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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Pope John Paul II Has Died
Aired April 2, 2005 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: We've seen tens of thousands of people gathering in the square to pay their last respects. Everybody, of course, eager to find out more about the health of the Pope. I don't think that anybody in the square was expecting for him to get any better throughout this day, but obviously with the news in the last and final hours of the Pope's health worsening, the news tonight at 9:37, that Pope John Paul II has passed away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Let us repeat this in the language of our land. I cry to you -- we cry to you, o Lord, from the depths. Listen to my voice. Let your ear hark the voice of my prayer. Forgive my sins, o Lord. It is only next to you that these sins can be forgiven. I hope, o Lord, my soul hopes to be the sent necessarily of dawn. And for the Lord is the fountainhead of all mercy, and forgive Israel of all its guilt, all its fault. Let perpetual light shine on him and let him repose in peace.
Virgin Mary, the source of all mercy, and let us remind ourselves of all the sons of Eve. And the tears of suffering and in this context, we turn our eyes to you, the fountain of all mercy, and to you, the Virgin Mary, and to the fruit of your womb. Pray for us, holy mother of God. Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Forever and forever amen, and the blessing of the Almighty, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, may it descend on all of us and accompany us always. Christ has resurrected, Christ has risen, alleluia, alleluia.
Tomorrow morning at 10:30, in this very square, Cardinal Sodano will celebrate holy mass on the Sunday of Divine Mercy for our beloved Holy Father John Paul II.
MANN: For the dead in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II is dead at age 84. The throne of St. Peter is empty. Our Rome bureau chief Alessio Vinci now.
ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello Jonathan. I think that there are very few words to express the feeling in St. Peter's Square tonight. We're seeing those very powerful pictures of people in tears. They came here to pay their last respects tonight, many of them pilgrims, many tourists who perhaps who came here hoping to hear some news about the pope and they've been hit by this news tonight that John Paul II has indeed passed away.
Cardinal Sodano, the secretary of state of the Vatican, has told pilgrims that at 10:30 tomorrow morning, there will be a mass in St. Peter's Square, a holy mass, to commemorate Pope John Paul II. I'd like to bring in my colleague, Delia Gallagher. Delia, this is of course a sad day for everybody, not just here in Rome, but indeed around the world.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I was thinking in some ways it was so expected, yet when it arrives, of course, it's still quite a shock. But I suppose one has to think that the pope is finally at rest. We've been following him for so many years in his suffering, and certainly in these last few months, and I think that must be the thought, aside from the initial sort of grief and shock for our loss, must be that he is finally at peace.
VINCI: Delia, I would like to pause for a second here. We are seeing some incredible pictures from St. Peter's Square of people crying. Let's pause and listen to how the square is reacting to this news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, (Translator): I was imprisoned and you came to me in prison. The applause -- this applause is like the prayer that accompanies the pope. The angels welcome you and will take you before the throne of God. To pray for the church.
The pope concluded his last day on Earth as 50,000 people present on the square -- I think it's something like 50,000 -- were praying for him. And obviously this is a prayer, which will have to continue. And we are also very grateful for the love and affection, which John Paul gave us ever since 1985. He wanted us to be by his side on his trips, on trips, which took him to every corner of the world, and trips which took him into houses, into families which spread the majesty of the words of the pope. And we invite everybody to pray now, and we will continue that prayer throughout the night and tomorrow and in subsequent days.
VINCI: Let us listen now to the singing of groups on the square. Hymns, addressed to the Holy Father. Easter alleluia chants.
MANN: At 9:37 Rome time, a little more than 30 minutes ago, the Vatican tells us, John Paul II died. He was 84 years old. We had watched him as a robust, vigorous man take the Throne of St. Peter, and we watched in his decline, and then very dramatically many people prayed for him as he went into seclusion in his final days. CNN's Aaron Brown is in Rome and joins us now. Aaron.
AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jon, just to underscore I think what Delia said a moment ago, it's been so clear certainly since the last 48 hours that the pope's death was imminent, and for the last couple months that his health was dramatically failing, yet to stand here in Rome as we are tonight to hear those bells toll and to look at the faces of the people gathered in the square is for make real something that we had all thought about, Catholics and non-Catholics, the life of this extraordinary man who fought the Nazis as a young man who helped bring down the fall of communism as a pope, who redefined or defined again in a traditionalist way his religion, but whose import extends so far beyond his religion, that he has now died at 9:37 Rome time. The faces tell everything in a moment like this. There are young and old.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): And from now on, we will alternate pictures of the square of people lamenting the death of the Holy Father with images which we have from the chapel where the Vatican is still exhibited, which has accompanied the pope's trajectory over these days, and perhaps this will help us to meditate and reflect.
MANN: Pope John Paul II outlived his immediate family. He lost his brother when he was very young. He lost his mother and his father as well, and so his death a little bit more than 30 minutes ago came without any family around him. His closest colleagues were clerics like himself, and he was surrounded, of course, by the thousands of people who you see now, his family in the truest sense of the word, the faithful of the Roman Catholic Church, so many who wanted to be as close as they could physically be to him on this evening. We are watching them pray for him and mourn for him now. Aaron Brown is among them. Aaron.
BROWN: Ingrid, do that for me again, please.
MANN: These are people from so many different backgrounds, a display of the unity and diversity of the church, of the enormous power that this pope had, a personal magnetism that matched his exalted and sacred office. Pope John Paul II served as Pope longer than almost any other man had, the third longest papacy, a papacy so long that many Catholics around the world can remember no other pope. And it has been a truly extraordinary papacy, the pope, though, caught the flu at the end of January and spent weeks as we watched his progress at the Gemelli Hospital near the Vatican.
It's fair to say especially now that he never really recovered. He had trouble breathing and at the end of February doctors fitted him with a tracheotomy tube in his throat. He grew less able to swallow, and so at the end of March he was fitted with a feeding tube in his nose. Over the last few days he fell victim to a urinary infection and a high fever. He suffered septic shock and heart problems. By Friday night, the pope's condition worsened further. We learned he was suffering from kidney failure and shortness of breath, a high fever we learned a short time ago, and then within the last hour, news that Pope John Paul II had died. CNN's Aaron Brown is in Rome, and I think we can hear from him now. Aaron.
BROWN: Jon, the official statement issued by the Vatican is simple and direct. It reads -- the Holy Father has passed away this evening at 9:37 p.m. in his private apartment. All procedures written in what essentially is a Catholic law, Catholic constitution, promulgated by John Paul II on the 22 of February 1996, that is to say he died in a way he had directed, in accordance with his wishes and directions. This from the Vatican spokesman a short time ago. Jon.
MANN: What is so extraordinary is things in a sense have come full circle. The Pope spent his life traveling, as no other Pope, visiting 130 countries, and now people have traveled around the world to be close to him. We're seeing some of their faces and we're seeing now something we may want to listen into.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, (Translator): By listening to an excerpt from a speech by Jesus Christ exalting his disciples to believe in the resurrection. Let your hearts not be disturbed. Believe in God, and believe also in me. In the house of my father, there are many, many chambers, many rooms. And a place will be prepared for us, and this place will be prepared and you will return unto me so that where I am, you too will be. And where goith I, you will know the path. Thomas said to him, lord, we do not know where you go. How can we know the path? And Jesus replied to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, (Translator): First mystery of the glory. Let us contemplate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. From the gospel according to St. Luke. The first day after the Sabbath, early the apostles gathered at the tomb, bringing aromas, which they had found. And they found the stone taken away from the entrance to the cave, but inside they did not find the body of Christ. While they were still perplexed, two men appeared to them, and they were in vestments, and they bent their heads to the ground and said to them, "Why are you looking among the dead for he who is living? He is not here. He has been resuscitated."
From the catechism of the Catholic Church, if Christ is not resuscitated, is not resurrected, then our preaching is in vain and our faith is in vain. The resurrection is, above all, the confirmation of everything that Christ himself dead and taught. Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, (Translator): You are blessed amongst all women and blessed be the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ.
MANN: As we watch the prayers at St. Peter's Square, we're not privy to what's going on behind the scenes, but the rituals of the Catholic Church are ancient and we are told they have been followed in this case. We would assume that the Pope's camerlengo, his chamberlain has officially verified the pope has died. He would under tradition be locking and sealing the papal apartments, and he would break the pope's ring, to seal and end his reign. Outside St. Peter's Square the prayers continue. CNN's Aaron Brown is there.
BROWN: The statements of world leaders now to note the passing of John Paul, will begin streaming in. President Bush is expected to make a statement from the White House at about 4:00 Eastern Time so about 35 minutes from now. As Jon Mann just said, in this ancient city, we now begin an ancient ritual choreograph from the moment the pope dies to the selection of a new pope. John Allen who works with us in covering the affairs of the Vatican is with us as well.
The next formal moment John is what?
JOHN ALLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tomorrow morning we expect there will be a ritual; rights celebrated in St. Peters Square around 10:300 in the morning led by Cardinal Angelo Sodano. Of course it is the Pope's secretary of state. It will be the first of what will be a series of nine rituals marking, of course the passage of the Pope, the so-called novemdiales, nine days of mourning. In the mean time preparations will be made this evening for the lying in state which will occur in St. Peter's Basilica, and if things hold to form it will lie in state for two or three days to allow the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of mourners who will want to come to the Basilica to pay their respects to the pope.
BROWN: Then at that point is then the funeral?
ALLEN: Well actually, each of these nine rites are in a since you can think of them as funeral rituals, but there will be a high solemn funeral mass at some point during those nine days. Exactly which day it will take place on is a decision that will be made by the camerlengo, with the chamberlain, that is the official who will govern the church in this interim period. Cardinal Martinez, the Spanish cardinal named to that role personally by John Paul II.
BROWN: You have reported on this pope for a long, long time. Like all of the rest of us, we all have understood in the last several days that this moment was imminent. Still, when those bells range, what went through your mind? What did you think?
ALLEN: Well, you know, Aaron, there's a sense in which I've been preparing for this moment for years. I thought, of course, for hours upon hours about the logistics, about the organization, about the coverage. What I really wasn't ready for was my emotional reaction to the news of the pope's passing. As you say, this is not just a historical figure, this is not just the supreme governor, if you'd like, of one of the largest, most complex religious organizations in the world, but because of the man, the personal, the media, with those of us who follow him on a daily basis, feel a personal bond.
In light of that, I guess the first thing that went through me was an emotion of just profound sadness, a profound void that will be left not just on the world stage, not just in the global affairs of the Catholic Church, but in my whole life. Whether you agree with the particulars of all his policies or not, this is a man who could not help but leave an impression on you.
BROWN: I recall the moment in Fairbanks, Alaska, now a long time ago, when the pope had come to meet with then President Reagan. It was the first time I had seen the pope, or a pope in fact, and I was struck by two things. There was this young nun who had come down from the outback of Alaska to see her pope, and tears streaming down her eyes as she had this briefest of glimpse of him as he rode by. And the other was in Havana many years later...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Dear brothers and sisters at 21:37, our beloved Holy Father, John Paul II, has returned to his home. Let us pray for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that was it. The official announcement about half an hour ago that Pope John Paul II had in fact died. His death coming just under an hour ago. You heard the official, there, saying that he has returned home. Pope John Paul II had lain on his deathbed for at least the last 48 hours. He had been ill for considerably longer. And right now, as news of his death is spreading around Rome and presumably around the world, people are flocking in ever greater numbers to St. Peter's Square, behind me. The lights in his private apartment had been on until the announcement of his death and according to tradition, we will wait to see, now, how the events play out, but according to tradition, that apartment should be vacated and sealed. The pope's ring should be broken and the seal broken, and then this formal period of mourning gets under way.
The Vatican Square has been crowded all day, as it was all night, yesterday, as word of his grave illness and his clinging to the last moments of life spread and as people of all walks of life, of all ages, of all nationalities came here to pray for him. They came, they said, with a sense of profound sadness, with a sense of support, with a sense of love, and an attempt to give him comfort as he planned to meet his maker.
Whatever views people held on the pope, most people that we talked to and most people around the world, no matter their faith, recognized this was indeed a great man. That this was a man of immense personal charisma, immense moral stature, and a man who had really created a unique place for the papacy in our world.
For 26 years, one of the longest reigns ever, he sat on the throne of St. Peter, and he brought his vision of Catholicism to the world. More than any other pope before him, he embraced all the faiths, he apologized to all the faiths for all the injustices that Christians and Catholics had done. He apologized to the Jews for not doing enough to stop the holocaust. He apologized to Muslims when he was in the holy land, for the crusades, and as I say, he embraced those faiths. Was the first pope to enter a synagogue; the first pope to enter a mosque, and the first to be traveled so widely around the world, bringing his unique brand of inter-faith conciliation to all his flock and to people all over the world.
We're joined, of course, as well by Aaron Brown, CNN anchor of "NEWSNIGHT," who has also been following this and joins us now from our other location, here in Rome -- Aaron.
BROWN: Christiane, thank you, again.
President Bush is expected to make a statement at about 4:00 Eastern time from the White House. The president had an interesting relationship with the pope. He saw him as recently as last summer. They disagreed about the war in Iraq, but they agreed on the president's position on social issues, particularly abortion, and that meeting in Rome reflected both that difference and, as well as, those areas of agreement. So, we wait for the president to make his statement, and that will be coming up at 4:00 Eastern time.
Again, as we've been saying, we now begin what is a very ritualized process that leads to the pope's burial. He lies in state for a number of days, two or three. Tens of thousands of people, perhaps, likely more, will come by to see that. There'll be a high funeral, a series of events, a series of funerals, nine in all, before he's laid to rest, and then shortly thereafter, the days thereafter, a conclave will be called to begin the process of selecting a new pope. And in the meantime, there'll be a tremendous amount of thought given to the extraordinary change in the extraordinary period of this papacy.
John Allen, is there -- we tend, I think, we focus a lot on his role in when he went to Poland, and how that contributed to chipping away the bricks upon which communism were built. Is that the non- theological legacy?
ALLEN: Oh, I think it's an important, if not the most important, component of his non-theological legacy. But, you know, this pope was an extraordinarily adept political actor and quite apart from his spiritual activities. I mean, if you ask a lot of people in the Muslim world, for example, what was the pope's most important political contribution. They probably wouldn't come up with all the communism, they probably would says his strong moral opposition to the Iraq war, and the distinction he helped them to make against the Bush policy in Iraq and the West -- and Western Christian religion.
You know, If you go to Chile and Argentina, they would probably tell you his most important contribution was the treaty he negotiated that averted a war between those two countries, in 1979. That treaty, by the way, was actually signed in the Vatican to mark the contribution of John Paul II and the Vatican diplomatic team.
BROWN: Was there anything in his history and background, a quarter of a century ago, that said he would be this sort of pope?
ALLEN: Well, I think, that's one of those historical questions, it's almost impossible to answer, but the truth is, after the fact, in other words, looking at his records and trying to find signs in his background that pointed in that direction, I think his love for acting, his capacity to stand on the stage, his sense of the historical moment, his capacity to deliver the just-right line at the just-right moment. That's why we call him the "Grand Communicator," obviously.
I think his voracious intellect, the fact that he consumes books the way some people consume Twinkies, you know, I mean, he was a -- and he had a truly Catholic with a small "c" interest, that means, universal interests. He read philosophy; he read history, had a wonderful sense of the way history shapes the current moment; a profound student of culture; his record in Poland as a pastor the spine he showed in standing up to the Soviet taskmasters, back in that era. That famous episode at the church in Nova Huta, where the Soviets had built a town in Poland designed to be without God, deliberately with no church, and he celebrated an open-air mass every year in the freezing cold, if necessary, until a church was erected on that spot, because his point was you cannot understand this culture without God.
BROWN: Let's go back to the literal beginning. I don't want that he was -- he became pope in -- it was -- I want to right delicate term. He assumed the papacy after the very short papacy of John Paul I, what, 33 days? ALLEN: Thirty-three days, that's right.
BROWN: In -- was he known well, known much by, other than the core cardinal group?
ALLEN: Well, you know, Aaron, what made his election such a shock, of course, was that he was the first non-Italian in 450 years, to sit upon the thorn at Peter, but within the cardinals, of course, he was very well-known. The media didn't look much at him, because the working assumption would be that the next pope, like all the ones before, for 450 years, would be an Italian. But, in that group he was well-known, and in fact, in May of 1978, the secretary of state, at the time, Cardinal Jean Villot, had a luncheon at his apartment, he invited a few cardinals to celebrate with he, his birthday, of course it's on May 16. And at one point during that luncheon, Villot remarks to a friend of his, pointing at Wojtyla across the table, "That man could be pope." And then he sent a note to his friend, a written note, Villot did, saying I want to confirm what I said. I want to believe Wojtyla could be pope.
So obviously, within that rather restricted circle, Wojtyla was a known quantity. Again, he was known to be a very gifted pastor, a very adept politician, navigating what were, of course, difficult waters in Poland in the Soviet era. Known to be a man with great vision, had a great cosmopolitan sense of things. Really quite the package you'd be looking for in a potential pope.
BROWN: Do we know, and do you think, if we don't, do you think we will know someday what this last week has been like?
ALLEN: Yes, obviously the events in the papal department leading up to the death are not covered by any obligation of secrecy. Now, of course, his closest collaborators, archbishops, Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Polish nuns, chief among the, Sister Tabiana, who've accompanied him all these many years. They will of course observe great discretion, about what they say, what they experienced, but I do expect that they will give out bits and pieces of that as time goes on, as will his physicians and the others who knew him, because the truth is, the pope wanted to use his death as he had used his life as a teaching instrument, Aaron. It's no accident he did not go off and hide as he was suffering. He let that play out in full public view, because he wanted to make the point, this is the way you can approach death if you live your life on the basis of faith and hope. And so, I believe his collaborators will want that message and want that story to be told.
BROWN: The bells of the Vatican are ringing, now. It was a short time ago the bells began ringing here, that formal ancient announcement that a pope has passed on Christiane?
AMANPOUR: Aaron thank you.
And we're going to go to Krakow, now, where 40 years ago John Paul was elected, was named archbishop of Krakow, in his native Poland. There, of course, people will be in deep mourning. We've seen very poignant images of people who'd been praying for him during his final illness. People know he was not just a towering religious figure in Poland under communism when religion was virtually banned, but he was also a towering nationalist, a towering political figure, a figure who is credited as much as anybody with starting the end of communism, and there we find CNN's Chris Burns in Krakow where he's been monitoring people as they wait for the pope's death -- Chris.
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The bishop's residence here in the window where the archbishop used to stand and sing and speak with the people, here, is now and black and gold crucifix in the window. As people are looking up, there's a sense of emptiness, really, and at the same time a sense of reverence and contentment, that they -- their favorite son was the pope of 1.1 billion people in the world and was a man who helped to engineer a peaceful and bloodless revolution, here, in Poland against the communist regime.
As the pope's death was announced, the priest said, "Christ welcomes him with open arms." the whole crowd of some 8,000 to 10,000 people fell silent. People fell to their knees, and they began to pray and weep. It's a sea of candles; it's a sea of flowers, of bouquets, and of a lot of tears. People finally facing this fact that their favorite son has now passed on. At the same time, though, he helped engineered this country into a democracy, very well-anchored into the West and to Europe, and the West, and in great part thanks to Karol Wojtyla as he engineered that transition. Back to you.
AMANPOUR: And Chris, he was so friendly and so supportive of Lech Walesa who was, back then a young slim shipyard working, starter and founder of the Solidarity movement, and who got so much spiritual and, really, material support, powerful support, from the pope, particularly as he continued his -- his -- his aim to slowly break down those shackles of communism. What do you think Lech Walesa is doing right now, and have you been in touch with him in the last few days?
BURNS: Lech Walesa is -- has been in Krakow, he has been speaking about how the pope was so very important in brining about this non-violent change, here, in Poland. In fact, you know, in fact, Lech Walesa used a pen from the Vatican to sign the very documents of the roundtable agreements in 1989 that brought about democracy that brought about the legalization of the Solidarity trade union, the re- legalization and that is really where he really hands it to the pope as being the one who offered him the guidance.
In fact during marshal law, in 1983, it was the pope who sent messages passed through the robes of various priests in jails and prisons across Poland, giving solidarity hope, telling them, don't lose hope. And it was the pope who came here in 1979, when he was first -- just after he was first named pope, and told the country, "Do not fear. Fear not and change this land," and that was really the beginning of the break, back -- way back there in 1979. So, really it's been decades of incredible transition, not only here in Poland, of course, but across the former soviet block. This was a man who really shook much of the world with his religious leadership.
AMANPOUR: And of course, there was that electrifying moment when the General Wojciech Jaruzelski created marshal law and a state of emergency and the pope stood up loudly and said, "We, the Church, support the people, supports the workers." And I think that many people will, I believe, write one of his most important legacies as being that incredible figure who started this series of dominoes falling that eventually ended communism in Poland, the Soviet Union and around the communist block. And he also had talked about his meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev and encouraged the West to deal with Mikhail Gorbachev.
So, in his native Poland, the pope, obviously holds a unique and special place and not least because, as a pope, he was the first non- Italian to be elected pope in 455 years, an amazing record. And in fact, when we talk a little bit today about some of the Italians who we have seen in the square, today and last night, as they pray, as they say the Rosary, as they have tried to comfort Pope John Paul on his last journey, that they have told us that some of them, that they feel somewhat guilty, today, that when the pope was first elected, they were feeling a little bit sad that he was a pole and not an Italian, the Italians feeling very possessive about the papacy, very possessive about having one of their own on the Throne of St. Peter for all these many, many centuries, but now say they felt sorry about feeling that way, because he had shown himself to be such an incredible man, and a man not just of Poland or Italy, but a man for the whole world, a man for all seasons, a man for all faiths, and all people and all ages.
He made a special attempt, not just to appeal to those faithful to the religiously committed Catholics, people who were very sure of their faith, but to reach out to those who were not, to reach out to the young, as well, and he knew that the young would be necessary to continue the vitality of the church, which in many parts of the world, as we've seen, has been dwindling over the last 10, 20 years, certainly under his papacy, and that, of course, as we've been talking, is going to be a big challenge for whoever is elected next pope of this 1.1 billion flock of Catholics around the world.
How will that person be able to bring the church, perhaps, more in contact with the people, bring the people back inside the church, make a church that people consider more relevant to themselves?
Our CNN bureau chief Alessio Vinci has been here all days and all weeks, and he's been covering this pope for many, many year through his illnesses, through his sicknesses, and through his triumphs, as well.
What -- you know, obviously for everybody this is a sad moment, for Catholics, for reporters who've been covering him, and for all these people who are flocking now into St. Peter's Square. What have you seen over the last few days?
ALESSIO VINCI, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUREAU CHIEF: An incredible amount of emotions, Christiane. I think , as I've been reporting throughout these past few days, you know, the story of the sick pope is an old story, this has been a man who has been going through a series of ailments for a good part of his papacy. In 1981 he was shot and then from there on it was a long history of ailments, and this is, perhaps, an issue that brought him closer to the people. He has spent so much time during his papacy discussing what it is -- what it means to be sick, to be underprivileged, and I think that because this world is populated primarily with underprivileged people, this is a man who has been -- was able to speak to the masses, and we are seeing just a little bit of it here, in Rome tonight, people from all walks of look life: poor, rich, old, young, and this is a man who could just say things that even if you disagreed with, could reach out and reach the people's heart. I mean, I remember asking younger generations about what is it about this pope, that he's against gay marriage, against abortion, against birth control, what is it that -- does it do to you as a young person? And all they would say is, you don't have to necessarily agree with this pope in order to share his feelings.
One person recently told me, you know, he's like a pop star, you know, we, in Italy, especially, he said, we like rock, we don't understand the words, but we like the rhythm, we like the music. And I think what, in this pope, they really liked was the fact that his word, even if you did not agree with what he was saying, his word really sounded familiar to all the people here in Rome and around the world. And I think this is the reason why we're seeing this amazing amount of grief and sorrow, tonight.
AMANPOUR: As you talk about music, let's just stop for a moment and listen to the singing, the voices in Vatican square, right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): At that point, some of the apostles said among themselves, What does it mean, soon he will not see me and then soon after, he will? And what does it mean to say "I am leaving you for my father?" What is this "soon" of which he speaks? We do not comprehend what he says, what he means. And Jesus saw this and said, I can see you're perplexed, but I tell you again, soon you will not see me, and soon again you will see me again. You will weep, and you will grow, but as the world grows, Mary, you will grow sad, but your sadness will be turned into joy. When a woman gives birth, she is sad, because she sees her hour has come, and when she seeing the baby, she doesn't remember her suffering anymore, because she has given birth to a man. The same with you, you see your sadness now, but soon you will rejoice. Your heart will rejoice. And nobody will be able to take this joy away from you.
AMANPOUR: You heard the words "rejoice" for the pope, for the Catholics, death is not an end, but the beginning of eternal life and certainly this pope felt that very, very, very powerfully. He also knew that people out here were praying for him. According to the Vatican spokesman today, the early bulletin, today, said, extraordinarily, that he had managed to get some words out and that they had struggled to piece those words together when they had told him that the Vatican square, St. Peter's Square, below his illuminated private apartments, was full of the faithful, full of people coming to pray for him, and pray with him as he prepare as he pass on.
They said that he said, "I see you have come to me, and for that I thank you." So, this is a pope who -- and we'll be talking about his legacy, his doctrine, is theology, for days to come, but no matter what people thought about it, and no matter the fact that in many parts of the world, particularly the developed world, the church, the congregation was beginning to dwindle, somehow people's personal connection and people's personal admiration for him transcended, perhaps, some of their unease with the more doctrinaire, orthodox theology that he prescribed for Catholics around the world and that many Catholics felt that they simply could not practice in today's modern world and caused many Catholics to follow their own conscience instead of his. Let's go back to Aaron for a moment, now -- Aaron.
BROWN: Christiane, thank you, I think you're right, that in the days ahead, there'll be much time spent analyzing this quarter of a century of John Paul's papacy, but it also strikes me that on a night like tonight, in a moment like this, the most powerful, not are the words, but are the pictures that we see, whether they're the pictures from St. Peter's that we've been looking at, the faces of the tens of thousands of people, there. There's a scene in Krakow, in Poland, going on now that says much about the pope and his roots. He was born not far from there. This is outside the residence of the archbishop of Krakow, in Poland, and people -- tens of thousands of them, spontaneously -- and I suspect, absolutely in silence -- are coming by with candles and prayers and tears.
BROWN: You can hear the hymns being sung. There are so few moments like this, really, where people just come out to be together, to share a moment, often it's a moment of grief like this, spontaneously. Chris Burns is in Krakow -- Chris.
BURNS: Yes, Aaron, this is -- just the significance of this building is this is the archbishop's residence, where the pope had resided, as he was archbishop here, and returned repeatedly and stayed in this residence when he was pope and I was here the last time that he was in that window up above the entrance. It was back in 2002 on his last visit. And it was a very, very touching moment, where the pope was singing and speaking to the people outside. It was packed like it is tonight and the people were singing "we won't let you go, we won't let you go back" and he would say, how can you do that? I need to go back to my -- to my -- to the Vatican. But they were sort of teasing each other, and it was a beautiful moment where, late at night, the Polish people are speaking with the pope of 1.1 billion followers around the world and here he is in a very intimate talk with the people from his country, the favorite son of this land, and this is what the people are back to remember, not only of course that night back in 2002, but in 1979 when he first came as pope, and inspired people to freedom, and it's really -- there's so many moments that go through people's minds.
Also when the pope returned repeatedly after marshal law -- before marshal law, and during marshal law when people were imprisoned and he was passing messages to some of those in prison, telling them don't lose hope, don't lose hope and it's a lot -- some of these people are way too young to have lived through any of this, and yet they are here with their families, with their parents and by themselves inspired by this pope who very much was uplifted by youth, whoever he spoke to. And it was a symbiotic kind of thing. The youth are back here to mark that. And it was quite moving to see, yesterday, there was a woman who was 30 years old with her five-year- old daughter saying, "I saw the pope when he first came here '79 when I was my daughter's age. I want her to witness what is going on now," which is the end of an era, the end of the life of the greatest man of Poland living at this time.
And so, in a sea of candles and tears and flowers, it's an incredibly emotional moment for so many people. At the same time, many have been preparing themselves for this moment for quite some time, back even since 2002 when the pope came here for the last time, when you had hundreds of thousands of people in the streets, essentially knowing very well that this man is very weak and we have to tell him goodbye, and telling each other goodbye especially on that night, just before he left, from this window, the emotion was palpable, Aaron.
AMANPOUR: Chris, thank you. Chris Burns. We expect, in a moment or two, perhaps a couple minutes, President Bush will make a statement from the White House. Dana Bash is at the White House and so, let's bring Dana in, now.
Dana, the president's relationship to the pope was political, and on that there were some disagreements and some agreements, and then there was an element of personal -- as you can see the flag now flying at half-staff at the White House -- Dana.
DANA BASH CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, personal, and that is perhaps what was the most interesting to observe, particularly at the last meeting that the president had with the pope at the Vatican, a year ago, about in June, and that is to watch somebody as powerful as an American president look and essentially admit that he was so humbled in the presence of somebody like the pope, and that is somebody that his aides have commented on particularly in the last few days as the pope's condition has become so much more grave, but as you mentioned, they sort of had an interesting relationship. They agreed on a lot of things, particularly on the issue of abortion, the opposition to abortion. In fact the president adopted a Vatican term -- phrase, "the culture of life" for his campaign and certainly talks about that quite frequently, but the president also got some blunt words from the pope on some of the things that he opposed, for example, front and center, was the war in Iraq. The president certainly heard about that in person at the Vatican from the pope. So, they certainly did have a complicated relationship.
One thing I should mention to you, Aaron, that is interesting, here at the White House, I just sort of notice, coming out, that this is one of those "you remember when" moments. I passed a woman, a tourist here, who said to her son, "you'll always remember that we were at the White House when the pope died." So, certainly they're preparing for solemn words inside, the president himself, but even outside here, just as we are seeing in St. Peter's Square, there is a very solemn feeling -- Aaron.
BROWN: Dana, just stay with us, we'll stay with this until the president takes to the podium, and he is about to do so. Here's the president -- Dana.
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