.

Vatican officials never happy to discuss even if the pope had the flu, were no longer able to ignore reporter's questions about his health.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that he has done something which maybe is difficult, but he has done it with extreme naturalness. That is to incorporate in his mission and in his way of preaching those limitations that for some other old people keep them from doing what they should do.

VINCI: But working with an ailing pope presents Vatican officials with logistical challenges. At every event at any moment, each step of the way, aides have to be within inches of him without appearing too intrusive. The pope never appears to like the necessary proximity.

And though there were times he wanted to show that not even an airplane stairway was too big of a challenge for him -- more recently no longer able to stand or move on his own, the pope was being carried around on a wheelchair. So what is it that draws so much attention around John Paul II's health? Other popes, even in recent times, have been ill in the final years of their lives.

ALLEN: The difference is that wasn't happening in the age of CNN. I mean, this is the first pope who has gotten old before our eyes day to day, week to week, month to month on TV. And I don't think that was by design obviously, but Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II, is a smart enough man that he realized that was going to happen inevitably. And so he decided to, in effect, make it part of his act.

VINCI: An act which has become a terrible burden for the ailing pope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many patients with this degree of Parkinson's are telling me that, as we say, grasp (ph) of lead. They are unable to move because they feel pounds and pounds of weight on them. And so these kinds of immobilizations due to this enormous weight that they're unable to move, it's absolutely painful.

VINCI: Alessio Vinci, CNN, Rome.


WOODRUFF: This report in the wake of news from the Vatican that Pope John Paul II is described as having a high fever because of a urinary tract infection, a medical team watching him very closely. The report first came through Italian news agency sources but now the Vatican itself is confirming that his holiness, his health has taken a turn for the worse. There is a high fever connected with a urinary tract infection.

Again, this on the heels of a feeding tube that was inserted within the last 24 hours through -- a nasogastric tube through the pope's nasal passages. This in addition to the breathing tube that the pope had inserted just a few weeks ago in the hospital. With me now on the telephone, John Allen, he is in Rome. He is a CNN Vatican analyst.

John Allen, the Vatican has struggled with how to deal with this pope's illnesses and his deteriorating health. What is the thinking inside the Vatican right now about how they deal with this going forward?

ALLEN: Well, I think the first thing to note is that the last 24 hours have, by Vatican standards, been remarkable in terms of the amount of information we've been given. I mean, the Vatican just yesterday put out a statement acknowledging the use of this nasogastric tube to try to feed the pope to try to improve his caloric intake.

Tonight, in very quick fashion, they've put out a statement acknowledging the urinary tract infection, which, by the way, is a very common ailment that Parkinson's patients suffer from, particularly those who are wheelchair-bound. And so the first thing to note that they have to some extent gotten up to speed in terms of trying to respond to the clamor for information and to some extent cut off some of the wilder speculation that's floated to the press.

Secondly, I think the other thing that is obviously going on is that the medical alert is up. I mean, that is, they are monitoring his condition much more closely on even an hour-to-hour basis. And that's how they're catching these things as quickly as they are.

And obviously, the note of caution we ought to strike here is that none of these things taken in isolation, that is, the weight loss, fever, the infection, none of these things in isolation are life-threatening. The problem at this point -- for the pope, is a kind of multiplier effect where these things begin to build on one another and no longer can you sort of pick them apart in isolation and solve them one by one, but you're dealing with a kind of holistic systems problem. And that obviously is what has them most concerned at this moment.

WOODRUFF: John Allen -- we're talking with John Allen, who is a CNN Vatican analyst. He is talking to us tonight from Rome.

What is the procedure inside the Vatican when the pope's condition is as we've heard that it is? He's receiving antibiotics. We've seen how weak he is, that he's on a feeding tube, a breathing tube. How much leading is he capable of doing?

ALLEN: Well, you know, everyone who has seen the pope in recent days testifies that he continues to be entirely lucid. That is, he is aware of what's going on, able to process information, able to come to judgments. And so we have to presume that when statements, as came out of the Vatican today, indicating that John Paul (AUDIO GAP) or released a document, we have to assume that he is, at the final stage of the work on that decision, said either yes or no. So in the end it's his decision.

But, yet, the obvious reality is that 99.9 percent of the work in preparing those decisions has, of course, been done by his aides. His ability to get the details of anything at this stage is terribly, terribly limited. So, while decisions are still being put in front of him and he's still saying yes or no, that's essentially the extent of his involvement these days. And most of the real work of the Vatican, of course, is being done at lower levels.

WOODRUFF: Of course, we in the United States are very conscious of -- particularly conscious of these life and death issues because of the Terri Schiavo story, the young woman who died today after having her feeding tube withdrawn. What is the policy inside the Vatican? We can assume that it is to keep this pope alive as long as necessary, as long as possible even by the most extraordinary means.

ALLEN: Well, I don't think that's quite how they phrase it. In Catholic moral theology there has long been this between (AUDIO GAP) ordinary and extraordinary means. That is, that one is morally obligated to take ordinary means to preserve life, you're never obligated to use extraordinary means.

As far as the pope's personal medical care goes, so far as we know, he has not left a set of directives indicating what he would want and what he would not. Everyone presumes that those decisions, if he were to become unconscious, would likely be made by his closest friend and collaborator, his personal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.

Exactly what level of care would be decided upon isn't entirely clear. I was interviewing a senior Vatican cardinal this morning, in fact, who was saying that unlike the Schiavo case, where it appeared that with the feeding tube she could have continued to have years more of life, because that would perhaps not be the case with the pope, that perhaps it wouldn't be obligatory to use that kind of tube in his condition.

I mean, I think all that right now is terribly speculative. I think the thing we need to stress is that we're not there yet. By all the indications, while John Paul certainly has multiple problems --

WOODRUFF: John Allen?

ALLEN: -- that are cause for serious concern, he is not --

WOODRUFF: We are going to -- I'm sorry, John Allen, we are going to interrupt, my apologies, because we wanted to hear everything you were saying, but we do need to turn back to the other big story we are following today, and that is the death of Terri Schiavo.

Father (sic) Paul O'Donnell, who is speaking for the Schindler family, is talking with reporters right now in Florida.

BROTHER PAUL O'DONNELL, SCHINDLER SPIRITUAL ADVISER: ... barred from being the room. So when you saw the family going in this morning and they were allowed access is because Terri had already passed away. In just a few minutes, Bobby and Suzanne, Terri's brother and sister, will be making a statement on behalf of the family. There will be no questions afterwards. They will be surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins and members of Terri's family.

I will repeat this again. Any funeral arrangements right now are pending. They will be posted on Terri's Web site,, and will be posted within 24 hours.

Again I will repeat some of this prior to the family's arrival here. And if I could ask Terri supporters, I'm working with the police so that you might be able to stand here, but...

WOODRUFF: We're interrupting this story in Florida. We're watching two very important stories today, the death of Terri Schiavo. We're going to move from that back to the story we're following at the Vatican, and that is deteriorating health of Pope John Paul II. CNN's Alessio Vinci has some new information -- Alessio.

VINCI: Hello, Judy. Well, the latest information we got for medical sources at the Gemelli Hospital -- this is, of course, the hospital where the pope has been admitted several times in the past, including twice in the month of February. Well, medical sources are telling us that at this time there are no provisions, I repeat, no provisions for the pope to be readmitted at the Gemelli Hospital tonight.

This, of course, seems to suggest that the situation with the pope is under control at the Vatican. Of course, the pope there enjoys a great amount of medical care. He has his personal doctor, as well as several doctors who have been working there for him 24 hours a day from the Gemelli Hospital. And of course, there are as well a lot of medical -- there is a lot of medical equipment at the Vatican itself, like a mini clinic, if you want, in order to keep the pope under control.

But at the same time, medical sources are telling us that there are no provisions at this time to bring the pope back to the Gemelli Hospital, at least tonight. Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: But Alessio, as you say, however, there are extensive -- there is extensive medical care available at the Vatican. Help us understand. You have the pope's personal doctor. You also have doctors from the clinic. And do we know the nature of any other equipment or personnel who might be there to care for the pope?

VINCI: Not really, Judy. I mean, this has been, of course, all the basic information that we've been able to put together by talking to several sources at different times throughout these past few weeks. What we do know, however, is that once the pope returned to the Vatican in mid-March, after his tracheotomy, that there were provisions made at the Vatican for him to be able to receive emergency medical care. And we also knew that a team of medical doctors from the Gemelli Hospital was basically on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or at least one doctor on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

So -- while, again, there are no provisions for the pope to return to Gemelli Hospital at this time, at least tonight, according to medical sources here in Rome, at the same time, one should stress that the pope enjoys and has a great amount of medical care available to him inside his apostolic palace that Vatican -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: So, certainly, Alessio, this would indicate that they can handle whatever they think the situation is. We did just hear from John Allen, CNN Vatican analyst, that his understanding is that this urinary tract infection is quite typical of individuals with Parkinson's, especially those individuals who are confined to a wheelchair, who are not able to get around and are not very mobile. And, so, his information is that some of what we're learning tonight is to be expected, given what the pope has been dealing with.

VINCI: That is correct, Judy. I concur completely with what John said. Obviously, some pessimists could say at this time that the pope is just too frail and too in bad shape to even be transported to the hospital. So, I mean, we really don't know much more about what the pope is going through at this time other than what the Vatican officials are telling us on the record. And that is that he has this infection, which we understand, as John mentioned. That it is something that is customary on Parkinson's patients.

But at the same time, you know, his condition has turned for the worse. And I can tell you one thing, I have been quite surprised by the amount of information we have received from the Vatican in the last 24 hours. I mean, yesterday, the admission that the pope was being fed through a tube. Now the admission that the pope has a high fever and that he's on antibiotics. This is, by Vatican standards, an incredible amount of information that we're receiving; which on the one side, perhaps, indicates a certain degree of -- if you want, of confidence on the side of the Vatican that the situation is under control and they want to keep the news media informed about what the pope is going on. They know there is a lot of interest surrounding the pope.

Or at the same time, perhaps, they're giving us some information because they want to hide the worse information. We simply don't know. Though I can tell you that by Vatican standards, we're receiving quite a bit of information. And when it is parsed, everything we've been told so far seems to be correct.

WOODRUFF: And you know that is exactly the comment we were hearing just moments ago from John Allen, our Vatican analyst, he was saying -- he was taking note of the fact that this is such an extraordinary amount of information for the Vatican to be putting out in real-time, so to speak, as these conditions take place. All right, Alessio, thank you very much. I know we're going to be wanting to come back to you. We also want to bring in right now on the telephone CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, if you step back for a moment, you consider His Holiness, we know he has Parkinson's disease. We know he was in the hospital a few weeks ago, did have a tracheotomy, has a breathing tube. Yesterday we learned he also had had a nasogastric feeding tube inserted through the nasal passages. And just now we learned urinary tract infection, high fever, antibiotics. Put it all together for us, please.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a little bit interesting to try and figure out how the sequence of events over the past few weeks. Obviously, he had some difficulty breathing initially and that was the need for the breathing -- the tracheostomy tube.

Subsequent to that, you know, he probably was having some difficulty with his swallowing and maybe not getting enough calories. He was able to swallow some, I think that that's pretty clear, but not enough to take enough nutrition in. And that's why he subsequently had this, what we call a Dobbhoff feeding tube placed, that's a tube from the nose into the stomach.

What most likely happened is actually a little bit reversed sequence of events, meaning that he developed a fever, and then the concern was, well, where is this fever coming from? I can tell you when I heard about the fever first, I think myself and probably most medical people that have been following the pope's story thought this was more likely to be a pneumonia. It is sounding like from the Vatican now that's not the case, it's a urinary tract infection. The way that they figured that out, they probably have done chest X-rays, checked his blood as well as checking his urine. All of those are common sources of infection, especially, again, as we heard in someone who has Parkinson's. And that's just because of the immobility associated with Parkinson's disease.

Now if it is a urinary tract infection, that can be easily treated with oral antibiotics. Then it is pretty treatable in the sense that it can be cleared up rather quickly. If it requires intravenous antibiotics, or if that bacteria that's causing the infections also spreads to his bloodstream, that's going to be a more serious situation, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And clearly they are monitoring. We heard from John Allen, who is our Vatican analyst, that, as he put it, the medical alert is up. He said they are monitoring him -- he said hour to hour, but one assumes it's a constant monitoring that is taking place. Sanjay, while I have you, I want to ask you, I know that the new information today is the urinary tract infection, we've just learned about the high fever, but for those people who are hearing the pope has a feeding tube, Terri Schiavo had a feeding tube but a different kind. Hers was the kind that goes directly into the abdominal cavity. The pope's through his nose. Talk about the difference.

GUPTA: Yes. A couple of really basic important differences. First of all, the tube that we talked about with Terri Schiavo was a tube that was placed surgically. It did go straight through the abdominal wall into the stomach. It was meant to be more of a permanent feeding tube for someone who was not expected to ever regain the ability to take enough calories in by mouth.

With the pope -- and we've talked to some of the experts about the pope, in particular -- this is a nasal feeding tube that is not required an operation to place. In fact, the patient, in this case, the pope, can be awake when this tube is placed. And, more importantly, it's meant to be a temporary tube.

In fact, I heard from some of the officials over there that the tube was actually going it be taken in and out, only necessary at the time of feedings. Why is this being placed again? Just because the pope is probably not getting enough calories. He's getting some just through his daily eating, but probably in part because of his difficulty swallowing and lack of appetite. He needed more calories, especially at this time to recover from his recent operation -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: I think -- I mean, I know from my own personal experience knowing someone close to me who had to have the nasogastric tube, it is something that can be, as I understand it, taken in and out. It's not a particularly pleasant procedure to have done, but, it is something that is used on a more temporary basis. All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been talking with us about -- to give us a little more understanding of the pope's condition.

Just quickly, background, the new information on Pope John Paul II is that he does have a high fever. The Vatican is saying it's because of urinary tract infection. They're monitoring him closely. All this on top of, of course, the breathing tube, the difficulties he's had with Parkinson's, and now a feeding tube.

Now, is it my understanding we're going back to the Schiavo story or are we staying where we are? All right. We are going to step away from following the condition of Pope John Paul II, turn back for the moment to the other major story we're following, and that is the passing of Terri Schiavo.

We have yet to hear from her parents, yet to hear from her siblings today, but we do expect a live statement from her brother and her sister at any moment and we will be carrying that live. But while we wait, let's bring back in our Bob Franken. He joins us live from Pinellas Park, Florida.

Bob, you've been watching the scene there at the hospice.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Judy, the family is taking the walk that has become familiar to them, from their private room across the street to the press area.

This time, however, this is to respond to the death of their daughter and brother and sister Terri Schiavo. We're going to hear comment, statements, from the brother and sister of Terri Schiavo. We are not going to hear from the father, Bob Schindler, because he, as he told me in a private conversation we had a moment ago, he says that he does not think that he can make it through and he does not want to break up.

Obviously, the family right now is terribly, terribly upset about this. This would be the type of thing that any family would be upset about. They're here only because this has been such a public battle and they feel an obligation to report their feelings to the world, feelings we can anticipate, because, as public as this is, as many issues that are being discussed, at its heart, this is a matter of private agony for this family and for Michael Schiavo, the husband, who has been their bitter adversary here and the one who made the decision to disconnect the feeding tube and made the decision that the blood relatives could not be in the room when she died because he wanted to be there and it was too awkward and too hostile.

So, he made a decision that has seriously antagonize the family, some of which they will probably discuss as they get ready to go. We're going to be hearing from Suzanne Vitadamo. She is Terri Schiavo's sister, and Terri Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler, who is going to be speaking, as he so often has. He's the one who is Washington working Congress, so to speak, during that extraordinary session.

It was on Palm Sunday when the members of Congress came back and had that late-night session where they passed the legislation that raised the hopes of the family that something would be done which would cause the feeding tube to be reconnected. What followed was a long series of court arguments in the federal court system. At each stage of the game, the family would be rejected, the same way they were being rejected in the state court system.

State officials who had spent so long trying to represent them like Governor Jeb Bush, finally acknowledged that there was nothing that he would be able to do, that he did not have the constitutional power to supersede the court orders that were coming out. He was under quite a bit of pressure from some of the more active people here to take a chance with a constitutional crisis. That did not happen, all of that, of course, going on within the political realm and the legal realm.

But, as I said, Judy, this is really just the story of an individual family ripped asunder by this dispute.

Let's -- let's hear from them.

SUZANNE VITADAMO, SISTER OF TERRI SCHIAVO: As you are aware, Terri is now with God. And she's been released from all earthy burdens.

After these recent years of neglect at the hand of those who were supposed to protect and care for her, she is finally at peace with God for eternity. We are speaking on behalf of our entire family this evening, as we share some thoughts and messages to the world regarding our sister and the courageous battle that was waged to save her life from starvation and dehydration.

We have a message for the volunteers that have helped our family. Thank you for all that you've done for us. Thank you to the hundreds of doctors who volunteered to help Terri. Thank you to the 50 doctors who provided statements under oath to help Terri. Thank you to the lawyers who stood for Terri's life in the courtrooms of our nation. From running our family's Web site to driving us around, to making meals, to serving in so many ways, thank you to all the volunteers who have been so kind to our family through all of this.

We have a message for the supporters and for people praying worldwide. Please continue to pray that God gives grace to our family as we go through this very difficult time. We know that many of you never had the privilege to personally know our wonderful sister Terri. But we assure you that you can be proud of this remarkable woman who has captured the attention of the world.

Following the example of the lord Jesus, our family abhors any violence or any threats of violence. Threatening words dishonor our family, our faith and our sister Terri. We would ask that all of those who support our family be completely kind in their words and deeds toward others.

We have a message to the media. We really appreciate you taking Terri's case to the nation. Please afford our family privacy to grieve at this time. The patience and graciousness of the on-site media here at hospice has been deeply appreciated by our family.

We have a message to the many government officials who tried to save Terri. Thank you for all that you've done. Our family will forever be grateful to all of the outstanding public servants who have tried to save Terri.

We have a message to all the religious leaders who tried to help Terri. Thank you to all people of faith who demonstrated love for Terri and strength of conviction to defend the sacredness of all human life as a precious gift from God.

Our family is highly honored that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, would speak out so boldly on behalf of our sister Terri.

WOODRUFF: We've been listening to Suzanne Vitadamo, who is the sister of Terri Schiavo, who passed away this morning about 9:00 Eastern time.

We leave that story for just a moment to turn to another urgent story we are following in Rome at the Vatican. Pope John Paul II, his health has taken a turn for the worse. These are live pictures of the apartment of His Holiness at -- it's just a little after 11:30 at night in Rome.

And we also want to hear from our correspond Alessio Vinci, who has some new information -- Alessio.


A Vatican official at this time, at this hour, is telling CNN that, indeed, the situation with the pope is -- quote -- "serious" and that aides have given the pope his last rites. Now, of course, this is a blessing. It doesn't necessarily mean that the pope is dying. This is not the first time the last rites were given to the pope.

You may remember, back in 1981, when the pope was shot in Saint Peter's Square, when he was laying down in the car on his way back into the Vatican and eventually to the Gemelli Hospital, Archbishop Dziwisz, there giving him, again, last rites. But we do understand from a Vatican official at this time that the situation is, indeed, serious, so much, in fact, that aides have given Pope John Paul II his last rites -- Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: Alessio, it's our understanding that this is also known as the Sacrament of the Sick or the anointing of the sick, that it is given when someone is in a serious condition, as you described. It does not necessarily mean that the individual is dying.

VINCI: That is correct. We must make this extremely clear to our viewers.

The fact that the pope was given his last rites is a clear indication, a clear indication that his condition is really serious, is bad. It does not mean that the pope is dying. It does not mean that the pope is dying. It does not mean that the pope is within moments of dying. It simply means the situation is serious and that his aides, the people right now close to him, have given him this blessing, if you want, because it's traditional, if you want, it's a tradition, if you want.

But it does not mean, by all means, that these are the final hours of the pope, although, obviously, his situation at this time is extremely serious, now even confirmed by many different Vatican sources at this time -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Alessio, just to recap -- the news from the Vatican tonight that the pope does have a urinary tract infection, a high fever. Connected with that, he's being treated with antibiotics. But the fact that this comes on top of a feeding tube that was inserted over the last 24 hours, a nasogastric feeding tube, in addition to the breathing tube.

The fact that His Holiness has Parkinson's disease, this is a great deal for a man of his age to be dealing with.

Alessio, do we know who administered the Sacrament of the Sick, as it is known, as well as being called the last rites?

VINCI: No, I don't, Judy.

If I can speculate here for just a second. Last time around when the pope was shot, it was his personal secretary, Archbishop Dziwisz, who gave it to him in the pope's car as he was driven back to the Vatican. I do not know whether, this time around, it was his secretary, although we could perhaps assume and speculate that, him being one of the closest persons that the pope has at this time inside the Vatican, that it might be him who has given him that sacrament.


WOODRUFF: Alessio, and, again, to help us understand, we're looking at a live picture of the Vatican. It is, as we say, a little after 11:30 at night. It appears to be darkened. We don't see lights in those windows, although maybe one light there in the corner.

Is this -- I don't know if you can see the picture we're seeing, Alessio. Can you describe where the pope's apartment is in the building we see?

VINCI: Right.

Unfortunately, I'm not able to see this picture at this time, Judy. We're setting up to be able for me to be able to get that video up here from this position. The pope's Vatican apartment, if you want, is on the top floor. I think it's the third window from the right, if I remember correctly. But -- so, I cannot see the video from here, so I cannot describe it.

Certainly, the fact that the papal apartment's lights are completely darkened would suggest that perhaps the pope has been moved into a room or into a location where there is more adequate medical care. But I can't judge right now whether, indeed, the lights are on or off from his papal apartment. I just simply don't have that video, that picture in front of me.

WOODRUFF: Well, we're purely -- obviously, we're purely speculating here because we don't have that level of detail. It could also mean that the pope is sleeping, that they have given him the antibiotics, they've done what they could. But we don't know.

Alessio, at this point, how is the Vatican getting information out?

VINCI: Well, we've heard an official statement by his spokesman, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who has give on the statement in printed form.

But, basically, at this time, we're getting information from various Vatican sources, who are, at times, closer to the Vatican and the Apostolic Palace, at times, a bit further away. So, there are various Vatican officials with whom we're being able to speak at this time.

I can tell you that this news of the pope's condition worsening has been now widely reported throughout Italy for sure, if not around the world, and that most Vatican officials, at least at the highest level, have been already notified that the pope's condition is worsening. And, so far, all the officials with whom I was able to speak were all aware of the fact that the pope's condition was worsening. And some of them had more information than others.

But we are getting primarily information from these Vatican officials. And we have not heard anything more officially from the Vatican press office itself, other than those three or four informations that we -- I had given you earlier. And that is, again, that the pope has a high fever caused by an infection to his your urinary tract, that the pope has been now, at this point, treated with antibiotics.

And that is really very -- all that the Vatican is telling us officially, as far as the press office is concerned -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Alessio, I don't know how far you are physically from the Vatican. But would it be the case in a situation like this where people would gather at the Vatican as close as they could? Would people be out and about at this hour?

VINCI: No. I think it's too early.

I think that, once and if the death of the pope is confirmed and that, eventually, an official announcement is made, that is when we would start seeing people coming to Saint Peter's Square to obviously pay their last respects. And, I think it's too early to say. Of course, it is also late in the evening at this time. And, you know, I think it's too early for people.

Obviously, a lot of people will be watching television or listening to their radio trying to get an update about the pope's condition, but I don't think we're going to be seeing a vast amount of people arriving in Saint Peter's Square, other than the media, perhaps, until the pope passes away, which is not necessarily happening tonight, of course.

WOODRUFF: Of course not. And it's pure speculation on our part. All we're simply able to report is that the pope does have what the Vatican is describing as a high fever because of a urinary tract infection. They do say that he is being treat with antibiotics.

Alessio, we began our conversation just a moment about the fact that someone close to the pope tonight has given him what is popularly known as the last rites. In the Roman Catholic Church, more specifically, this is known as the Sacrament of the Sick or the anointing of sick.

But, as you were saying, Alessio, this is not the first time this pope has been given the so-called last rites. And it may not mean that he is dying.


As a matter of fact, the last time the pope was given the last rights, or this Sacrament of the Sick, was moments he was shot in Saint Peter's Square by a would-be assassin. As the pope collapsed in the back of his car in the hands of his aide and personal secretary and personal friend, I should say, of over 40 years, Archbishop Stanislaus Dziwisz, as the car was driving back towards the Vatican.

We understand, at that time, back in 1981, the archbishop gave Pope John Paul II that sacrament, that blessing, if you want. So, again, it is simply a -- for us, an indicator of how serious this situation is at this time. Again, we are only being told at this time that the pope has a high fever and that he has this infection to his urinary tract and that he has been administered some antibiotics.

And we're told by Vatican official, the same source who has been telling us that the sacrament has been given to him, that his situation is, indeed, serious. Now, for a Vatican official of that level to tell us that a situation is serious, it is certainly more serious than he was already throughout these past two months.

You may remember, of course, the pope has been hospitalized twice already at the Gemelli Polyclinic in February. So, for Vatican officials to tell us that a situation is serious, we can definitely tell you that, you know, there is a high degree of concern at this time of the Vatican, so much, in fact, that, again, this Sacrament of the Sick has been performed on the pope.

But, again, this does not mean -- and I want to be very clear on this -- this does not mean that the pope is dying. It just means the situation is really serious.

WOODRUFF: That's right. And that's really all we can do at this point, Alessio.

Thank you very much for trying to clarify that. It is hard to understand, because when one hears the term last rites, it sounds like it means at the end. But, to be clear, as Alessio has been saying, these are rites that are pronounced, a blessing that is given when someone is sick and in the condition that the pope is in.

Alessio, we're going to let you do a little more reporting.

With us now on the telephone from Catholic University here in Washington, D.C., Monsignor Kevin Irwin.

Monsignor, if I could just ask you, the pope has been sick for some weeks now. What would be the immediate reason for administering the Sacrament of the Sick or, as it's called, the last rites?

MSGR. KEVIN IRWIN, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: Well, I very much appreciate Alessio's commentary, which was very clear, that last rites is not exactly the term we use any more. It's Sacrament of the Sick. So, anyone who is a terminally ill cancer victim, elderly, anyone can receive that in the Catholic Church today.

However, if one understands that the sacrament is given again in a close proximity of time, that normally indicates that there has been a decline in the person's health. Again, I don't want to be alarmist. I don't want to say that this is exactly the very end, but repeating a sacrament like this in some proximity of time would indicate a diminishment in health.

WOODRUFF: Now, it's our understanding -- or do you know if this Sacrament of the Sick has been administered recently? We know Alessio has reporting that it was administered back in the early 1980s, when the pope was shot, but that was more than 20 years ago.

IRWIN: Well, that's correct.

But, on the other hand, this holy father has been through a great deal of illness and I would have hoped that he would have received this sacrament in his recent hospitalization, in the sense that he underwent surgery and he has been seriously ill, again, not to the point of death. But the sacrament is not only for the ones at the point of death. It's people undergoing surgery, people who terminally ill. So, I would have hoped that would have happened.

My sense is, however, that receiving this now does indicate a certain decline in his condition.

WOODRUFF: Would it -- are you surprised that we wouldn't have been told if this had been administered while he were in the hospital recently?

IRWIN: I am not really surprised. I think the Vatican has tried to put forward the indication that the pope is still functioning, that he is head of the church and does not want to raise alarms in light of the -- in light of this, of the Catholic faithful and really for the faith -- for the people throughout the world. So, I think they're trying to be very careful about how they have monitored his medical alerts.

WOODRUFF: We're speaking with Monsignor Kevin Irwin, Catholic University here in Washington.

Monsignor, we're going to ask you to stay on the phone.

Also joining us from Rome is Delia Gallagher. She a CNN Vatican analyst. Delia, you've been hearing these reports. I don't know if you've been able to speak to anyone either in the Vatican or close to the Vatican, but what is your understanding of where things stand right now?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, it's as you have been reporting, that the pope has received extreme unction, which is the technical term for last rites. It is a sacrament which is given in situations of grave illness, but it also can be given in situations of less grave illness, as it were.

So, it is one of the important sacraments of the church. The pope was given the same blessing, sacrament, extreme unction, when he was shot in Saint Peter's Square. And we understand that that has been administered to him tonight.

WOODRUFF: Delia, what further is your understanding about the Vatican having a plan in place to deal with the pope's health? Or is this pretty much happening on an ad hoc basis?

GALLAGHER: Well, it is absolutely on an ad hoc basis, because, one, they have to see how his health developments. So, they're not able to give us any advance information, obviously.

The second point is, of course, they're concerned to give the right information. They're concerned for his privacy. And, furthermore, they haven't really had a situation like this in the last 26 years. This pope has had a number of ailments and he's been able to overcome all of them. So, they're clearly very careful about what sort of information they want to give out.

But a lot of it, I think, has to do with the nature of his illness, his Parkinson's, which is progressive, which has stops and starts. That, I think, accounts, for most of the difficulty that one has in ascertaining exactly where the pope is health wise at any given moment. And the Vatican has that difficulty as much as the journalists covering the Vatican do.

WOODRUFF: Let me bring back in Delia and keep you on the phone.

Let me bring back in Father Irwin at Catholic University.

Is the Roman Catholic Church prepared for this pope to pass away?

IRWIN: Well, on the one hand, yes, we are. In God's providence, his illness has given us time to prepare ourselves.

On the other hand, this is going it be a very, very significant papacy to follow. This man made the papacy bigger than life and he is a man who has been an international traveler involved in many relations with other faiths, Judaism, Eastern Europe. This is a very, very large, large gap that's going to have to be filled after this man dies, whenever that happens.

WOODRUFF: Given that, Delia Gallagher, CNN analyst, is the church making preparations of some sort? GALLAGHER: Well, there are no obvious public preparations for the papacy after this one.

However, I think it's fair to say that the cardinals are considering it, especially if you consider that now there's probably no more time to do another consistory, which is when they make new cardinals. And, therefore, the next pope will come from one of the men who is currently a cardinal.

So, there's no doubt that some of the cardinals privately have been discussing it. And one even came out publicly to an Argentinian paper last week. And he is the Polish cardinal, Cardinal Glemp. And he said he thought that the church might go back to an Italian pope. So, that was quite a heavy indiscretion, considering that the cardinals generally publicly will not speak about this while this pope is still alive.

WOODRUFF: Father Irwin, do you have the same take, that this is viewed as an anomaly, for someone to speak out that way?

IRWIN: I think that is correct. But I would have to say that, among the speculation I hear, I would be far better positioned after the election of the pope to help people understand what happens, because going forward, I think all bets are off and we do not know.

WOODRUFF: We're going to bring in, at the same time we speak with father Kevin Irwin at Catholic university, and we're also speaking with Delia Gallagher. She is a CNN Vatican analyst.

I want to also bring in a medical expert. He is Dr. Fray Marshall. He is chairman of the Department of Urology at Emory University in Atlanta,

Dr. Marshall, all we know at this moment is that the pope is described by the Vatican as being diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. They say he has a high fever and he is being treated with antibiotics. What are you able to observe from a distance about his condition?

DR. FRAY MARSHALL, UROLOGIST, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Well, I think, without a lot of information, it's hard to give a very precise analysis.

On the other hand, it's common in older males that may have some difficulty with the urinary tract and emptying, for example, possibly related to, one, his prostate problems and, two, his Parkinsonism, and, three, his debilitation, particularly probably related to his recent medical problems. And then you put somebody like that to bed, then you may start seeing problems in other organ systems, like the urinary tract and then this may be susceptible to infection.

And in somebody who's already debilitated, it can be very, very serious.

WOODRUFF: So, then, what's the prognosis? The Vatican saying he is being treated with antibiotics. That should clear it up? MARSHALL: Well, it depends on where it is.

You can have infections that originate in the kidney, bladder or other various parts of the urinary tract. You usually want to try to make sure that the urine drains well. And there are a variety of ways of trying to ensure that, in addition to covering the patient with antibiotics. So, I'm sure they are doing everything in their power to try to be sure that all the appropriate measures are being undertaken.

WOODRUFF: Is there a period of time, Doctor -- we're speaking with Dr. Fray Marshall at Emory University. He's the chairman of the Urology Department at Emory University hospital.

Doctor, is there a period of time after which one should know whether this infection is being, is reacting in a normal way to these antibiotics?

MARSHALL: Well, obviously, there are clear signs of improvement. Their temperature is better. Their vital signs improve, you know, all those kind of things. So that would be -- those would be the kind of measures or things that you would follow and hope would see improvement related to the therapy that's initiated.

WOODRUFF: All right. We are speaking with Dr. Fray Marshall at Emory University. He is chairman of the Urology Department.

I want to bring back in Monsignor Kevin Irwin at Catholic University here in Washington.

Father Irwin, listening to this, the church waits and hopes for the best.

IRWIN: Well, that's correct.

And, again, we always say, thy will be done. We say that every time we're at church. And God's will be done in God's good time. But, again, I think his illness has enabled us to prepare and to say this is not going to be a sudden thing, but it's going to be a very significant change in the church's life.

WOODRUFF: And we are talking about a transition of some time in the making.

IRWIN: Well, yes, but, I mean, the rules are that, upon the pope's demise, the cardinals gather and within several days after that, they go into a conclave to elect. So, we're not talking more than a month at all about this. I mean, certainly, it's even less time than a month upon the death of a pope.

WOODRUFF: All right, Monsignor Irwin.

And quickly back to you, Dr. Fray Marshall in Atlanta.

Hearing that the pope has a urinary tract infection, he is being treated with antibiotics, the fact that he is not being brought back to the hospital, to the Gemelli Polyclinic tonight, does that tell you anything or do you assume he could be getting the same care at the Vatican?

MARSHALL: Well, in this country, there is a tendency, if someone is viewed as very sick, to probably want to have them in a hospital, but I don't know the desires of the pope or other individuals.

And I'm sure he can have excellent or be provided excellent care at the Vatican. That might not be the way in this country he might be handled if he was viewed in a very sick way, but, you know, not knowing all the particulars, it would be impossible for me to make judgment on how he's being managed medically.

WOODRUFF: All right, we've been speaking with Dr. Fray Marshall. He is chairman of the Department of Urology.

We want to thank you, Dr. Marshall.

We've also been speaking with Monsignor Kevin Irwin at Catholic University here in Washington.

Thanks to you.

And also our thanks to Delia Gallagher, who is CNN's Vatican analyst.

Again, we've been watching and monitoring the breaking news. The health of Pope John Paul II has taken a turn for the worse just in the last hour or so. We've learned that the pope is diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. It has led to what the Vatican is calling a high fever. He's being treated with antibiotics. But they're also saying that his condition is serious. And they are watching it closely.

And my colleague Wolf Blitzer joining me.

Wolf, I'm going to turn it over to you, as we remind our audience that the pope has been administered what is called the Sacrament of the Sick, also known as the last rites in the Catholic Church, so a very serious moment for the church, for the Roman Catholic Church -- Wolf, over to you.


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