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Pope Francis Arriving in New York City. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired September 24, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:19] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Pope in New York. Pope Francis starting a second leg of his historic trip to the United States, arriving shortly in the city that's home to one of the country's largest Catholic populations. How will the Pope's focus shift on this part of this trip?
Francis mania. Huge crowds are already forming here in New York City, waiting to catch a glimpse of the Pope tonight. He has major events scheduled tomorrow all across town. Is New York City ready for this logistical nightmare?
And lecturing lawmakers. The Pope touches on controversial issues in his unprecedented address to Congress, taking positions popular on both sides of the aisle. Will the Pope's speech have any impact on congressional gridlock?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer, live outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, the arrival of Pope Francis here in New York City. Anderson Cooper is joining us for our special coverage of this, the second leg of the pontiff's historic visit to the United States.
Anderson, a huge moment in U.S. history.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and certainly in New York history, as well. A city which is used to visiting dignitaries, but they have not seen anything like this. The security operation is major here.
Just outside Washington, you see the Pope will be arriving at Kennedy Airport from taking off at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington. The Pope first addressed Congress today. From Kennedy, he's going to take a helicopter into the island of Manhattan, make a short procession along Fifth Avenue coming here where we are to St. Patrick's Cathedral, literally stopping right behind us. The pontiff will lead an evening prayer service.
BLITZER: Special evening prayer service for all who are invited. We're covering all of these remarkable events this hour with our correspondents, our analysts and our special guests.
Our national correspondent, Jason Carroll, is along the route the Pope will take from a Manhattan heliport here at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Jason, what's the scene? Set it for us.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, Wolf, there are thousands of people where we are right here along Fifth Avenue. I want you to take a look. As we've been standing here all day the crowd has just been growing and growing. Wolf, I've met people from Brazil, from Germany, people who came up from Florida, Texas.
Where are you shouting out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Portugal.
CARROLL: Portugal, as well. The Philippines, as well. Unfortunately, Wolf, what I've found is in talking to a number of these people who gathered out here said they thought they could just come and see the Pope. Many of them did not realize they actually needed tickets.
I want to make my way over to one such couple. They came all the way from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I've got Anne and I also have...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David.
CARROLL: David Richard, not Richard again, because they're from Louisiana. Tell me, you've been here since 9:30 this morning. So much expectation to see this Pope. Tell me why you decided to come out and what you hope to see.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just love the Pope, because he's so truthful in everything he does. He's not scared to speak the truth.
CARROLL: Now there was one moment here I know that we all saw, and I just want to make sure our audience sees. Bob, why don't we show where we're standing in front of Fifth Avenue. It's actually Trump Tower. And at one point, Wolf, just about an hour or so ago, the GOP candidate himself came by and was greeted by cheers and also jeers here in the crowd. What do you think of that, Mr. Trump coming through the crowd at one point and entering his building?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was a good photo moment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was also a good photo moment. And I thought maybe he would kind of at least greet some of the people, but he didn't. He just turned around and went back in.
CARROLL: All right. Well, thank you. I hope you get your glimpse of the Pope. I also want to show you right here, because I know it's somewhat of a strange sight, this sanitation truck. These are some of the security measures that were put in place here. We've seen dozens and dozens of these trucks blocking streets, feeding into this particular area. Again, one of the many security measures in place as thousands, again, gather along Fifth Avenue, waiting to get their glimpse of the Pope -- Anderson. COOPER: Thanks very much. I also want to check in with our Alexandra
Field. She's also along the route with the crowds eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis.
Alexandra, explain where you are and what you're seeing around you.
[07:05:05] ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we're on 56th and Fifth, and this is really as close as you can get to seeing the Pope if you didn't get one of those tickets that Jason was mentioning.
This is really the part where, if you see the people who are standing next to me, they're packed in here, because they are hoping to see some part of the Pope's motorcade when he leaves St. Patrick's after the prayer service.
Further down Fifth Avenue, when you get closer to St. Patrick's there are actually these big walls, these gates that have been put up for security reasons. And what those gates do is they put people with tickets to see the Pope on one side, the general public on the other side. And police are moving people through that area. They don't want anyone stopping and standing there for safety and security reasons.
So if you didn't get a ticket, you're congregated out here. And you've got people who came out here with their babies. They want their babies and their children to see history. They've got their selfie sticks out here. They've got their cameras, their cell phones. They're shooting us; we're shooting them.
How long have you guys been out here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are French people. We are maybe two hours here.
FIELD: We've got French people here. We've spoken to people who came here from the Philippines, because they say they didn't get to see the Pope there.
We spoke to a group from Mexico, a group of women who came from California made their plans to come to New York as soon as they heard the Pope would be here.
And again, Anderson, these are people who've been out here for hours. One woman said she came out here at 3 a.m. because she wanted to get as close to the route as possible. They won't be seeing the Pope, but they want to see some part of the motorcade. They want to just be in the presence of this, Wolf.
COOPER: Alexandra, let me just ask you, in order to -- and we're looking at the Pope's plane as it is beginning to approach the runway here in New York. Just very quickly, in order to get there, did those people have to pass through metal -- metal detectors?
FIELD: The people who are standing where I am right now did not have to do that. But what we saw for blocks and blocks as you head this point south toward St. Patrick's, where all the side streets, which are closed off, people who had tickets were queued up by the hundreds really, the length of those side streets, and then they would go through the magnetometers. They would have their bags searched before they could move into the secure area, which is closer to the route that the Pope will take.
What we have seen here, with the people who are out here without tickets, they have seen the Popemobile which has been put in place, and, of course, that now iconic Fiat, which he's been making his tour of the U.S. in.
COOPER: Alexandra, thanks very much.
BLITZER: You know, Anderson, this is what they call Shepherd One. Whatever plane the Pope is on, it's called Shepherd One. This is an American Airlines chartered jet that is bringing Pope Francis from Washington, D.C., to New York City, about to land at JFK Airport. He'll have a warm -- little warm arrival ceremony there, and then he'll be helicoptered here into Manhattan.
Jim Sciutto is watching what's going on. You're a New Yorker, Jim. Anderson's a New Yorker. Maybe both of you can give us some perspective. How extraordinary is what's going on in New York City right now?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you, Wolf, New York is a city of many races, many faiths, as you know, many ethnicities, but there are a lot of Catholics here. But also whether you're a Catholic or not, this is a New York moment.
And as the Pope lands out there at JFK, he's going to get a welcome befitting this Pope. There are going to be five young children from New York area Catholic schools. They're going to give him a book of prayers compiled from 86 Catholic schools around the city.
But they're also going to be homeless people there served by the Catholic church, elderly people from a nursing home, getting right to the Pope's mission and message throughout this trip and really throughout his papacy. It's about serving those in need.
We heard some of that when he was speaking to Congress earlier today. But I'll tell you, and Anderson will echo this, there's a high school band out there from Xaverian Brothers High School in New York. They'll play songs to welcome him. One of those songs, fittingly, Wolf and Anderson, is going to be "New York, New York." Can't get a bigger New York welcome than that.
COOPER: Yes. Their version of Frank Sinatra's "New York New York." There's going to be quite a welcome. There's also going to be -- there's a lot of kids from all the different schools in Brooklyn, from the diocese schools. And there's going to be people, as well, dressed in ethnic garb based on where they are originally from. It's a message we heard, again, the importance of immigration to this Pope, a message he gave to a joint -- joint meeting of Congress earlier today.
BLITZER: And the Pope really went out of his way to make the point that almost everyone in America, except for Native Americans, are children of immigrants. And we're all immigrants, for all practical purposes. That's a major theme that the Pope has delivered ever since arriving here in the United States. His first visit ever, by the way Anderson, to the United States.
I want to just point out this American Airlines charter, when he's in the United States they always will charter an American Airlines plane. When he's in other countries they charter different planes, but it's typically called Shepherd One, as opposed to Air Force One.
COOPER: I want to bring in our -- as we continue to look at these live images from the airport, I want to bring in our CNN Vatican correspondent, Delia Gallagher, also CNN religious commentator, the Reverend Edward Beck, all of whom are with us out here, outside St. Patrick's.
[17:10:03] Delia, in terms of the importance of coming to New York for this Pope and the importance, really, of coming to the United States, I think it surprises a lot of people to learn it is his first visit to the United States in his entire life.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. I mean, if you consider that he's 78 years old, and he has never been significant in the sense that he's not been a lot of places. You know, this is a man who'd really like to stay at home with his people, with the people of Argentina, as he did while he was bishop and archbishop. He hadn't even been to the holy land until he went there as Pope last year.
So now that he's come to New York, I think we're shifting slightly from what we saw in Washington, when he was speaking to the American people and emphasizing, "I am one of you from the Americas." And now we see him coming to New York. And tomorrow speaking at the U.N., where he will probably continue that theme, but obviously, on an international scale, speaking to a larger audience.
BLITZER: Excitement clearly building over there at JFK as the Pope -- the plane has touched down now. And he's going to be getting off that plane. There'll be a little arrival ceremony, Anderson, as you point out. Father Beck, this is a moment in New York City history, little American history, but New York City history. This city is really, really pumped up for this.
REVEREND EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGIOUS COMMENTATOR: It certainly is. And the crowd right behind us and the crowd we hear at the airport. And what's interesting to me, the first thing he's going to do, he's coming here to St. Patrick's to talk to his priests and religious. He's always been most challenging in his speeches to bishops, priests and religious, much more so than to the faithful.
In Havana, he went totally off script when he spoke to the priest in religious. He threw it aside. He spoke from the heart, and he said to them never hesitate to forgive somebody. They come to you, forgive them. Mercy should flow from you. And he didn't use his text at all.
So it will be very interesting here. Although the service will be in English, he will preach in Spanish. He'll have his text. But will he throw it aside, or will he stick to it and tell us what he thinks he should?
COOPER: And that whole emphasis on mercy and flexibility is a message that we have heard time and again from this pontiff to the pastors, to the bishops to really all levels within the church.
BECK: It really is. He's asking them to be shepherds, not airport bishops, not people who stay in their ivory palaces, or in their rectories, in their church, get out with the people.
COOPER: That term "airport bishops," the first time I heard it when I was starting to do research on this, that was something he actually said to the bishops. He was critical of bishops that he termed "the airport bishops," because they fly to international conferences more than focus on people in their community.
BECK: Well, you know, he always felt unusual. He never liked going to Rome. He liked staying in Buenos Aires. They had to drag him to Rome. And he said, "All of you bishops want to fly to Rome all the time? Why? You want to be seen in the Vatican? Stay where you are, do your work."
COOPER: Even encouraged people from Argentina not to come to Rome to celebrate when he became Pope. And he said, "Take the money you would have used to fly here and give it to the poor."
BECK: Even his poor sister. I think it's his sister. She has not seen him since he's elected, and he didn't even bring her over.
COOPER: Is that right? Really?
BECK: Yes. So finally he goes to Argentina next year, and he gets to see his poor sister.
BLITZER: By the way, the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, is behind us here at St. Patrick's Cathedral, getting ready to receive the pontiff once he gets here.
Delia, what was so impressive to me, a lot was impressive, but today after he addressed the U.S. Congress, a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, didn't have a big fancy lunch with all the political power players in Washington. He went to a homeless area Catholic Charities of D.C. Put together a luncheon so that he could meet with the homeless. And unfortunately, as all of us know, especially those of us who live in Washington, there are a lot of homeless.
GALLAGHER: Yes, that's a classic Pope Francis thing to do. I mean, he does that all the time at the Vatican, of course. And he's put out a lot of things for the homeless there, including showers, including barbers, including giving them money, literally.
So he went to the homeless, and he spoke to them. And he referred to the fact that the first family, Joseph and Jesus and Mary, didn't have a home, as well. And he brought in that gospel value, again, to say this is from the beginning of time that you are without a home. And why a society allowing this to continue.
COOPER: We should point out at the corner of the screen you see people in yellow vests. Those are workers who were involved in the restoration of St. Patrick's Cathedral, which is behind us. And as an honor to them and all the incredible work they did in restoring this glorious cathedral, they have a -- really, a special position right at the entrance.
There's two separate groups of people on either side of the entrance to St. Patrick's. The men and women there you see in the yellow vests, that's one group. Obviously, they want to get as close as they can to the Pope.
GALLAGHER: And we also just saw Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, obviously waiting to greet the Pope, as well.
BLITZER: It's a huge moment for Cardinal Dolan. A lot of our viewers are familiar with him. A very popular figure here in the United States.
BECK: You know what Cardinal Dolan said? He said, "If he uses that little Fiat, I've got to get in that backseat. So I hope he has a bigger car when he comes to New York."
[17:15:06] BLITZER: We'll see what he has once he gets off that helicopter. It's going to be landing, Anderson, closer to Wall Street.
COOPER: That's right. It will be further down on Wall Street, which is on the East Side of the island of Manhattan. We're closer to the West Side now. So he's actually going to drive up the -- northward up the East Side of Manhattan. We believe he's going to be using that Fiat initially and then switch to the Popemobile as he comes down Fifth Avenue. But here you see Shepherd One taxiing toward the welcome location.
BLITZER: A short -- less than an hour of flight from Joint Base Andrews outside of Washington, D.C. Here at JFK, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. And a short helicopter ride, one of ten, fifteen minutes at best, right, Anderson, from JFK to lower Manhattan?
COOPER: I usually drive, so I'm not sure how long it is. But I've dreamed of a helicopter flight.
BLITZER: Not necessarily something that all of us do on a regular basis. A nice majestic sight to see the U.S. f lag, see the flag of the Vatican flying on this American Airlines charter plane from Washington to New York.
Congressman John Garamendi is a Democrat from California. He's a member of the armed services committee. He was there today along with almost everyone in the U.S. Congress, members of the House and Senate, how did it feel for you, Congressman Garamendi, to be an eyewitness to history in the U.S. Congress?
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: It was wonderful. It was absolutely wonderful. It was very spiritual. It was enlightening. And you come away from that session and yesterday at the White House you just go this is a very, very good human being.
And he's calling upon all of us to emulate that goodness. And we've got an enormous task ahead of us to come anywhere close to the goodness of this man.
COOPER: How did you feel his message was received by people on both sides of the aisle? Because there was enough there for people on either side of the aisle to -- to embrace. There was something probably to perhaps irk people on either side of the aisle, but he really did call on members of Congress to come together to end gridlock, to try to accomplish things for those most in need.
GARAMENDI: Well, he laid out the human and the environmental challenges that we all face. And told us, as members of Congress, that we have an enormous responsibility to meet the needs of the people we represent. And also to have the courage to do so.
And he laid it out there, the Golden Rule, do unto others as they would have them do unto you. And that was really speaking across the aisle. All too often, we're throwing bricks across the aisle. And he suggested that might not be a very good thing to do. Measure others by the same way they're going to measure you.
Different ways -- themes that are common but really spoke directly to us and the challenges that we face, the environmental challenge, climate change, the poverty that does exist not only here but around the world, refugees, immigration. He really laid it out and did it in a way that spoke to the moral underpinnings of each of those issues. It was profoundly important.
BLITZER: And once again he spoke at length about the death penalty, the death sentence which he strongly, of course, opposes. The tenor of the speech, Congressman, were you happy with it?
GARAMENDI: Yes, I was. I was, because he spoke to our own personal moral responsibilities. And while we may see that differently as the issues come before us, nonetheless the morality of what we do and what we must -- and the issues we must address are quite clear. How we go about doing it, he really suggested a way to deal with that. And that is to find the common ground, to find the middle ground.
And he did the same thing when he spoke at the White House yesterday. All in all, his visit here in Washington was, for me a very, very important moment in my life and in the work that I've been able to do these many, many years.
BLITZER: You speak as an American. You speak as a Catholic. You speak as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. But bottom line, Congressman, you're also a politician. Is it going to really have any difference in ending all the gridlock that has become so common place in Washington? GARAMENDI: It will have an impact. Will we see it immediately? I
don't know. But I know that many of my very conservative colleagues who are friends, and myself, saying we really have to pay attention to this. Let's see if we can find some of the common ground.
It's difficult. We know that we're faced with a very difficult situation next week as we come up against the funding of the United States government. And again, profoundly important issues are at stake. Homeless, children, Food Stamps, all of the kinds of things that we know poor people depend upon, as well as what are we going to do with our military?
And he also spoke to that issue about the arms trade, of which the United States is the single biggest arms trader in the world. He spoke to us very clearly about the moral responsibility that we have on that particular issue.
[17:20:08] COOPER: Congressman, we appreciate your time. It's been an extraordinary day in Washington.
And now the focus turns to here in New York. And as our viewers can see, the door of what is being called Shepherd One will open shortly. Pope Francis will make his first visit here to New York City.
I'm joined by Wolf Blitzer, if you're just joining us, also Father Edward Beck and our Vatican correspondent, Delia Gallagher.
This is a city, which has really now been preparing for this arrival for months, working in conjunction with the Secret Service, the NYPD, the FBI. A huge number of local, federal and state law enforcement agencies. The task is enormous, given that it's not just the Pope's arrival. It is also -- it is also the U.N. General Assembly. There's going to be president -- a visit by President Obama. There's a big concert in Central Park over the weekend.
It is a huge security undertaking. But right now it all seems to be moving smoothly. Some traffic gridlock, no doubt about it, but that's not going to be a problem for the pontiff as he gets off this plane, greets some school kids, members of the clergy, and then helicopters here to the island of Manhattan.
GALLAGHER: In fact, Anderson, one of the reasons that the Pope has given for wanting to come to the U.N. and talk about his encyclical, in particular on the environment, was because there is this climate week happening here in New York City in anticipation of the decisions that need to be made at the U.N. regarding the environment and in Paris in December at the Cop-21. He has specifically said it's for those two international events that he, in part, wrote his encyclical on the environment to influence discussions there.
BLITZER: He also made a point today, as we await the Pope -- he's going to be walking down those stairs momentarily, the American Airlines charter plane that brought him from Washington to New York. You see it right there. The Pope will come down. He'll be greeted, as Anderson said, by some school kids, other dignitaries and then board a helicopter to fly here to Manhattan. One of the things he said today, Father Beck, was "I am happy that
America continues to be, for many, a land of dreams."
BECK: Yes. And then he went onto quote Martin Luther King Jr. as giving that, of course, famous speech. And he spoke about it in the context of immigrants that people of different -- different ethnicities need to be welcomed to this country and dream their dream. And I thought that was a very poignant moment.
Also I should note here that it will be the bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio, who will welcome him, since JFK is in the diocese of Brooklyn. So he will welcome him there with the schoolchildren. And then once he lands at the heliport, I think, then Cardinal Dolan will welcome him there, the archbishop of New York.
COOPER: And all the kids are from schools and diocese of Brooklyn, as well.
BECK: There he is.
COOPER: Let's listen in.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
COOPER: It will be a very warm welcome for Pope Francis here in New York City over the next two days.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto is with us, as well. There we see Pope Francis. He is now on the ground in New York City. This is his first trip ever to the United States. It's amazing that he is here, and people are very, very excited. About 2.5 million Catholics, Jim, in New York City and the surrounding counties, the archdiocese of New York. And people are -- I assume they're watching television. They want to get a glimpse of the pontiff.
SCIUTTO: Watching television and lining those parade routes. And not just Catholics but certainly Catholics particularly excited. I'll admit I'm one of them.
And it's been interesting. The last week, Wolf, I've been speaking to Catholics who left the church. An estimated 3 million Catholics left the church since 2007. About half of adult Catholics in the U.S. say that that they've left the church for a time in the last several years. Disagreements with the church, too much of a focus on doctrine.
And when you speak to them today, you hear from many of them that he -- if he hasn't quite brought them back into church on every Sunday, he's caused them to look at the church again. A more welcoming spirit, a more forgiving spirit. A focus, as the Pope has often said and encouraged priests to do, is to focus on what the church is for rather than what it is against. Focus on service. And I've been hearing that from a lot of Catholics inspired by him. And frankly, though, Wolf, from non-Catholics, as well.
COOPER: And Jim, you see the Pope there greeting some of the kids who have been hand-picked to welcome him here.
One of the children just a few seconds ago handed him a virtual bouquet. It's actually a bouquet of prayers, books of prayers of school kids from around Brooklyn.
I talked to two kids who actually on the tarmac in Andrews Air Force Base when the Pope arrived in Washington and asked them about what it was like, a 6-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl. The 12-year-old had been selected because she had such good grades in her school. And they were just thrilled to -- thrilled -- beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to actually meet the pontiff.
BLITZER: And, Delia, they call him the people's Pope. You notice that he likes to actually shake hands with people. He's not waiting simply for someone to kiss his ring.
GALLAGHER: No, actually, and I see him here very relaxed and looking very much at ease compared to maybe even just the beginning of his trip. He seems to have kind of settled into it now, if we can just judge by his demeanor here.
And certainly for him, you know, I always try and think about what is the Pope thinking? And I think for him it's just a joy to be able to get out and be with people. Because he spends a lot of time in the Vatican. As much as he's tried to organize his living arrangements there so he can be amongst people, he's still very closed off and shut away. And as we were saying before, he's 78 years old. He spent much of his time walking around the streets of Buenos Aires, and in the...
COOPER: Riding public transportation.
GALLAGHER: ... riding public transportation in the shantytowns there. So, you know, to go from that to the Vatican, obviously, he couldn't live in that papal palace. Obviously, he tried to do the best he could to say I've got to have somewhere that's semi-normal. And -- and so when we see him amongst the crowds, I think part of that is just such a relief for him to be able to be with those people.
COOPER: It's interesting. He's one of the few people to be elected Pope who did not previously hold a top position in the Vatican. Isn't that right?
GALLAGHER: Absolutely. I mean, if we think of Pope Benedict, he was there for 26 years in the office there.
COOPER: You talk about an outsider in the world of politics. In a sense he was an outsider.
GALLAGHER: He's very much an outsider.
BECK: Which he said. He said, "They had to go to the farthest ends of the earth to get me."
COOPER: What does that say about what those who elected him were looking for, what they were hoping to get from him?
BECK: He gave a speech that they say got him elected. And the speech was a very telling speech where he called the bureaucracy of the Vatican needs to be dismantled.
COOPER: That was prior to being elected.
COOPER: To point out. Which the fact that he gave that speech prior to and then, nevertheless, was elected is very telling.
BECK: Well, and remember a lot of those supporting him were outside of Italy, too. And they wanted a change.
GALLAGHER: Well, remember that he was elected after the resignation of Pope Benedict. I mean, what a huge event that was. And what a shock for all of them, as well. So clearly, they understood that there was a problem within the bureaucracy of the curia of the Vatican offices. And I'm sure that the choice was also affected by that great shock.
BLITZER: Father Beck, I covered Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States back in 2008. Security was a lot different. Not as tight as it is now. And he was a lot different, Pope Benedict versus Pope Francis. Very different men.
BECK: Yes. You remember Pope Benedict was in the full covering of the Popemobile? This Pope has requested we don't have that. He said he feels like a sardine in those enclosures. So it will be a Jeep Wrangler that has been refitted. It is open and there will be a little bit more accessibility, I think, with this Pope.
Pope Benedict was a bit more reserved, not as gregarious, not as willing to wade into the crowd. So we will see a different affect with this Pope, certainly.
GALLAGHER: And remember, Wolf, that in 2008 it was a different time here, as well. The Catholic Church here was still going through very much the sex abuse crisis. And that was something that Benedict had to really deal with. So it was almost a much more serious trip when Pope Benedict was here with respect to, you know, the kind of air we're breathing now.
COOPER: It's interesting, Father Beck. You talked about that speech that he made before becoming Pope. He criticized self-referential tendency toward what he termed theological narcissistic in that speech. In other speeches, he's talked about the disease of the curia, the pathology of power, careerism and back-fighting. Delia, has he been able to make inroads in that?
GALLAGHER: Well, yes. Although it's very difficult to change millennia of Vatican bureaucracy, but I think the way you change it is not even so much in the structure. I mean, they are doing structural changes in combining offices and trying to streamline. Obviously, he's made headway in the Vatican bank. But the way you really change it is through attitudes, and the Pope
has said that, as well. The first change is attitudes and then structures. So I think he's trying to work on two levels. One is, you know, streamlining the actual offices and the way that they do things. But that is -- almost takes longer, perhaps, than being able to try and change the attitude of people and understand that you have to be more transparent, understand that you have to be more humble, that you shouldn't be driving around in fancy cars and wearing fancy shoes and going to fancy restaurants. And that sort of thing. So he's working on both levels with that. And I have to say with some resistance obviously. You know, a lot of people are used to having a fairly nice life there, not all of them of course but some resistance.
COOPER: It is extraordinary looking at these pictures when you think of the tens of thousands of people who are lining the streets of New York waiting for this pontiff and all the security preparations that are in place. He is certainly taking his time enjoying the interaction with these people on the tarmac who waited, school kids, people who work with the diocese in Brooklyn. People who received services from the diocese in Brooklyn, indigent people and others. And look at that, a doll.
GALLAGHER: Pope Francis doll. But that's one of the great signs of a leader, that he, you know, seems to just concentrate on exactly what's in front of him. Never in a rush. And yet the Vatican manages more or less to keep him on schedule even with all of his appointments.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Father Beck, when he does a little blessing like that for the kids, that is so touching.
FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: It is touching and you see the kids light up with it. And when he came out of the office of Father Lucio in Washington, we saw him go to those children and how they all lit up when he touched each of them. All of their -- I wanted to say to them put down those cameras, though, and focus on this man. This is a moment you'll never have again.
BLITZER: But they want a picture with the pontiff for the rest of their lives.
BECK: I know but --
BLITZER: They would cherish it.
BECK: But they'll say I also missed the moment of looking into his eyes and having him look into mine.
COOPER: With kids today it's not real unless there's a photo of it, you know.
BLITZER: He did say something so moving. He said a lot of moving words in his address before a Joint Meeting of Congress. But at one point he said let us remember the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Father, that was something that is so simple, we all know it, but it
was so moving as he boards this helicopter that will take him to lower Manhattan.
BECK: It's so simple yet I think his dream is if only we could do it. He said, remember, you are all foreigners once. We have all been immigrants. I am the son of immigrants. If you can remember that you want undo to you the same way that you do to others.
BLITZER: All right. This helicopter is going to carry the pontiff from JFK, from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Lower Manhattan. Should take maybe 10, 15 minutes of that. We'll take a quick break. Our special coverage, Pope Francis in America, just arriving in New York City. We'll be right back.
[17:37:30] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, the arrival of Pope Francis in New York City. There you see the U.S. Marine Corps helicopter that will take the pontiff from the JFK International Airport to Lower Manhattan. He'll then get in a motorcade and come here to St. Patrick's Cathedral for evening prayers.
We're reporting from St. Patrick's Cathedral. Anderson Cooper is with us.
These evening prayers it will be a short procession along Fifth Avenue getting up to St. Patrick's Cathedral, Anderson. We're -- the excitement clearly building. Those U.S. Marine Corps helicopters getting ready to take off from JFK to bring the pontiff to Manhattan.
Let's bring in our chief political correspondent Dana Bash, our senior political reporter Manu Raju, also our chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny for some analysis of what's going on.
Dana, you were there inside the chamber of the House of Representatives when the president delivered his address before a Joint Meeting of Congress. Give us an idea of the energy surrounding this Pope.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's really like nothing that I have ever witnessed, to be honest ever thought I could witness in an institution like the Congress. You had a lot of very veteran members of Congress, a lot of jaded members of Congress, of all religions, of all political persuasions pretty much, you know, completely focused on the Pope because everybody got the historic nature of it, but it wasn't just that, Wolf.
You know, he has a presence. He has a presence that anybody who has really been in the same room or been around him and obviously I was in the chamber with hundreds and hundreds of people so it wasn't like I was up close and personal with him. But you definitely got the sense the minute he walked through the doors and you heard that first ever cry from the sergeant in arms, Mr. Speaker, the Pope of the Holy See. And the fact of the matter is he was able to deliver his speech using
terms of phrase that made people think that he was speaking to them even in many cases when he disagreed with what they thought and what they're doing politically.
COOPER: And, Gloria, it was interesting. I mean, from a political standpoint there was certainly enough in the Pope's remarks to appeal to people on all sides of the aisle. But when talking about things like the sanctity of life, when talking about traditional relationships, he was using kind of elliptical terms whereas he was using much more concrete terms when talking about things like immigration and things which may appeal more to Democrats.
[17:40:08] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, that really struck me, Anderson. He was very specific about an agenda that would appeal to, say, President Obama or the Democrats. You know, things like immigration, climate change, all the rest. And it was much more elliptical to use your word on the sort of social cultural issues.
There was one thing that kind of struck me, though. And it was a moment when he was talking about dialogue and political leadership. And I thought it was kind of a subtle shout-out in a way to President Obama because he said, I would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes in the past. And I couldn't help but think, gee, maybe he's talking about the president's overture to Cuba in which he was a part of that.
And also, and I'm not sure about this of course, but also he might have been talking about the Iranian nuclear deal. And he, you know, defined as a good political leader as somebody who seizes the moment in the spirit of openness and pragmatism. So if I were sitting down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue --
BORGER: If I were the president, I'd be thinking, you know, he might be talking about me.
COOPER: Gloria, we should just let you know that we see the chopper with the Pope, Pope Francis on board beginning to taxi. It is shortly going to be taking off followed by an escort chopper as well. This is something that they have actually now been practicing for several days. I was out at the heliport probably about three or four days ago and this chopper was practicing landing on the heliport down near Wall Street.
We're going to take a short break. Our coverage continues. More, Pope Francis' first arrival in the U.S.
[17:46:32] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. Pope Francis is now in New York City. He has taken off in that helicopter from John F. Kennedy International Airport on his way here to Manhattan. He will be received warmly once he gets here. Eventually making his way here to St. Patrick's Cathedral for evening prayers.
Anderson, security enormously tight obviously for this Pope, but at the same time he clearly wants an opportunity to meet New Yorkers.
COOPER: And that's something the NYPD and obviously the Secret Service which is in overall charge of his security has been taking into consideration now for weeks. They have been planning this. They have actually done tabletop exercises of every potential threat this Pope could face. You know, all the possibilities to kind of play out, role play out how they would react to such a thing.
And again, it's what they don't know that worries them the most. I talked to Chief Waters, the head of counterterrorism for New York. He's had a lot of sleepless nights planning this out. He feels very confident the NYPD is ready, that this city is ready. You know, New York and the NYPD have a long experience of dealing with big events like this. This is a confluence of a number of huge events not just the Pope's arrival, the U.N. General Assembly, President Obama's visit, the big concert this weekend in Central Park. They think it's going to go well and that they've thought of pretty much everything.
BLITZER: Nearly 200 world leaders are either already here or on their way to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly.
COOPER: And all of them need security.
COOPER: The cars and escorts.
BLITZER: And these are world leaders. Not just the president of the United States. The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
BLITZER: Kings, queens.
BLITZER: They're all coming to address the U.N. General Assembly. You can only imagine on top of the Pope being here in New York City and this huge concert in Central Park, the enormous challenge the NYPD is facing.
COOPER: They are. And we're here with Delia Gallagher, Father Edward Beck as well. And it's one of the things that obviously, as we've talked about before, this Pope is well-known for his wanting to mix and mingle with the crowds. And, you know, we saw that in Washington a little bit. Probably more of a bubble than he was used to. The vehicle would stop, the Vatican security would bring a child or several to him.
BLITZER: I just want to point out that that's the Fiat awaiting the pontiff once he lands on that chopper.
COOPER: Right. That the --
BLITZER: It's that car, it's that car that will take him around New York City. Not a big SUV. Not a huge limo or anything. It's that Fiat that will do the driving.
COOPER: Right. This is a heliport which actually usually would be crowded with helicopters, tourists taking off for rides around the city, police helicopters landing. When I was there, there were probably eight or nine helicopters of different sorts taking off and landing at any given time. They've obviously cleared it. They are waiting for the pontiff. And it should be just a few minutes until he gets here. But that's been the big question for the NYPD is, is he going to stop, want to wade into a crowd, and how do they deal with it if that does in fact happen.
GALLAGHER: Well, in fact, I remember that the U.S. Secret Service came over to Rome to discuss with the Vatican Security and to watch Pope Francis and what does he like to do and how does he like to get around St. Peter's Square because that is one of the things that they wanted to be able to accommodate. But at the same time, you know, have their security needs met as well. And I think they've achieved a balance of that.
I mean, we saw it in Washington that at least some kids were able to be brought to him. He wasn't able to get down but they were able to be brought to him.
COOPER: We're going to take a short break. We want to get all breaks in before the Pope lands here in New York. Want you to see his arrival so we don't have to cut away while he's actually here because it's just going to be an extraordinary visit.
[17:50:07] We're going to take a short break. Our coverage continues in just a moment.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, Pope Francis arriving in New York City. Take a look at this. These are live pictures coming in from Lower Manhattan, the heliport there. The Pope helicopter, the U.S. Marine Corps helicopter will be landing shortly.
There you see the Fiat that will take the Pope from Lower Manhattan up through Manhattan here to St. Patrick's Cathedral for evening prayers.
[17:55:03] Anderson Cooper is with us. This is an exciting moment, clearly, Anderson. We did see those Ospreys bringing some of the Pope's staff, their officials, media from JFK. That's part helicopter, part plane, U.S. Marine Corps Osprey but now we're waiting for the Pope's helicopter to land.
COOPER: Yes, they are a little faster than the actual helicopter itself and very rare to see Ospreys in New York when we saw them practicing the other day. People were sort of startled. A lot of people pausing to take photographs. You also see the Coast Guard Cutter there. They have basically shut down the waterways in this area and throughout much of Manhattan, NYPD, the Coast Guard and other vessels patrolling the waterways.
They also have helicopters in the sky, New York Police Department helicopters, infrared capabilities, capabilities of testing for devices. They are taking this very seriously, indeed. It's probably the largest security operation the NYPD says that they have ever engaged in, at least in recent memory.
BLITZER: And I come every year for the U.N. General Assembly. I don't remember security like this whole city block basically shut off.
Delia, explain the symbolism, and there is symbolism, in the Fiat.
GALLAGHER: Well, the --
COOPER: I should point out one helicopter looks like it's landing right now. That's probably the Pope's helicopter. The two helicopters that are bringing him.
GALLAGHER: Let's take a look. The Fiat, Wolf, it was my suggestion that the Fiat perhaps is a subliminal message on the part of the Vatican because Fiat, for a lot of Catholics, they'll recognize it as the words that Mary said to the angel when the angel came to announce to her that she was to bear Jesus and she said -- which is Latin for, you know, let it be done unto me. Yes, in other words. So Fiat has come to mean for the Catholic Church the yes, Mary's yes to the will of God. So I just find --
COOPER: Wow, It has a multiple -- that's interesting.
GALLAGHER: I just find -- I find it quite funny and it might be intentional on the part of the Vatican but maybe not because the Fiat is a legitimate car company.
COOPER: You might just know too much.
GALLAGHER: But maybe I'm just thinking too much.
COOPER: Reading too much into it.
BLITZER: Because I thought it was just an Italian car and wanted to show his support for Fiat.
GALLAGHER: First of all --
COOPER: It works on all levels.
BECK: Nice of you to spiritualize it, I'll tell you. I like that.
GALLAGHER: First, let me say that, for Rome, that is a medium-sized car there. Everybody is talking about what a small car it is. That's a fairly big sized car for Rome.
GALLAGHER: But yes, I thought it was kind of funny, the Pope driving around the streets of the capital with the big Fiat saying, you know, open yourselves to God. And that is his message.
BLITZER: Here is the second helicopter. We're not sure the pontiff, is he in the one that's already on the ground or about to touchdown.
Jim Sciutto is with us as well.
Jim, it's going to be a relatively short motorcade ride up here to Fifth Avenue and 51st or so at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Particularly, especially when you close off the streets for the Pope. It will probably be the fastest trip from downtown to midtown and New York City ever clocked. That's just a measure of the security that they have for this Pope here.
And it's interesting, we've heard that the Pope bristling a little bit at the severity of the security in Washington if only because it keeps him from doing what he enjoys doing most, which is to connect with people, to touch, to reach out and touch people. I noted that when he landed at JFK just a short time ago, he immediately went to the crowd, took gifts from them including that Pope doll, touched hands, et cetera.
When he landed at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, two days ago, whether by choice or by decision, he was not able to connect with the crowd there and he took other opportunities outside the Vatican residence in Washington, but you saw him, he does not like to be separated from the people and I think you'll see in New York him taking every opportunity to do that.
COOPER: Well, we should also point out, there are concentric rings of security in New York and the New York -- NYPD has been very clear about this and very public so not saying anything out of school, in Central Park where the Pope will be, I believe, tomorrow, he is -- that is a crowd which all will go through airport level style security. So no backpacks, they will all be checked with a metal detector devices. So there is a level of certainty about the security in the park, in that crowd, even in this immediate area around St. Patrick's.
Wolf and Delia and Father Beck and I all came through metal detectors, TSA manned metal detectors and Secret Service manned metal detector as we came in. Very tight security just to get into this immediate area and there are several groups of people who all have gone through that level of security.
A little further up with that, you know, as we heard from our correspondents earlier this afternoon, there are people lining the streets. They have not been through metal detectors. They have not been through that level of security. So it'll be interesting to see if the Pope, in fact, does stop on his way here to St. Patrick's, whether it'd be he chooses to just stop and one of the tighter security areas like just in this general area.