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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Choosing a New Pope; British Royal Family Crowned With Scandal

Aired April 6, 2005 - 20:00   ET

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


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us this evening.
Tonight, will Catholic cardinals make a bold and surprising choice for pope? And Britain's royal family crowned with scandal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): Britain's national soap opera, the House of Windsor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are not really this dignified symbol of our country, so why do we have them?

ZAHN: Pomp, ceremony, and entertainment. Tonight, the royals, a fractured fairy tale.

And, as Catholics turn to Rome to honor a man from the past, we look to the future and ask, is the church ready for a black pope?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: We start tonight with the jinx on the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. The British tabloids are having a field day.

The latest, because the wedding has been delayed until Saturday, security will cost twice as much, about $4 million. And some angry people want Charles to chip in for part of it. And horse racing fans are upset that the wedding will delay the Grand National Race, a British institution, by about half-an-hour.

Well, Prince Charles isn't the only one in the headlines. One paper today says his son, Prince Harry, who is only 17, is cheating on his girlfriend. It is all part of the ongoing drama known in Britain as the royals.

Richard Quest has more in tonight's "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nineteen-ninety- two, it should have been a year of joy. With 40 years of dedicated service to her country, Queen Elizabeth II had much to celebrate. Instead, it turned into the worst year of her reign, and, for most part, there was no one else to blame but the royals themselves. CHARLES ANSON, QUEEN'S FORMER PRESS SECRETARY: It's rather like being on a very small boat in a very heavy sea in a big storm. There comes a moment when you just have to fasten all the ropes down and wait for the storm to pass. And that's what 1992 felt like.

QUEST: By the beginning of the year, all the queen's children, except Edward, were married. Most ceremonies, such as the marriage of Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson, had been major, national occasions. The public still had an appetite for these larger-than-life events.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a monster.

QUEST: Sarah Ferguson loved to live life to the full. Used to royalty, but not aristocratic herself, initially, she fit in well with the modern royal family. Yet, soon, the strains showed.

ANNE-MARIE O'NEILL, "PEOPLE": I think the public was fascinated with Fergie because here was this good-time party girl who found herself in the royal family. She didn't really exhibit the required stature or dignity whatsoever.

QUEST: With her husband away on naval or royal duties, soon, scandal beckoned. A series of photos published in early 1992 left the British public in no doubt that Sarah had been playing around, from the pictures of her with the Texan Steve Wyatt to the famous toe- sucking pictures that scandalized even a public used to naked women on page three of their national papers.

O'NEILL: I mean, sucking toes. It's not like it was pornographic. It was just so undignified, and the tabloids had such a good time with it that it really was the first time that the royal family was opened up to such ridicule.

QUEST: Andrew and Sarah agreed to separate, and it was only January. Another royal marriage, this time Princess Anne's, was also finished off in 1992.

Although the princess royal, as she was known, and her husband, Captain Mark Phillips, had lived apart for several years, the final decision to divorce was tainted by tittle-tattle. For her, it was love letters from a member of the palace household. For him, it was claims of fathering an illegitimate child.

O'NEILL: That whole year and then all of those scandals really opened the royal family up to criticism and made people wonder: Why are they there? They're not so different from us. They are not really this dignified symbol of our country. So why do we have them? It made them much more vulnerable as an institution.

QUEST: If this was all good for gossip, the breakdown of Charles and Diana's marriage was far more serious stuff. After all, this involved the future of monarchy. Any illusion that the palace had created of a couple in love went right out of the window with two foreign visits, a trip to South Korea, where they were nicknamed "The Glums," and Diana at the Taj Mahal, the temple to love, sitting there alone. O'NEILL: The mess about Charles and Diana overtook all other perceptions of the royal family. You didn't really care that year what the queen had to say in her Christmas address. All you cared about was what other illness Di had developed because she was so depressed with her marriage to Charles, and really it just became a soap opera about Charles and Di.

QUEST: The publication of a semi-official book, "Diana: Her True Story," finished the illusion. The year continued with scandal after scandal, more photos of Sarah, tapes of Diana's extramarital flirtations, leaks and rumors. they filled the British papers.

ANSON: The private lives of the royal family dominated the news more than their public duties. And the function of the monarchy is to perform public duties. It's not to have their private lives played out in public. But, inevitably, that happened.

QUEST: Then an event that hit the queen really hard, her favorite home going up in flames. Windsor Castle is the queen's weekend retreat, the oldest inhabited castle in the world. The Queen and Andrew had joined the firemen and households to salvage treasures as the flames consumed the historic building.

(on camera): It wasn't enough that the castle had burned. There then followed a nasty row over who would pay for the renovations and repairs. The public rebelled against the government picking up the $100 million bill, so a compromise was reached. The Queen agreed to open up Buckingham Palace to tourists during the summer. The proceeds from that and from the castle would be used to do the repairs. And oh, yes, during the year, the Queen also agreed to pay income tax for the first time.

(voice-over): With her family and castle in ruins, it was an ill and sorry-sounding queen who gave a speech that defined her year.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Nineteen Ninety-two is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, "It has turned out to be an annus horribilis." "

QUEST: And, then, in December, a conclusive, if subdued announcement from the palace. Charles and Diana officially separated. It was a fitting end to a difficult year.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And we're only up to the mid-'90s. Please stay with us for another decade of royal scandals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LADY COLIN CAMPBELL, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: The British tabloids are extremely invasive. And they will stop at nothing to get a story. They simply started to give everybody a tremendously hard time.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAHN: From the tabloids to the princes, to the queen herself. That's next.

And, later, we remember another famous royal who has had good times and plenty bad.

Plus, could the cardinals be looking to Africa in their search for the next pope?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Now on to part two of our story on the scandal-scarred House of Windsor.

Here again, Richard Quest on the heartbreak and death of everyone's favorite princess.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST (voice-over): In 1996, the tabloids heralded the details of Charles and Diana's divorce. The prince of Wales carried on with his royal duties. He also quietly continued his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. Though no longer married into the royal family, Diana continued to capture the public's affection.

She also continued her search for love. It was a pursuit that would keep her on the front pages of London's tabloids and play a key role in her tragic death in a Paris tunnel. In 1997, Diana died when her car crashed as it sped to allude paparazzi on motorbikes.

Hundreds of millions of people around the world tuned in to see the funeral of Princess Diana. As the nation mourned, the tabloids agreed to show some restraint in their future coverage, at least when it came to covering the two young princes.

CAMPBELL: The British tabloids are extremely invasive. And they will stop at nothing to get a story. They simply started to give everybody a tremendously hard time.

QUEST: In 2003, an expose, "A Royal Duty," the "New York Times" best-seller written by the former palace butler Paul Burrell. As part of his unflattering portrait of the Windsors, Burrell describes standing trial, charged with stealing from Kensington Palace.

O'NEILL: The trial went on for some time before the queen had a recollection that Paul did in fact tell her very early on that Diana had given him some things for safekeeping.

PAUL BURRELL, FORMER PALACE BUTLER: This whole saga could have been avoided if only the police in the United Kingdom and the prosecution lawyers had listened to the facts from the very beginning. It was they, not me or my family, who first mentioned in court a sensitive tape about a rape in the royal palace.

QUEST: During that trial, it came to light that an old tape might exist on which another royal servant, George Smith, had told Diana he was raped by a palace valet. Though no such tape has ever been found, the press couldn't resist the salacious accusations of such a well-placed, although dubious palace source.

O'NEILL: It has to be said about his story that so many people are saying that he's not a credible source and that this really is the tabloids just grabbing a kind of sad man who has a lot of troubles.

QUEST: The palace pointed out Smith's past alcohol abuse, as well as his documented history of making unsubstantiated claims. Still, when he later claimed to have witnessed an intimate situation involving his supposed rapist and the man he identified as a senior royal, the palace sued to block the interview's circulation.

O'NEILL: Even if it wasn't being printed, people were talking about this all over London. It was all over the Internet. And so, Charles' people came out and said, Prince Charles is the senior royal in question, although what they're saying happened never happened.

QUEST: Even Princess Diana's death became the stuff of tabloid fodder. Six years after that fateful crash, "The Daily Mirror" printed a letter written by Diana in which she said her ex-husband would one day have her killed.

SIMON PERRY, "PEOPLE": There was an inquest that's been opened early 2004 to get to the bottom of the cause of Diana's death. While that letter made great headlines and quite clearly will be part of the investigation, that investigation was going to be happening anyway. Anyone who dies abroad and who is a British citizen is the subject to an inquest when their body comes home.

QUEST: While her children have provided lurid grist for the media, the queen has stayed, by and large, clear from the tarring. She has kept her dignity, doing her best to embody the dignified British ideal in royalty.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: I would like, above all, to declare my resolve to continue with the support of my family to serve the people of this great nation of ours to the best of my ability through the changing times ahead.

QUEST: In 2002, the queen left no doubt. This Elizabethan era is not over yet. The queen intends to stay on the throne. She sees it as a job for life.

ANSON: And the queen, from having worked for her for seven years, enjoys her work. But even if she didn't enjoy it, she regards it as her duty to do what she vowed she would do.

ROBERT JOBSON, ROYAL COMMENTATOR: What will happen, I think, as she gets older, is, she will hand more and more responsibility towards Prince Charles and her other children. But she will continue to reign as monarch until she dies.

QUEST: It is easy to see the Windsors as nothing more than a soap opera, played out for the world. But that ignores the very fact that this isn't just about royalty, but about monarchy, the constitutional head of a nation and government. The queen has played her part for more than 50 years with perfection, putting duty before family, country before person. It will be an extraordinary person who can do better.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Of course, there is Prince Charles' latest headache. He and Camilla had to postpone their wedding for a day. He'll be representing the queen at Friday's funeral for Pope John Paul II. And then, on Saturday, Charles and Camilla will finally wed. And CNN will begin its coverage of the wedding at 6:00 a.m. Eastern on Saturday. The coverage will continue throughout the weekend.

Coming up in a moment, why a cardinal from Africa could be next in line for the papacy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And still, an African cardinal who many people think should be the next pope.

Plus, an outspoken conservative journalist, even called the prince of darkness by some of his critics, talks about a moment of truth and the start of his own journey of faith.

First, it's just about a quarter past the hour. Time to check in with Erica Hill of Headline News.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula.

We begin with a line of violent thunderstorms that spawned several tornadoes and have left behind some massive damage in the Southeast. Mississippi took the brunt of things. It was put under a state of emergency after two dozen homes were destroyed. The roof of one school was actually torn off while kids were still there. Meteorologists believe the storm front could be headed for parts of Alabama, Tennessee and Florida.

It is a moment Saddam Hussein surely never expected to see, Iraq's National Assembly naming a Kurd, Jalal Talabani, as the nation's new president. The former president toppled by war two years ago reportedly did see it, though, on television in his prison cell. Tomorrow, the assembly is expected to name a new prime minister.

He became famous defending the famous. And former clients Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson were among the celebrities at Johnnie Cochran's funeral in Los Angeles today. During his career, the defense attorney also took on some high-profile civil rights cases. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were among those delivering remarks. Cochran died last week of a brain tumor.

And those are some of the stories we're following right now at Headline News -- Paula, back to you.

ZAHN: Erica, thanks so much. It is time again to make your choice for person of the day. You can vote on our Web site, CNN.com/Paula. Today's choices, NASA for rolling the space shuttle Discovery out to the launchpad. This shuttle mission will be the first since the Columbia disaster. Bobbi Parker, the prison warden's wife who reappeared more than 10 years after being kidnapped during a prisoner escape, or ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, for focusing the nation's attention on lung cancer and the dangers of smoking.

Again, you can vote at CNN.com/Paula. We'll have the results for you a bit later on tonight.

In just a minute, my colleague Anderson Cooper joins us from Vatican City. And then, a little bit later on, the fiery conservative sometimes referred to as the prince of darkness, he reveals his own path to faith and conversion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back.

About two million people have filed past the body of Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica. And thousands more are still waiting for their chance.

Let's go to Rome and my colleague Anderson Cooper -- Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Paula.

The crush of people here has continued all day. And the official U.S. delegation arrived a few hours ago and came right here to St. Peter's. President Bush and the first lady, along with his father, former President Bill Clinton as well, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice all knelt by the pope's body. Some 200 world leaders expected here for Friday's funeral.

And security, I can tell you, is ramping up big time.

Here is Alessio Vinci.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN ROME BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The largest security challenge so far has been controlling a growing crowd trying to reach Saint Peter's Square. Italian officials say they had a plan for the pope's death, but they had no idea millions would show up to pay their last respects to John Paul II. Because, they say, up to five million people could be involved by the time the funeral ends on Friday, they only had a matter of days to adapt their security plan.

Despite the long wait to see the pope's body, officials say the crowd has not been hostile towards security forces. But they are not taking any chances.

The defense shield will reach its peak on Friday when close to 200 heads of state and government, including the current and two past U.S. presidents, will sit in Saint Peter's Square, attending the pope's funeral.

Most dignitaries will have a security detail. But officials here say the deployment of security forces will reach close to 15,000 men and women, including hundreds from the military.

It already seems as if every street, corner and piazza around the Vatican and beyond is being carefully watched. Key areas are being monitored with cameras linked to police headquarters. The River Tiber is patrolled 24 hours a day.

The airspace over Rome in a range of 60 kilometers has been shut to private aircraft. And commercial air traffic will be reduced drastically by Thursday night. And, on Friday, the entire city of Rome has been declared a no-driving zone.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That was CNN's Alessio Vinci.

And I can tell you, it is tough getting around Rome tonight. One thing is certain. No matter how devote some in the crowds here in Rome may be, they can never, never have spent as much time in a church pew as they spent these days and nights waiting in line.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): In the dead of night, they wait on a line that seems to have no end. Many will wait six hours or more. The police hold their lines, so no one breaks through.

(on camera): This group here has been waiting for about 20 minutes in this one spot. The police are about to let them go through. And they'll run all the way over to that spot. Here they go.

Then, once the group gets to the barricades, they have to stop again. You're sort of just stuck here. And you can tell it is pretty close quarters. Everyone is sort of stuck right now to each other.

You see scenes like this a lot. People are standing around for so long, some of them actually pass out. They faint, because -- either from the pressure of the crowd or lack of food or water because they've been standing in line so long. The paramedics are on the scene here. The crowd parts and the crowd calls over the medical technicians to come. And now they're going to bring this person out.

(voice-over): Children sit exhausted. So do adults. Those stuck standing watch what's happening inside. Everywhere, there is music, giant speakers on every block. Finally, after hours of waiting, the crowds enter St. Peter's Square.

(on camera): When the crowds finally arrive here, at the heart of St. Peter's Square, within sight of St. Peter's Basilica, these people know that soon they will be able to say goodbye one last time to Pope John Paul II.

(voice-over): Tom Moscher and Ben Keeley are Catholic priests from Vermont. They feel lucky to be here.

BEN KEELEY, CATHOLIC PRIEST: The whole mass of humanity is swarming around this place. And, for a brief moment, the whole world is focusing on Rome. And we could be here in the -- I mean, we have cameras and we have microphones, but we could be in the 14th Century.

TOM MOSCHER, CATHOLIC PRIEST: It is timeless, absolutely timeless.

COOPER: Timeless and eternal. In the dead of night on this line, they stand together. In the dead of night on this line, no rich, no poor, no young, no old. In the dead of night, on this line, there is only faith.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The viewing of the pope's body will continue until Friday morning. The funeral is at 4:00 a.m. Eastern time. CNN, of course, will cover it live.

That's all for now from the Vatican -- Paula, back to you in New York.

ZAHN: Thanks, Anderson.

After this Polish pope, is the world ready for an African pope? Coming up, the man who is generating lots of buzz.

And we'll look back at a prince who married an American icon. He didn't live happily ever after, but he sure had plenty of good years.

And don't forget our person of the day. Will it be the folks at NASA for rolling the shuttle to the launchpad for the first post- Columbia disaster launch, Bobbi Parker, the kidnapped woman who has been found after more than 10 years, or newsman Peter Jennings for focusing our attention on lung cancer?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: The cardinals who face the difficult job of electing the next pope will begin their conclave 12 days from now. How long the voting will take, no one really knows. But the result could be revolutionary. One of the leading candidates is black. He's Nigerian and his name is Francis Arinze.

Here is special contributor Frank Sesno.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK SESNO, MSNBC SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR: He is the cardinal who could be pope, Cardinal Francis Arinze, an African who literally would change the complexion of the Catholic Church. Father Aniedi Okure, a Catholic University researcher and fellow Nigerian, thinks Arinze would be a tremendous boost to Catholics in the developing world, especially Africans.

FATHER ANIEDI OKURE, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: They'll be excited about it, and there would be a feeling of, OK, we are now part and parcel of the global church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the beginning of time...

SESNO: Described as charismatic and camera-ready, Francis Arinze personifies the diversity and the conservative religious traditions that shape the church today. He became a cardinal in 1985, and was groomed by Pope John Paul II.

Father George Clements (ph) first met Arinze more than 20 years ago in Nigeria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cardinal mirrors in great detail John Paul II. He is a conservative on theological issues, but he is certainly a champion of social justice.

SESNO: Arinze's homeland of Nigeria is now home to 20 million Catholics. Catholicism has grown faster in Africa in recent years than anywhere else. But it is a place where huge problems confront the church, including terrible ethnic and sectarian violence, grinding poverty, and the spread of HIV/AIDS. 25 million people are infected with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. In some countries, AIDS has led to a lost generation.

Arinze follows the example of John Paul II, offering comfort to the sick and dying, while preaching abstinence and monogamy, not contraception or condoms. Pope John Paul II made the developing world a priority. He reached out to non-Catholics, something the next pope surely will pursue, particularly to Islam, a religion that has been tarnished by extremists who use it to justify deadly acts of terrorism.

For nearly two decades, Arinze was the pope's chief liaison with other faiths in his native Nigeria, half the population is Muslim.

OKURE: I think that he is constantly is bringing up the issue of Islam and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with Islam, based on his experience in Nigeria.

SESNO: Father Clements says Arinze would energize African- American Catholics, but it does not minimize the impact a black pope would have on the flock worldwide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would change the entire dynamic of what it means to be a Catholic. White people have never, ever really experienced anything of that magnitude.

SESNO: Many of Cardinal Arinze's views are at odds with liberals within the church, especially in Europe and the U.S., and he's already felt the heat. Two years ago in a speech at Georgetown University, Arinze warned that the family is "under siege" and warned against an "anti-life mentality" and "homosexuality." Some in the auditorium walked out, but mostly, overwhelmingly it seems, Cardinal Francis Arinze is respected as a serious religious figure and a powerful personality. Some see the potential for a powerful symbolic moment here, as powerful as when a cardinal from Poland became pope.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: In case you want to handicap, one betting service puts Cardinal Arinze's odds at being elected pope at 11 to 4. Together with Italy's Cardinal Tettamanzi, they are the early favorites.

I talked about the possibility of an African pope with Bishop Desmond Tutu who met with Pope John Paul II several times while Tutu was the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and working very hard to end apartheid.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Archbishop Tutu, great to see you again. Thank you so much for being with us.

What difference would having an African pope make to your continent and the rest of the world?

DESMOND TUTU, ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS: It would say Africa was being taken very seriously, that people are aware that the Roman Catholic Church is growing by leaps and bounds in Africa, and it is time, as it was time to have a non-Italian pope,such as John Paul II, so it will be time to have a pope come from Africa because the last African pope was about nearly 2,000 years ago.

ZAHN: But Archbishop Tutu, a spokesman for the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference had this to say, quote, "The cardinals enjoy a huge number of Africans become Christians, but they don't think we are ready for high positions...they fear paganism might come through the back door." Do you fear that attitude?

TUTU: (LAUGHING) Well, I suppose -- I mean, they -- people would have said as they said about us, with our political development in South Africa, that no, these black people are not yet ready to rule. And then we produce a Nelson Mandela and they are amazed that blacks can in fact be as competent and as able as it has turned out to be.

ZAHN: Archbishop Tutu, in your country now, you have a staggering 25 million people infected with AIDS. The current Vatican policy bans the use of condoms. Does that have to change to save your country?

TUTU: Most of us accept that abstinence ought to be what everybody wants to do, but we live in a less than perfect world, and it has been shown that condoms do in fact have an -- a very important impact on the spread of AIDS. And so one would hope that this great church would come to the point where it accepted that they would have to change their policy. ZAHN: Finally, Archbishop Tutu, in 1984, you were among a group of church leaders who met with the pope. What do you remember about any of the time you spent with Pope John Paul II?

TUTU: Yes. He was a very warm, engaging person, charismatic. He had the capacity to have a rapport with people, put you at your ease. And we were very glad that he had met with us because we were seeking to highlight the inequity of apartheid and he gave us his (UNINTELLIGIBLE) commitment and support and that was great for us. And I remember that very, very, very, very warmly.

ZAHN: Well, it is an honor to have you with us. Archbishop Tutu, thank you, so much, for your time.

TUTU: God bless you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Coming up, the prince of darkness talks about finding the light: the deeply religious, deeply personal journey of renowned political columnist Robert Novak.

And later, the true story of a prince who married a movie star and lived in a palace by the sea.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: The death of Pope John Paul II is a time of sadness and reflection for Roman Catholics all over the world. But here in the United States, there are more than 50 million Roman Catholics. One of them is a very familiar face. And he has a remarkable story of spiritual awakening.

Here's Judy Woodruff.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS" (voice-over): One day some years ago, that this man known to many as the prince of darkness, walked into one of the oldest churches in Washington and saw the light. Robert David Novak, veteran journalist, fiery conservative, born a Jew, converted Catholic.

On many days here's where you'll find him, in the pews of St. Patrick's Church. Today, reflecting on the pope.

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I'm a poor mortal. And I know certainly not as -- probably not as good -- nearly a good a Christian as most of the people sitting in the church. And certainly not better.

WOODRUFF: The hard bitten, often acerbic columnist traces his spiritual growth. He was raised by loving Jewish parents in a modest home in Joliet, Illinois.

NOVAK: Family was not very observant. My father had never been bar mitzvahed, and his father was not very good Jew. But I was bar mitzvahed.

WOODRUFF: Novak calls the event his last association with Judaism. He says he never really connected with the faith.

So the years passed, and the little boy grew up, left for college, moved to Washington, became a fixture on the political scene, got married, had children and grandchildren. A full life. Yet, something was lacking.

NOVAK: I was -- I was kind of feeling a spiritual need all those years. We -- my wife, Jordan (ph), and I went to an Episcopalian church for awhile. It just seemed very political to me. The guy was a liberal and was talking about opposing the war in Vietnam, and I didn't want to hear that when I went to church. I wanted something spiritual.

WOODRUFF: Then in the early '90s, the Novaks discovered St. Patrick's Catholic Parish. They started attending services every Sunday.

NOVAK: I liked it very much, because they were about God and redemption. And we're all sinners. And -- but there is forgiveness. And there was almost never anything political.

WOODRUFF: But conversion was something he never contemplated, until the late '90s. He was in Syracuse giving a speech, and he met a young woman and they got talking about religion.

NOVAK: And she said, "Are you going to convert?"

And I said, "No, we have no such plans."

And she said, "Well, Mr. Novak, she said, life is temporary, but faith is eternal."

WOODRUFF (on camera): So one brief conversation was with someone was enough to turn the key?

NOVAK: Well, it was the Holy Spirit talking to me. It was telling me that it was time to go. I had that feeling.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): So in May of 1998, Robert David Novak was baptized a Catholic here in St. Patrick's.

Bob Novak tries to be a good Catholic, attends mass regularly, abides by church traditions, all the while maintaining his characteristic bombast.

NOVAK: The Democrats are entitled to be just as vile as they want.

WOODRUFF: But he says he honestly believes that his faith has made him a better man.

NOVAK: People laugh at that because they -- they know some of my faults. But I don't think they realize how bad a person I was before I became a Christian. And a Catholic.

WOODRUFF: And so it was that the prince of darkness embraced the prince of peace.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: That was Judy Woodruff with our colleague, "CROSSFIRE" co- host Robert Novak.

Still ahead, the prince who convinced an Oscar winning actress to give up her career for love.

And don't forget to vote for our person of the day. Go to CNN.com/Paula and vote for the people of NASA, who had the Space Shuttle Discovery ready to go again. Or for Bobbie Parker, the woman who's just turned up more than a decade after her kidnapping. Or for Peter Jennings, who's reminded all of us about the dangers of smoking and lung cancer.

First, it's about a quarter to the hour, time again to check in with Erica Hill of Headline News.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS: Hi, Paula.

We begin in Afghanistan with the deadliest military crash there since U.S. troops were deployed to the country in 2001. And bad weather is to blame. At least 16 are dead. Two others on board are still unaccounted for. The U.S. military says the Chinook helicopter was on a routine mission when it encountered severe weather southwest of Kabul.

Back stateside, jury selection began today in the trial of alleged serial bomber Eric Rudolph. Rudolph is accused of killing a police officer and seriously injuring a nurse during the bombing of a Birmingham women's clinic seven years ago. He's also charged with the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. His trial should begin in June.

The space Shuttle Discovery is slowly heading to a launch pad, as Paula mentioned. NASA delayed the rollout for two hours so engineers could check out a small crack in the insulation foam. NASA says the shuttle, though, is still OK to fly. Discovery's next launch next month will be first shuttle flight since the Columbia disaster in February of 2003.

Reverend Jerry Falwell is now out of the hospital after his second visit in two months. Nine days ago, Falwell was rushed to the hospital after respiratory arrest. His son says there is not a definitive diagnosis.

I'm Erica Hill. That's the latest from Headline News. PAULA ZAHN NOW returns in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: This week we're seeing the world change before our eyes. On Friday, the funeral for a pope. On Saturday, the wedding of Prince Charles. And today, the death of another royal, Prince Rainier of Monaco.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): Prince Rainier's world was a man's fantasy: a beautiful woman, fast cars, money, power, Riviera sunshine, high rise hotels, world famous casinos. At one time or another, he had it all, and he had a lot of time to have it all. He was Europe's longest reigning monarch, ascending the throne in 1949 at the age of 25.

Why will we remember him? No debate, it's the stuff of romance novels and Hollywood legends. At the 1955 Cannes Film Festival, he met American superstar Grace Kelly. She had already won an Oscar by then. She went on to win the prince's heart. And broke hearts all over the world when she married him the following year.

They broke again harder when she died in a car crash in 1982. But there were many good years in their little principality by the sea. Little. Monaco actually covers less land than New York's Central Park.

The prince's 56 year reign will be remembered as a golden age. He kept Monaco a tax haven, a place for international millionaires to gamble at luxurious casinos. And he oversaw a building boom and attracted high tech businesses.

Prince Rainier really did have it all. But he also had all the problems that come with having it all. His wife died tragically. His pain was unbearable. Trouble and scandals with his daughters, Princess Caroline and Stephanie.

His son and successor, 47-year-old prince Albert II is unmarried and childless. So there are questions about the future of Monaco's monarchy.

And at the end of his 81 years, a long period of ill health. In the real world, living happily ever after sometimes comes with a very heavy price.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And legend has it there has been a curse on Monaco's royal dynasty for 700 years, a jilted bride vowing that the family would never have long and successful marriages.

When we come back, our person of the day. Will it be NASA for rolling the Space Shuttle Discovery to the launch pad for the first time since the Columbia disaster? Prison warden's wife Bobbie Parker who just reappeared after being kidnapped 10 years ago? Or Peter Jennings, whose illness is focusing attention on lung cancer and the dangers of smoking? Find out next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Time to reveal our person of the day. The choices again, NASA, for rolling out the Space Shuttle Discovery for the first launch since the Columbia disaster. Bobbie Parker, the kidnapped wife of a prison warden who just reappeared after 10 years. And Peter Jennings, whose illness is focusing the nation's attention on lung cancer and smoking.

And the person you chose, Peter Jennings.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER JENNINGS, ABC ANCHOR: I have lung cancer. Yes, I was a smoker until about 20 years ago. And I was weak and then I smoked over 9/11. But whatever the reason, the news does slow you down a bit.

ZAHN: Peter Jennings' announcement that he has lung cancer slowed a lot of people down. Yes, we all know smoking causes cancer. The government has been telling us that since 1964 and putting warnings on cigarette packs. And we all know that people still light up, despite the truly frightening numbers.

About 160,000 Americans will die from lung cancer every year. It's the leading killer among cancers, claiming more lives each year than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. Eighty-two percent of lung cancer deaths are blamed on smoking; 82 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 23 percent of U.S. adults are smokers. Seventy percent of them would like to quit. But like Peter Jennings, they can't give it up completely. And any given year, fewer than five percent of adults who do quit are able to stay off cigarettes for more than 12 months.

Perhaps Jennings' ravaged voice will make some of them try again or even see their doctors.

JENNINGS: But almost 10 million Americans are already living with cancer, and I have a lot to learn from them. And living is the key word. The National Cancer Institute says that we are survivors from the moment of diagnosis.

I will continue to do the broadcast. On good days my voice will not always be like this.

ZAHN: Peter, all of us, including our viewers who made you our person of the day, are pulling for you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Have a great night.

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