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CNN BREAKING NEWS

World Mournes Death, Celebrates Life of Pope John Paul II

Aired April 2, 2005 - 17:00   ET

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


AARON BROWN, CNN HOST (voice-over): Now this morning, Sunday morning just after midnight here in Rome. John Allen told me a moment ago that when Cardinal McCarrick was chosen, and as Cardinal McCarrick pointed out and John mentioned a moment before that, all the cardinals who will vote on -- who will select the next pope, the 117 -- these are cardinals under the age of 80, were all but three selected all but three selected by John Paul. In any case, Cardinal McCarrick said to our friend John Allen, "I hope I never have to participate in one of these conclaves."
That wish did not come true. He mentioned Cardinal Mahoney, the Cardinal of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney. There's a cardinal in Chicago, correct?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In fact, Aaron, Americans have 11 cardinals under the age of 80, the second-largest national group other than the Italians. So the cardinals of New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, all on their way either tonight or in the next couple of days in order to participate in the conclave. In addition to American cardinals, here in the Vatican, Cardinal Stafford, who runs the apostolic penitentiary.

BROWN: We'll pause in our analysis here and let you absorb one of those moments of your lifetime. The death of a pope.

At the Vatican, where it's just after midnight around the world now, this news has spread. And around the world, world leaders have reacted. You heard, I guess now about 90 minutes ago, from the president, was it less than that, I guess? The president talking about what a hero John Paul was. The culture of life he instilled. Whatever their disagreements, and they had them, on all manner of issues, they shared a common sense, the Protestant president and the Catholic pope, about the beginnings of life. Although perhaps not exactly a precise sense. And the end of life. And how we ought to view life.

And we said, John, earlier that in a week where Americans have spent an inordinate amount of time often bitterly in a discussion of life and death, this is a poignant end to an important conversation, if you will. It gives us all a different perspective, a different way to think about something, because of all of the things that he did one of the things that John Paul did was die with extraordinary dignity. Christiane?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His whole life was really marked by extraordinary dignity. And he died in the way he chose. According to the people who are inside the Vatican, his spokespeople and those around him, they were very clear that it was his choice to stay at the Vatican and to spend his last hours there. He did not want to go back to hospital, even though we had heard about his grave illness and the grave developments over the last 48 hours, which really perhaps should have been taken care of in an intensive care unit in a hospital. He did not want to do that.

And a as we see people with their rosaries and their candles, we see the faces of young people, some of them in tears, others in deep mourning, deep prayer, reflecting on his life and hoping that he goes peacefully to the eternal life. We are expecting in a few minutes as we've been saying now for the last hour or so, that the latest is in about ten minutes we do expect to get a statement from the Vatican spokespeople, from the press office. Not only about the last moments and the details of the pope's death, of who was around him, but also the specific details, we're told, about the official activities that will start to go into effect. Perhaps we'll hear formally the date of his funeral. And other such things.

I'm joined now by Catholic priest Jonathan Morris, Father Jonathan Morris and Alessio Vinci, our CNN Rome bureau chief. And it's probably worth recalling now that this process is already under way, Alessio. The curia (ph), essentially the Vatican government, is also losing its job.

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is correct. At this time, basically all the cardinals and bishops, the senior positions in the curia, which is basically the government of the Vatican if you will, basically lose their jobs including the all-powerful secretary of state, number two until a few moments ago in the Vatican. However, there are three people who keep their jobs in that period. First of all is the Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who technically is the one who must give the announcement to the people of Rome and eventually the world, of the death of the pope.

However, I think tonight, things may have worked a little bit differently. Because we heard an announcement coming from the press office first. And then there was a prayer service going on in St. Peter's Square, and we've seen Cardinal Sodano, actually.

At some point I was watching the happenings in the square. You see the Cardinal Sodano turning around to his aides, knowing clearly that the pope had passed way, and perhaps Cardinal Ruini was not on hand to give the announcement. Therefore the announcement wasn't made by him, I would think. I would like this confirm this later on. But I think this time around it was the Cardinal Sodano who gave the announcement the pope passed away.

So the Vicar of Rome maintains his job. And he will take care of pastoral needs in the diocese of Rome. The major penitentiary, which is an American archbishop, James Stafford, who deals with confessional matters. And the reason he doesn't lose his job is because according to the church, the doors to forgiveness should never be closed. And therefore he keeps his job as well. Then of course the Cardinal Carmelengo, who is Eduardo Martinez Somalo, he is the one who technically actually must certify that the pope is dead by calling his baptismal name Karol, Karol, Karol, three times. If he doesn't receive an answer then, of course, he actually acknowledges that the pope is dead.

This cardinal, Cardinal Carmelengo has a central role in these few hours, Christiane. Basically basically he will put the government of the church, which now basically has no more power if you want, because there is no more leader, in the hands of the so-called College of Cardinals which is all the cardinals who are now making their way to Rome.

The dean of the College of Cardinals is Cardinal Ratzinger, he is a German, a very powerful figure in the Catholic Church. You may remember during the Holy Week, he is the one who wrote the meditations during the Way of the Cross, very close aide of the pope. One of the few people with regular access to the pope throughout his two months during which he has been so sick.

So Cardinal Ratzinger, very powerful man, he will be leading the so-called College of Cardinals. And within that, there will be general congregations which are regular meetings from now on in the coming days, every day, mandatory attendance for all the cardinals, and of course, the council of Rome. And during these meetings they will make decisions based on the wake the burial, the funeral, all the things that have to be dealt with in the coming days.

AMANPOUR: And as we're seeing there, vital details of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, that he was, of course, as you say, German, ordained in 1951, and has become the Dean of the College of Cardinals and has been very close to the pope for many, many years. And if I'm not wrong, he along with the cardinal of Nigeria, Arinze and one other, named often as front runners for the next job. Is it likely it could be Ratzinger?

VINCI: There's a saying in Rome, if you enter a conclave as likely pope, you come out a cardinal, meaning you have not been elected. And you know what, thinking how this pope who just passed away was elected almost 27 years ago, I would not really like to make any predictions. I think that reading analyses in the past few days, there is perhaps the only safe bet that we can make is that he may be a pope, either from Latin America or from Europe. This is simply because of the way -- the inference in the church is divided up right now. They say an American cardinal is unlikely to become pope simply because the Americans are already so powerful in policy, in politics, in the economy.

It doesn't look like they will also be the leader of the so called moral Catholic values in the Catholic Church. Africa, the churches there are too young. They are expanding but they're way too young. I think it is too early perhaps to have a pope from Africa. Asia, very important again, another area of the world where Catholicism is growing. But there are still many countries, including China, which you just mentioned earlier, really unlikely the pope will come from. So if you boil it down to which areas of influence will prevail in this conclave, in all bets are to either a European or Latin American cardinal. But, again, we should be cautious. I don't think we should be talking about that much. It's too early, really.

AMANPOUR: We can say with certainty, though, that the Italians would like to reclaim the papacy. The Italian people feel close to the papacy and they believe because of tradition and obviously 455 years of tradition before Pope John Paul II, that they would like to have an Italian pope again.

VINCI: And this pope, when he was elected in 1978, when he came out of the window here behind us from the St. Peter's Basilica, I think he knew that, how much it was important, how much he made history. On the very first day, first non-Italian pope in 455 years. He knew that. And so the first words out of his mouth after he was announced that he was the pope, he took the microphone, he said, (speaking Italian) "I don't speak your language but if I make any mistake you will correct me." But in saying correct me, he mispronounced the words "correct me." And the whole, I remember the video, of course, I was too young to remember these days, but the people in St. Peter's square broke into a long applause. This was an immediate bond of the people in Italy, in Rome.

This is, of course, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. And Italians do really keep a special place for this pope, every pope in general, in their hearts.

AMANPOUR: Now, we've talked about the election of the pope. But the actual election process, Father Jonathan Morris, is quite complex. And the actual announcement is almost from another world with the smoke and the black and the white. It's so ancient and it's so traditional. Tell us a little bit, or tell our viewers how the voting process goes and when we will know that a new pope has been chosen.

FR. JONATHAN MORRIS, CATHOLIC PRIEST: John Paul II actually in 1996 put out a document which made clarifications to the process. He made it very clear that he wasn't changing the whole politics or the process of the election of the pope, but he did want to make some corrections to help make the process go a little bit more smoothly. And therefore, what's going so happen here in a matter of a couple of weeks will be historic in that aspect as well.

So we know that there's usually three votings per day. And during that time in which those votes are made, that people are -- all of Rome and the whole world are informed by the smoke that comes out of the Sistine Chapel.

AMANPOUR: White for yes, and black, which needs a chemical to make it go black, for no, not yet, we have to keep going. Aaron, back to you.

BROWN (on camera): 12:15 in the morning. A Sunday morning in Rome. We stand together again at a moment of history. For the first time in a quarter of a century, the Roman Catholic Church has no formal leader. Pope John Paul has died. That word now has spread around the world. This is how the announcement was made by the Vatican about two and a half hours ago.

ARCHBISHOP LEONARDO SANDRI, VATICAN UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE (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. BROWN: I'm getting radio. I'm getting radio. Here we go. That is how the announcement was made. Two and a half hours ago -- we're having just a bit of an audio problem, we apologize. Even before then, the area around the Vatican was packed with people. It remains so now. And if we can go there, we can show you that.

(voice-over): It was serene and moving a short time after the announcement bells tolled here in Rome. That is a kind of official way the Vatican makes the announcement. This is a church rich in ritual and tradition. And it knows by rule how these things are to be done and how they're to be announced and they were.

And people have stood at the gate there, at the barriers there more correctly. They have stood there and prayed and they have participated in prayer services. And goodness knows they have cried. People of all ages. But we know most particularly, the young have come there.

The pope's death, of course, not unexpected. If anything, over the last couple of days, I think we all, John Allen, merely wondered when this moment would happen. It seemed -- it felt to me, I'm not sure seemed to me is right. It felt to me two days ago when we heard he didn't want to go back to hospital, that he had developed this very high infection, that they were treating him aggressively with antibiotics. Then there was an encouraging note that he had stabilized. And yet the Vatican seemed quite -- the tone of the announcement seemed quite direct at that point. That really was a signal that the end was near.

ALLEN: For me, Aaron, the moment that clinched it all was that briefing, the first noon day briefing in this cycle of events when the papal spokesperson, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, of course a man very close to the pope for over 20 years, actually had tears in his eyes when he brought us the news. And I have seen Navarro-Valls, he and I are friends, we know one another. I've seen him in many situations and he is one of the coolest customers I've ever known. A man who never loses his poise. To see him overcome by emotion, to bring us the news of the pope's very grave state, to me that was the clearest possible signal that the end is not far away.

BROWN: And now begins really a couple of processes, if you will. There is the process of the funeral, this nine-day process where the cardinals from around the world, and in this media age where the world itself will either directly or indirectly come to Rome, to watch this all play out. And that will play out over a period of nine days. But it will be marked by one -- at the risk of sounding non-theological, one mass higher than the other.

ALLEN: High mass, exactly right. Yeah. And you're right, there are two sort of parallel things going on here at once. One is a series of rituals intended to mark the loss that the church and the world has just suffered of John Paul II. The other, of course, is preparing the event in which his successor will be selected. That is the conclave. Under the rules put into place under John Paul II, that conclave has to come a minimum of 15 days essentially from tonight, a maximum of 20. And so we're really talking about two stories here. One marking the life and legacy of this great figure we have now lost. The other, the story of the election of the man who will lead the Catholic Church forward. The challenges he faces. The world he will inherit. And where the Catholic Church, this 1.1 billion strong, important player in social, cultural, and political affairs, where it will go.

BROWN: Do you expect that all of the important heads of state in the world, the prime minister of Britain, the president of the United States, that they will all come to the Vatican for this high mass which we now believe, though I'm not sure that this is formal at this point, we now believe is Thursday.

ALLEN: That's what Cardinal McCarrick just said, although he himself admitted he wasn't sure. Whatever day it occurs, we would expect a very strong turnout of VIPs, including heads of state. I would personally expect the president of the United States to be there. And this, of course, in the last time it went through it, Aaron, was 1978 and we went through it twice with the death of Paul VI, and shortly thereafter the death of John Paul II. Both times the funeral masses were attended by virtually ever head of state of consequence.

BROWN: The conclave that picked John Paul, how long did that last?

ALLEN: John Paul II?

BROWN: Yes, I'm sorry.

ALLEN: It was a conclave of basically two and a half days, roughly eight ballots. Bear in mind the events that happened inside the conclave are covered by a vow of secrecy that the cardinals take. So that this is -- the exact number of ballots is a bit of a reconstruction on the part of historians and analysts who talk to various people and piece things together. We know the conclave lasted roughly two and a half days.

BROWN: And do we know sort of on average how long they go? Is it even valuable to know?

ALLEN: I think it is, actually. It's a very good question. The longest conclave of the twentieth century took about 14 ballots, which if you follow the process you can do about four ballots a day. It means you're talking in the neighborhood of four or five days. That's important. Because in the new rules that John Paul gave the church in 1996, there is a provision that if the conclave goes on for more than 30 ballots, which would be about seven days, the cardinals at that point can vote to change the rules from a requirement of a two-thirds majority, to a simple majority. That is, 50 percent plus 1. Some people believe that would give a minority a reason to hold out for that long.

My point being that since it would be more than twice as long as the longest conclave of the twentieth century, and given the enormous pressure the cardinals feel under to make this the product of a consensus rather than a political fight, I think it's a remote hypothesis you would actually get there. But it is worth noting it is possible.

BROWN: You know, there are two -- For our American viewers, I guess, there are two great secrets in the world. There aren't many more these days. I guess in part because of us. One is the deliberations of the U.S. Supreme Court, which have maintained this veil of secrecy for the entire history of the republic. And the other is this -- there are little snippets of history that have come out over the years about decorum, about how the process, how political for lack of a better word, it gets. But there really has never been, has there, at least to my knowledge, a great account of great detail of what these things are like.

ALLEN: Actually, for two conclaves in the early part of the twentieth century, we actually do have a fairly detailed account. Because one of the cardinals who participated in those conclaves gave very detailed accounts of them in his diaries which were published after his death. That, of course, is reaching back awhile. But nevertheless, it's a fascinating treasure trove of insight into how these things work.

BROWN: And is it, this sort of marriage of the theological and the political coming together?

ALLEN: Oh, absolutely. I think in Catholic theology, there's a phrase that grace builds upon nature. That is, the fact that you believe God is assisting you in something doesn't make it any less a human endeavor. And in the same way, while the cardinals believe and Catholics believe the Holy Spirit will guide the process of the selection of the next pope, that doesn't make it any less a political exercise. There are issues at stake. Calculations that have to be made about the challenges facing the church and what kind of man is needed to face those challenges.

That is a quintessentially political task. And so this is, you're right quite, a wedding or an intersection of a process that Catholics would see as a deeply spiritual one, but at the same time, a very, really political exercise.

BROWN: Again, let me just set for you the scene. 100,000 or more people have gathered at St. Peter's. Around the world, no doubt, in front of catholic churches and elsewhere. Tens of thousands, no doubt millions more have gathered. We've seen scenes from Krakow and Poland at the archbishop's residence where the pope once lived. We've heard from the cardinal in Washington, DC, who will now make his way here along with the other American cardinals, 11 in all, to participate in the events of the days ahead. It is a day of sorrow. A day not unexpected. And a day with much to digest, both here in Rome and back in the United States where it is late on a spring Saturday. It has just become Sunday morning here in Rome. Christiane?

AMANPOUR: 12:25 a.m. And the second day is now under way. Now the actual events that are in place are to kick off once the pope dies will start. And of course we do keep waiting for a statement from the Vatican about precisely what will happen. It's very interesting to watch the people streaming into Vatican Square behind me. It's almost like a predetermined march to a place they knew they would be going to.

They have been here over the last few days. Just saying prayers for the pope as he prepares to meet his maker. And now that he is gone, as soon as the news was broken over the airwaves, the bells started to toll and suddenly from everywhere, people started to flood into Vatican Square behind us. Listening to Cardinal McCarrick back in Washington, it's really interesting to hear that only three of the 117 cardinals who are eligible to elect the new pope, only three of them, he said, had ever taken part in a conclave before.

And it is, for those even within the Catholic Church, but also especially those outside the Catholic Church, and of course outside the clergy, it's incredibly complicated, this mechanism that is now getting under way. And not just complicated. But it almost sounds something from a medieval novel. It is so intricate and so incredibly -- I would say archaic in its traditions. One of the things, and I'm going to bring in Father Jonathan Morris here. One of the things is that this vote has to happen in absolute secrecy. Tell us about what has to happen.

MORRIS (on camera): That's right. The tradition behind the secrecy is really to try to protect the integrity of the element of prayer and of true reflection of what they're doing. So the idea is that other people aren't involved, trying to make it into a political thing. But rather, that they're really there in prayer, they're listening to the Holy Spirit, and they're trying to make a decision based on their best knowledge of what's the right thing for the church, what God wants. So there certainly is secrecy to it. But I think it's important that we don't get confused either and seeing it as something that's secrecy in order to protect the truth, but rather secrecy in order to protect their own ability to make a decision based on prayer.

AMANPOUR (on camera): And they're going to be voting. If they don't come up with a decision in each round of voting do they then have to, what, tear up the ballots and start again?

MORRIS: That's right.

AMANPOUR: How exactly? Tell us the mechanism.

MORRIS: Right. Well, there's two votings in the morning that take place, there's one voting in the evening. The very first day of the conclave, there is just one voting in the afternoon because there's a mass in the morning where they all come into St. Peter's Basilica, then they go up to the Sistine Chapel and make their vow of secrecy and fidelity. And after that, they begin the voting process. And they do it in sections of three days, sections of three days, after which time they also have times of prayer.

The new regulations that John Paul II established in 1996 is, the purpose behind them is really to help make the voting process to be less painful, a little bit less laborious, and really for the church to have a leader within a shorter period of time. So the maximum could be 30 days. Most likely it will be a lot less than that.

AMANPOUR: Also instituted for the first time will be new living quarters for all those cardinals coming to take part in this conclave. And elect the new pope. Now, some are saying that the fact that they will be outside the immediate Sistine Chapel area will expose them to the public several times a day as they come and go, and that perhaps might spoil the integrity of the secrecy that has to -- Is that a legitimate worry or not?

MORRIS: Perhaps it's a worry, yes, But at the same time, all of this is done in order to maintain an ambiance of tranquility and peace. So we can come up with all sorts of conspiracy theories about what's going to happen and who's going to know. The reality of it is, all of this is set up in order to protect the cardinals themselves from being in some way instigated to act based on some other motive besides the pure will of G-d.

AMANPOUR: And one shouldn't forget that the Sistine Chapel is the most remarkable piece of religious sculpture and architecture and painting in the world. Painted by Michelangelo, that immense "Last Judgment" that is on one of the far walls, the incredible frescoes around and on the ceiling. I mean, the fact that he spent so many years on his back, carefully painting those paintings up there, "the Creation" and all the other biblical images. And this great dome of St. Peter's, designed again by Michangelo. The incredible embracing arms of the Vatican with the column by Bernini. All of this architecture and art and tradition. And with that picture of "the Last Judgment."

Give us a sense of what it must be to be one of 117 cardinals sitting in that incredible chapel, trying to do this incredible work.

MORRIS: I think it's a very interesting point, Christiane because John Paul II himself wrote a letter to the artists, which has become a famous letter. Not to the artists of the past only but to the artists of the present, explaining and showing how the human spirit and its expression of art and religious art in a very special way is really a reflection of God himself. I would -- I really look forward to reading that letter. I think this is -- being in that Sistine Chapel is also going to help the cardinals to be in that spirit of prayer.

And also, art that -- religious art, beautiful art, elevates the spirit to God. Once again, there's that oar cake secrecy and all of that element that's very real. But at the same time, if you look at it from the point of view of from within the Vatican, I think, and from the point of view of real faith, we see all of it is leading them to be in a spirit of prayer and reflection.

AMANPOUR: And remind us again, we've talked about the three voting sessions per day. Remind us again about the results. After each voting session, they then...

PAULA ZAHN, CNN HOST (voice-over): Christiane, this is Paula Zahn in New York. We are showing our audience some live pictures out of Washington, DC from St. Matthew's Church for those looking closely at the right-hand part of the screen, you can see the first lady and the president of the United States paying their homage to the pope.

Several hours ago, the pope (sic) made a heart-felt announcement to the country about his reaction to the pope's death. He said, "Laura and I join people across the earth in mourning. The passing of the pope, the Catholic Church has lost its shepherd. The world has lost a champion of human freedom."

He went on to talk about the very personal relationship he felt that Americans enjoyed with this pope. He said, "Pope John Paul II was himself an inspiration to millions of Americans and to many throughout the world. We will always remember the humble, wise, and fearless priest who became one of history's great moral leaders." We are grateful to God for sending such a man, a son of Poland who became the bishop of Rome and a hero for the ages." Once again, part of the statement the president made several hours ago.

We turn now to Annapolis, Maryland where Archbishop John Foley joins us, he is the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Thank you so much for joining us. Archbishop Foley, what are your thoughts?

ARCHBISHOP JOHN FOLEY, PRESIDENT, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL COMMUNICATION: Thank you very much, Paula.

ZAHN (on camera): As we all have been in anticipation of this moment but now, of course, the pope has passed on.

FOLEY: Well, of course, it was not unexpected. But it was still a very moving moment for me. I've known the Holy Father since 1967. I first met him when he became a cardinal. I had been in his home in Krakow. He had been in the seminary where I lived in Philadelphia in 1969. In 1976. And I had been press secretary for his first trip through the United States in 1979. So it was always a joy and an inspiration to work with him.

And last year, at a luncheon in the Vatican, he said, "You know, your office will be 40 years old next year." and he said, "How would you like me to write a special letter about communications?" And I said, "that would be wonderful, Holy Father." And in between his two hospitalizations, this year, he released that letter about the rapid development of the technologies and techniques of communications and how they helped to bring people around the world together in a new environment of unity. And I thought, isn't that a beautiful thing, that the last major document of this holy father should have been about communication and the wonderful influence it can exercise. One time ...

ZAHN (voice-over): And archbishop - Oh, I'm sorry.

FOLEY (voice-over): Yes?

ZAHN: I'm sorry.

FOLEY: No, go ahead.

ZAHN: I was going to say, the one thing that strikes me about what you're saying, because I've heard it from other people who have been personally touched by this pope, was his sense of follow-through. That he had so many ...

FOLEY: His sense of what? I didn't ...

ZAHN: Follow-through.

FOLEY: Oh, yes.

ZAHN: He had so many things to manage, that the fact that despite these enormous physical challenges he faced, that he did do what he did for you.

FOLEY: It is. It's incredible. I was very touched and moved by that. And I wrote to tell him so. And also, when you talk about follow-through, his good friend Cardinal Kroehl died in 1996. And it was during a special meeting that we were having in Rome and I had asked for the audience with him for that meeting one day early so I could get home for the funeral. And the pope granted that, which was very nice. And then he said to me at the end, "Now who's going to preside at the rest of the meeting?" And I indicated who would do that. And he said, "all right, thank you." so talk about follow- through.

Also, by the way, speaking about follow-through, he knew -- he had met my mother. And when she returned to the unconscious was in a nursing home. He said, "How is your mother? How is she doing?" And I thought, with more than 1 billion -- I think we're going to hear the president of the united states here in a moment, or at least he's in St. Matthew's Cathedral, Cardinal McCarrick is saying that now.

ZAHN: We're watching the same pictures that you are right now.

FOLEY: I'm not seeing anything here. We can't see anything, unfortunately.

ZAHN: I'm sure you're getting a little radio interference. You mentioned your mother going to a nursing home and the kind of follow- through this pope had. I guess the one thing I'd love you to further expound on tonight is this image of the suffering of the pope that seems to be very important for the Catholic Church. What do you think the pope's suffering and the enormous strength and courage he has shown represents, or should represent, to us all?

FOLEY: Well, of course we believe in a suffering savior, Jesus Christ who suffered, died, and then rose from the dead. This is the week of the resurrection. The week after Easter. And I was very touched last Friday night, Good Friday night, when I was doing English language commentary for television for the Holy Father's Way of the Cross. He had traditionally been present at the Coliseum in Rome. And this evening he was in his private chapel watching on television. At one point they gave him a crucifix which he balanced on his knee. And then when they got to the point of the death of Christ on the cross, the Holy Father took the cross and embraced it. And I thought to myself, what a beautiful symbol that he is embracing the suffering Christ, he the suffering pope. He's identifying with the suffering of Christ in his love for humanity. And that is the way he lived his life. He was completely forgetful of self. And he lived for the service of God. And the service of God's children.

ZAHN: Archbishop Foley, we're going to pause for a moment and listen to a little more of the service at St. Matthew's Church. A service now that the President of the United States is attending. And then I will come back to you in a moment.

FOLEY: All right, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (sung): Lord God, heavenly king almighty God and Father we worship you, we worship you, we give you thanks we praise you

ZAHN: Archbishop Foley, I think another thing that we need to reflect on is the enormous impact this pope and ability to make connections between Catholics and non-Catholics and the success with which he reached out to Jews and those great divides.

FOLEY (on camera): Well, the Holy Father set a great importance on ecumenism and on good inter-religious relations. One of the most moving images of his entire pontificate was when he as an elderly man went on a cane up to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Western Wall of the old temple, the only remaining part of the old temple in Jerusalem, and he placed a letter inside. A type of prayer.

And it was a great sign of reconciliation with the Jewish people, reconciliation with all people, a prayer for forgiveness a prayer of love. And I think the Holy Father, for example in his visit to Auschwitz where he begged forgiveness for the crimes that had been committed there. Those terrible crimes against humanity, against the Jewish people.

The example he gave of prayer with other religious leaders, for example, at Assisi. He called upon the religious leaders of the world to come with him in Assisi to pray for peace. So you not only had leaders of the Christian denominations, but you also had Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems, you had the heads of Indian -- American Indian tribal religions. And all joined there in Assisi to pray for peace. They came together to pray for peace. It was very moving. I remember it very well.

And he called them back again another time, or invited them back. Not called them back. And he has done more, in my opinion, than any other person to bring people of all religions together in recognition of one God, perhaps we should listen to Cardinal McCarrick who is praying at the moment.

MCCARRICK: We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your son.

ZAHN: And Archbishop Foley, at the risk of being rude, we would stay with Cardinal McCarrick's blessing but I understand from Rome that there is a new announcement out of the Vatican that might give us a better understanding of the last moments of this beloved pope's life. Aaron? BROWN: It's brief. It is very, very brief. Two notes from the Vatican on this early Sunday morning. The pope's body will lie in state in the Vatican no earlier than Monday. It will not happen today, Sunday here in Rome. No earlier than Monday. The Vatican also says, and this is all it is saying right now, that the pope's final hours were marked by uninterrupted prayer. So to the extent we hoped to have a more detailed picture of what those final hours were like we do not have it yet. Except the Vatican reports the pope's final hours were spent in prayer. Paula?

ZAHN: And prayer, I guess, is the subtext of what, Aaron, so many of us have been talking about. I heard one archbishop say earlier today that to this pope, prayer was the most important kind of sustenance to him. More important than food. More important than liquid. And there was a description of how this pope spent many, many hours kneeling in prayer and often observed if not kneeling in prayer, sitting in a chair. I heard the description of his forehead cradled in his left hand. His face almost contorted in pain. We now go back to Christiane Amanpour in Rome who I believe has more information now, can shed more light on this latest Vatican announcement. Christiane?

AMANPOUR: Yes, these words are coming out of the spokesperson's office. And we do know, of course they once again confirmed the exact time of his death which we've been reporting as 9:37 p.m. But they say that at 8:00 p.m. mass was said for the pope, the Mass of the Divine Mercy whose feast day is actually today and that's quite significant because it is a feast day that he himself instigated. We're also told that he was administered again the Last Rites. The Blessed Sacrament of the Sick as it is sometimes called.

In his final hours as we've been reporting, there were prayers by those who are at his bedside in quote, "his pious death," assisting in quote, "his pious death." Now his personal secretaries were at his side, Stanislaw Dziwisz and Monsignor Muchig (ph). Also, there was Cardinal Marian Dziwisz and Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko. Also doctors and two nurses.

Now, immediately after his death, Cardinal Sodano came in, he is the secretary of state of the Vatican. And we are also told as we heard from Aaron that his body will lie in state no earlier than Monday. And that there will be a special mass tomorrow said at 10:30 a.m. at which cardinal Sodano will in fact officiate. So those are some of the details that are coming out so far. So if there are more and when they do come, we will give them to you. I just want to ask Father Jonathan Morris, who's been with us, about the significance of the pope dying almost the moment of his particular feast day.

MORRIS: It's really incredible. In fact, liturgically speaking, today, he did die on the Feast of the Divine Mercy. The Divine Mercy is Sunday because it's the beginning of the Vigil of Divine Mercy. The Divine Mercy Sunday was established by John Paul II in 2000 and the canonization of Sister Faustina, who was a Polish nun who had personal visions during the first part of the twentieth century in which she explained that what Christ wanted for humanity right now is a deeper understanding of the mercy of God. This was the vision that she received. And John Paul II, as cardinal, there in Poland, was one who began to promote this real devotion to Sister Faustina, then was in a position as pope to beatify and canonize Sister Faustina. So this, for the Catholic Church, is a big moment and there's no doubt this is no coincidence.

AMANPOUR: As I say, we will have more details when they come. But this is the latest we have now from the Vatican.

ZAHN: And Christiane, you have been showing us throughout the early morning hours there, or late hours there, some of the tens of thousands of pilgrims who have filed in St. Peter's Square. Right now we take you to St. Patrick's Cathedral in the heart of New York City to hear Cardinal Egan's reflections on this pope's life.

CARDINAL EDWARD EGAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEWS YORK: And stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands and bring your hand and put it into my side and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and My God." Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. And through this belief, you may have life in his name. The gospel of the Lord.

My dear friends. This is an occasion, as I said when we began, of great sadness. We have lost a great and courageous man. A devoted and dedicated priest. A wise and holy pontiff. We come to thank the Lord for him and to remind ourselves of what he was for us and for the world.

And on this occasion, it just so happens that the gospel, which is ours to read and comment upon could not be a more fitting choice for this evening and this occasion. The story that St. John tells us is on a Sunday evening. The disciples are gathered in fear. The Lord has been killed and they are very much afraid of what it means for them.

Jesus Christ appears in their midst, though the doors were locked. Twice he says to them, "Peace be with you." He shows them his hands. He shows them his side. It is clear that he is risen. Risen from the dead, as he had promised. We see the Holy Spirit, he says, whose sins you shall forgive, whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. Thomas was not there. But in the following days, he learned that Jesus Christ had allegedly visited his disciples.

Thomas, angry, belligerent, Thomas announced, "Unless I see the marks of the nails and put my fingers into them, unless I put my hands into his side, I shall not believe." The following Sunday, the disciples are gathered again and Thomas is with them this time. The Lord appears. "Peace be with you," he says. And then he says, "Thomas. Put your fingers into my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not be unbelieving but believe." "My Lord and my God," Thomas shouts. And he sinks unto his knees before the lord, who is risen and had died for him. Thomas, my dear friends, should not have acted the way he did. He had walked with Jesus Christ for three years. He had witnessed miracles. Even the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Nonetheless, "Unless I see, i shall not believe."

And how does the Lord react? Frankly, he humiliates himself. He invites Thomas to put his fingers into the wounds in his hands. And to put his hand into the side of his cut. "Thomas, believe." Thomas is forgiven. Thomas is made whole. A powerful lesson in forgiveness.

And tonight, I would remind you of another lesson very much like it. About a pope who lived for Christ and indeed relived Christ. It is May 13, 1981. A young Turk by the name of Mehmet Ali Agca who was convicted of murder in 1979 put into a prison in Turkey and escaped, has arrived in Rome.

He makes his way up the famous Via de la Congiazzione (ph) to the Piazza San Pietro. It's a glorious spring afternoon. He enters the piazza. There he sees Pope John Paul II in that famous open car driving through the piazza, greeting the people. The piazza is packed, for the world is following very closely the beginning of the fall of communism. The strike in Gdansk has taken place. Solidarity is a trade union grabbing power. John Paul has publicly supported it. The crowd is more excited than usual.

In his open car, the Holy Father is blessing those in the piazza. Mehmet Ali Agca raises a gun that he carefully cleaned in the Pensione Isa (ph) about a mile away. He shoots twice. One bullet hits the Holy Father's finger and is deflected. The other enters his body, missing the main artery in his abdomen by the merest fraction of an inch.

The Holy Father is crushed to the Clinica Gemelli, the Gemelli Hospital of Rome. Where three days later he undergoes surgery to remove the bullet wind him and repair the damage done. Mehmet Ali Agca is taken to the Remibia Prison (ph) in Rome.

The Holy Father is restored to health. And he decides to visit the Rebidia (ph) Prison in Rome. He arrives, says mass, and inquires if he might see a certain prisoner. Mehmet. It is agreed. And the two of them sit together on plastic chairs. Mehmet Ali Agca in jeans and sneakers. And John Paul II in his white cassock.

The scene is dramatic. But it is more than dramatic. It is supremely holy. For on that occasion, the man in the white cassock takes the hand of the man in the jeans and sneakers and announces to him what he had announced the day after his operation in the Clinica Gemelli. "I pray for that brother of mine who shot me. And I have sincerely forgiven him." As the Lord forgave Thomas, John Paul forgave Mehmet Ali Agca. In so doing ...

ZAHN: For those of you with us we've been listening to Cardinal Edward Egan out of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City recount a remarkable story that I think defines who this pope was. And he told the story of how the pope, after barely surviving an assassination attempt, felt that it was very important later on to visit his would- be assassin in prison, to forgive him.

I doubt that many people would have the courage or that sense of forgiveness in their heart. The cardinal also said that, quote, "We have lost a great man, a courageous man, a devoted and dedicated priest, a wise and holy pontiff."

And I guess, Aaron, as I've watched some of the faces, I don't know how many of the faces you've seen of the followers of the pope in St. Patrick's Cathedral. But it's many of the same faces you've looked at today in Rome and in Poland with this look of reverence and sadness as they honor this much-beloved pope. And even though all of these followers anticipated this time would come, you can see this enduring sense of pain in their faces.

BROWN: As I was listening to Cardinal Egan, I was wondering in how many churches around the world, big and small, most far less grand than St. Pat's, most with no one nearly as powerful as the President of the United States who's at St. Matthew's in Washington, how many young priests and in some cases churches without a priest at all, a lay leader trying to find the right words to describe a day, a night, like today.

It is coming up on 1:00 in the morning here in Rome. The pope officially, now we here from the Vatican, died at 8:00 on Saturday evening. In that time and long before that time, thousands of people had come to St. Peter's, had come to gather and perhaps the crowd now has started to filter - I was looking behind me on the street below at how quiet it all seems to me for a Saturday night in a loud and vibrant city.

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