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Pope's Mass in Madison Square Garden. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired September 25, 2015 - 19:00   ET



[19:26:35] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. Right now you are watching live Pope Francis celebrating mass at Madison Square Garden. It is the crowning event of the second and final day here in New York. In a few moments, the vast majority of the 20,000 people right there with the Pope will be lining up for communion. Let's listen in.



POPE FRANCIS: Graciously grant peace in our days, that by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin. And safe from all distress and as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ.


POPE FRANCIS: Lord, Jesus Christ, say to your apostles, peace I leave you, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins but on the faith of your church and graciously grant peace and unity in accordance with your will. You live forever and ever.

(Crowd): Amen.

POPE FRANCIS: The peace of the Lord will be with you always.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us offer each other the sign of peace.


POPE FRANCIS: Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the lamb.


[19:13:00] BURNETT: You're watching communion, the core part of a Catholic mass. These are the wafers being given. There are about 25,000 of them. Two hundred of what they called Eucharistic ministers who are giving those wafers out. The faithful who have come to Madison Square Garden to hear the Pope say mass.

John Allen, our Vatican analyst is with me. And John, you know, this is a very, very poignant moment for many people there. The Pope himself gave the wafers, administer communion to a core group.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Yes. That's right. I mean, communion as you say, is the sort of supreme moment of the mass. Catholics have first believe that the bread and wine that had been concentrated by the Pope and the other ministers who were celebrating with him, become, in a real way, it's called the real presence, the body and blood of Jesus Christ. So they are entering into communion with Christ spiritually and also physically. And of course tonight it's also about communion with the Pope, communion with the Holy Father.


ALLEN: And this is a moment that the 20,000 people there inside Madison Square Garden -- it's the kind of thing you'll tell your grandkids about.

BURNETT: Oh, even just watching it. You know, seeing the Popemobile today from afar in Central Park was something special.

Monsignor Rick Hilgartner is here with me. The President of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. And we were just talking here. You know, you see some people very dressed up, others are wearing t-shirts but they're t-shirts with pictures of this Pope.


BURNETT: As they come up for this communion. Which everyone should know, takes a few minutes because you've got 25,000 people getting the wafers.

HILGARTNER: I'm sure it's very well-orchestrated in a place like Madison Square Garden are dealing with multiple levels of things.


HILGARTNER: But this is like any Catholic mass in any parish but there's something uniquely special about it tonight because it is as John said, communion with the Pope. And he talked about during his homily about how God is present in the city, God is present in the many ways in which church ministers but here tonight God is present in a particular way for what we believe as Catholics in the mass, in the Eucharist. God is present in Madison Square Garden. And Erin, it was interesting, you know, Catholics typically do not applaud when the priest gives a homily.


HILGARTNER: They never wrapped it with applause. But tonight when the Pope said, God continues to walk in the streets of the city because God is in the city, these New Yorkers, who are often, I think, a little sensitive sometimes to perceptions that cities in general -- and let's face it, New York in particular is seen as kind of a Godless place.


HILGARTNER: You know, to hear the Pope stand there and say, God is in the city, people couldn't help themselves. You know, they brought out in applause and what they heard was a huge affirmation that the Pope recognizes that even in this very fast-paced, phonetic, you know, in some ways, cut-throat environment in New York, that nevertheless God is still here. And it's something to hear that from the Pope.

BURNETT: Yes. And Delia Gallagher, also is with us. Our Vatican correspondent. Delia, you know, it's incredible what this Pope has done. He still has two more days of his tour here in the United States, of course, in Philadelphia. But you know, multiple times speaking today and now leading this mass, it's -- he understands that there are thousands, tens of thousands, 100,000 people today who have come to hear him and he is delivering, not backing down, not letting exhaustion takeover.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. And he's delivering a message tailored for these people. The message of the big cities. He is of course a pope who comes from a big city himself, in a big city that might be polluted like New York is and he says God is also there with us through the smog, a kind of -- another -- bringing in his theme, again, of the environment and then he said something really beautiful, I think, which is about the immigrants and about the poor and about the homeless in our cities saying we often think maybe they don't have a right to be there. We walk down the streets and think, what are they doing there? And they have a right to be in the cities, that they are one of us.

I wanted to point out Erin maybe for our viewers that the man that the man that you see in all of these masses of the Pope, he sits on the right of the Pope and he helps him as he goes to the altar and he processes in with him, he's from the Vatican. His name is Monsignor Marini (ph) and he's in charge of all the liturgical celebrations for the Pope. And if you recognize him and you man, it is because he's also in-charge of the conclave and he's the man who, after all of the cardinals processing at the conclaves, closes the door, he says, "extra homily, everybody out" and he closes the doors. He is the pope's main man for all of these liturgical celebrations and, indeed, you see that they are quite complex and he has got to orchestrate every single one of them, at the Vatican and on paper trips.

BURNETT: You know, one thing we've learned over the past few days or you know -- and maybe I'm speaking a bit for myself. But I think a lot of people who are not Catholic are appreciating the ritual and the pomp is obviously not the word this Pope would want to apply, but the pomp and circumstance of the Catholic ritual and someone who is Catholic and sometimes, you know, you may think, why all of this is necessary? You're seeing how important and special it can be John when you see these rituals invoked by the Pope.

[19:18:22] ALLEN: Yes. I mean, Catholicism is very much a sacramental tradition which means that we Catholics sort of respond not just in words but we also respond to symbols. BURNETT: Yes.

ALLEN: The late father Andrew Greeley, one of American Catholicism's best known writers talked about the Catholic's sacramental imagination. And so when you see the bread that becomes the Body of Christ, the wine that becomes the Blood of Christ, you know, the candles, the incents, that's true or something in the Catholic soul. Because it sort of gives us a physical tangible way --


ALLEN: -- to think about things which are invisible and intangible.

BURNETT: And I think to emphasize one thing you said, to emphasize to many watching, again, if you're not Catholic, it's not a symbol. The wafer that you take and the wine that you drink in a communion is not a symbol of the Body and Blood of Christ. Catholics believe that is --

ALLEN: The real presence.

BURNETT: -- the Body and Blood of Christ. And Monsignor, you know, in this mass now, I guess it's impractical to provide wine to 25,000 people.


BURNETT: They are just getting the wafers but --

HILGARTNER: But we believe that the full body and blood of Jesus exists in just one species. There are people who can't take the host. We sometimes we actually take the blood of Christ, the concentrated wine to the dying who can only take a drop of the precious blood on their tongue because they can't ingest food. So, one or the other suffices for us. Normally, because we're into the ritual and we appreciate the gesture, the sign, both is often experienced in parishes here in the United States.

BURNETT: And Delia, it is the big juxtaposition for this pope. You know, a man who has -- circumstance, right, the very simple chair in which he is sitting, the fact that -- how he lives, that he doesn't drive in fancy cars, that he doesn't eat fancy meals, the Pope that he is. And yet a tradition that is a very rich, deep and involved set of rituals. In a sense, there is a bit of a contrast there.

GALLAGHER: Well, you know, Erin, it's very symbolic in a sense, talking about the mass, because the mass is one of those parts of Catholicism which combines the tradition that we were talking about. We heard some Gregorian chant, a beautiful Gregorian chant at this mass and we heard some Latin which comes from the old mass and then bringing it up to the modern mass. And often you see the difference between some conservatives and liberals within the Catholic Church regarding the mass. Those who prefer the tradition, those who prefer the modern elements. And that is the fine line that Pope Francis himself is walking in all of the discussions within the Catholic Church. Updating some of the traditions, updating some of the practices but maintaining the route in the tradition because that is essential also to the Catholic identity.

BURNETT: And there are, John, different obviously, strands of Catholicism. Right? You have Franciscans. You have Jesuits and, of course, there are Franciscans here wearing the garb --

ALLEN: And there's at least one Jesuit in that room because it's Pope Francis.

BURNETT: Yes. A Jesuit, of course, who chose the name Pope Francis. You know, after --


BURNETT: -- the Franciscans.

ALLEN: Founder of the Franciscans.


ALLEN: But, you know, the Catholic Church we often talk about the unity and diversity. I mean, that's the spirit of what the church is supposed to be about. You do have all this different, you know, the technical term for these chrisms, which means kind of unique identities of different outfits in the church among religious orders and lay and movements. And then, of course, there's the geographic spread of the church. 1.2 billion Catholics and -- planet and Catholicism in sub-Saharan Africa is a different animal in some ways, than Catholicism in North America or in Europe. And yet with all of that, the idea is unity and the Catholic word for that is communion and that, of course, is what we've just witnessed.

BURNETT: What we just witnessed and now a hymn that is familiar to anyone who has attended a Catholic mass. Let's listen in.


[19:24:30] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us keep prayerful silence for some brief moments.

POPE FRANCIS: Let us pray. We pray, oh Lord -- so that sustain the body and blood of your only begotten son we may be effective in nurturing among all the peace that he has left us who lives, reigns forever and ever.

(Crowd): Amen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Papa Francesco, at every single mass, every single day, we pray for and in union with Francis our Pope and now here you are.


(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is clear how much we welcome you, how much

we love you, how much we need you, how much we thank you for your visit. You have seen our cathedral.


You have seen our cathedral. You have seen our Catholic schools. You have seen our Catholic charities and now you lead us in the most important and powerful act we can do, the holy sacrifice of the mass. Here --


[19:29:24] Here you see, Papa Francesco, people from all of our parishes, our leaders, our religious sisters and brothers, our seminarians, our deacons, our priests, our bishops --


Our organizations, our ministries, our ecumenical and interreligious neighbors, so many benefactors and civic leaders, God's faithful people. It is so radiant on an evening such as this, is it not, my brothers and sisters, that God --


It is so evidently radiant that God is our father, that Jesus is our Lord, our savior, our older brother, that Mary is our mother, that saints --


That saints like Isaac Jogues, the Jesuit North American martyrs, St. Kateri, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. John Neumann, St. Mary Ann Cope, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, St. Patrick are our relatives.


It is so dazzling evident this evening that the church is our family and you are Holy Father. Thanks for visiting us, your family.



POPE FRANCIS: The Lord will be with you.

Blessed is in the name of the lord.

CHURCH: Hear our prayer.

POPE FRANCIS: Bow our head, in the name of the Lord.

May the Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.


POPE FRANCIS: Go in peace. Glorify the Lord by your life.

CHURCH: Thanks be to God.

POPE FRANCIS: And please, I ask you, don't forget to pray for me.



[19:37:29] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And as the mass is concluded, the pope -- you can hear the voice of Madison Square Garden reminding people that this is one of the most storied performance theaters in the United States. The pope tonight saying mass, John Allen, Billy Joel was slated to perform, it was the pope. And it was one of the most special moments, I would say the most special seen events ever.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, Billy Joel is a New Yorker, of course, and as a New Yorker, I'm sure he was happy to step aside to let this magical night unfold, a night that no one who watched it will ever forget and certainly nobody who was inside the garden tonight will ever forget it. I mean, obviously the presence of any pope would be the world to the people who are there but I think this pope in particular, the kind of -- you know, magnetic draw he exercises on people, and, in particular, ordinary people.

I think, you know, you got the glimpse, of course, of the real Francis there at the end on the way out. I saw a couple of disabled people in wheelchairs.

BURNETT: He went right over. Right.

ALLEN: He immediately, distinctively had to prompt him. No one had to whisper in his ear, it was just so much in his wheel house, to walk over to those folks and to give them a caress and a smile. It's that love for ordinary people, the most vulnerable and most excluded in particular that I think people have been -- the people have been drawn to him because of that.

BURNETT: Yes, and, Monsignor Rick, this was also Cardinal Dolan, a beloved figure among Catholics, a known figure across the United States, you know, he has a very effervescent personality, you know, a big smile, you know, Papa Francesco, he brings a very human and casual feel to this. That was also a special moment as he spoke.

MSGR. RICK HILGARTNER, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOC. OF PASTORAL MUSICIANS: As much as we talk about it being an honor and privilege and experience for someone to be at mass with the Holy Father, it's even more so for the bishop of the local diocese to host the pope so that Cardinal Dolan got to stand there and welcome the pope to New York.

Last night when he said, Holy Father, you walk through these doors and you're now a New Yorker, Pope Francis had a smile on his face. There are so many extremes in all of these, in images because there's a quiet intensity of Pope Francis when he celebrates the mass.

[19:40:00] Some people think it sounds like he's tired but he's very understated and it's a very intense kind of prayer.

BURNETT: You could describe that as intensity. Because, yes, it comes off as, is he tired?

HILGARTNER: You could see the smile on his face earlier.

ALLEN: Let's be clear, he is tired. Think about the day this man has had, the United Nations.

BURNETT: Ground Zero, the school --

ALLEN: The school in Harlem, the swing through Central Park.

And I think monsignor is absolutely right, I think Pope Francis is often absorbed in prayer.

One thing about Dolan, I actually did a book with Dolan a few years ago, he told me he has a grade school loyalty to the pope. You can imagine what it meant to him to be able to host the pope tonight.

BURNETT: Oh, yes. Pride may be a sin they say, but I think it's only fair to say it's right for Cardinal Dolan to feel real pride tonight, which he certainly does.

All right. We're going to take a brief break, but I want to let all of you know that the pope is going to be getting back into the Fiat and transiting, and the motorcade. We're going to have all of that live and show you exactly as he goes to the streets of Manhattan. These incredible images coming up live right after this.


BURNETT: You are watching live, this is Madison Square Garden in New York. The pope just finishing mass, a very special moment, punctuated by Cardinal Dolan with some true joy as he thanked the pope for coming to New York.

[19:45:05] The pope right now is moving outside. He's going to get back into his motorcade and get back into the Fiat and go through the streets of New York, something that has been so uplifting and inspiring to so many, to Catholics and not.

Let's go outside Madison Square Garden where the pope will be momentarily. Right now, he's actually changing his vestments so he will be clad in white as he gets back into the Fiat.

Our Alexandra Field is outside with all of the crowds, Alex, who are just waiting for that one moment where they may get a glimpse of the pope.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Erin, it's really genuinely pretty spectacular. You certainly don't have to be Catholic to appreciate it. It's just a crowd of people out here holding their breath, waiting for a glimpse of the Holy Father as he passes through in that Fiat. We've been out here for hours now with hundreds of people and thousands of people. So many of them waited patiently for so long just to see for a very brief moment Pope Francis as he rode by in the fiat, making his way to Madison Square Garden. A whole new rush of people have come through now and they are hoping to see him on his way out of here.

And, Erin, what's really struck me the most is not just the fact that they are Catholics from all over the country or really from across the world who came out here to be out here tonight, but just the sort of ordinary New Yorkers who we've been speaking to, who decided to stop and watch, you know, this is a city that is quite used to welcoming world leaders all the time and it's quite common here to see a presidential motorcade that doesn't even really draw the kind of notice that you might expect, but there were so many people who really made a point of coming out here tonight, wanting to experience this.

And when we saw the pope go by, coming right down Seventh Avenue, the moment was truly electric. The crowd had been so quiet and there was this really pretty gleeful kind of expression that you heard from people as he passed, with the window down and waving to the crowd as he wants to do, Erin.

BURNETT: And you do, you hear the roar. You can tell when he's getting closer. We saw that last night outside St. Patrick's. You see it today at Central Park.

You know, Delia Gallagher, our Vatican correspondent, as we wait for the pope to come out, we're going to hear that roar again and you hear the cheering, the joy inside Madison Square Garden. He is a man. He is a human being. How does this not go to his head?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Erin, this is the pope's last night in New York and, my goodness, what a sendoff. I was thinking there as Cardinal Dolan was speaking and the crowd gave him a standing ovation, I thought to myself -- well, he doesn't want to be a superstar but he sure is one.


GALLAGHER: And I think that it's not going to his head, obviously. He's got a deep spirituality and very kind of interior presence and very rooted in prayer and keeps his focus there. But I think he enjoys the fact that people are excited and that people are paying attention and I think that he appreciates that he's got an audience and he certainly is using it to his best effect, of course, trying to get his message out there.

More than the man, it's about the message for Pope Francis.

BURNETT: Yes. And, Monsignor, I think Delia puts it so beautifully. You know, he does appreciate it because it gives a chance to spread to word, to talk about the things that he thinks matters. You know, you saw that shy smile when he got the standing ovation. He's so rooted in spirituality that it isn't something that he perceives to be about him.

HILGARTNER: That's the only thing that could keep him grounded.

And when he was elected, I remember there were conversations about who's campaigning and things like that. None of them wants to be pope, because when you really recognize what the office is, what it means is they wouldn't choose to have it. And that's why he ends -- he's ended every moment with, please pray for me.

BURNETT: Yes. He did here with a smile.

HILGARTNER: With a smile. It's becoming rather a hallmark of his, to do that, to ask for prayer.

BURNETT: But I think that's something so many people -- that someone can be so humble in the face of such adulation.

ALLEN: Well, sure. I think every pope handles that a little bit differently. You know, I think Pope John Paul II to some extent played off of that. He had a very playful spirit with it.

You know, Benedict XVI, I think, who was a remarkably humble guy, I think he was always a little bit, you could tell, just a visible register, a little bit uncomfortable. And he did things like putting a crucifix on the altar when he celebrated mass because he wanted to remind people that the focus should be on God, not on him.

You know, in Francis' case, I think Delia is right, he wants to use it as a missionary moment, an opportunity to sort of get people moving. If there were two words that have resonated throughout this trip, it's "Go Forth".

[19:50:02] He's repeated them over and over. OK. We've had a good time here. Now get out on the streets and get something done.

BURNETT: And do something now.

All right. We are waiting for the pope, as I said, the mass has concluded. He's changing his vestments and we're going to see that motorcade again in the Fiat as he heads through the streets of New York lined by thousands and thousands of people. We're going to be right back to see that live.


BURNETT: We are waiting for the pope who will be departing Madison Square Garden theater, Madison Square Garden, going out in the motorcade up to the residence across New York. He's going to get into the Fiat.

And, John Allen, our Vatican commentator, let me give you a chance to explain what's happening here. When he finished mass, it was a full mass so he needs to actually change.

ALLEN: That's right. He was wearing the vestments, special garments that priests wear when they celebrate. So he had to go back into a space, it's called the sacristy, which is where they take those clothes off and he will put back on then, therefore, the normal papal vestments, white and we will see him get into the Fiat. It's been a great week for Fiat Company.


ALLEN: And they will make their way to the residence where he has been staying here in New York because that's another very early morning for the pope, 8:30 in the morning, he is on the papal plane heading towards Philadelphia getting there about 9:30 for it to begin the last two days of what has been an absolutely remarkable trip to the United States and, of course, let's not forget at the beginning to Cuba.

BURNETT: That's right. Very important part of this.

Delia Gallagher, Vatican correspondent, still with us.

And, Delia, one thing that happened in mass, the pope that revolutionized in many ways this church, energized it, brought people in, who had long ago perhaps given up on the church, you know, the lector tonight, Mo Rocca, a reporter for "CBS Sunday Morning", a correspondent, also openly gay, a part of this service.

[19:55:09] That is the pope again inclusive and doing something frankly more conservative members of the church may not support. But that is what this pope is.

GALLAGHER: Well, absolutely. Of course, for the Catholic Church, you can be gay. That's not necessarily the problem in terms of that issue for them. It goes into other aspects of -- a gay person is perfectly acceptable as a child of God and so on for Catholic teaching. The issues there are about marriage and gay relationships and so on.

Nonetheless, an aspect of Pope Francis he wants people to be included and feel included. I think he is pointing to groups of people to the divorced and remarried, to gays, to women who had abortions and so on. We've seen before this trip that he has made a concerted effort to reach out to those people.

And so, certainly, in his travels, it's clear that he's going to meet them. You know, you heard a little bit of controversy the with the White House invitations that maybe some at the Vatican were concerned about that. The concern about invitations or about inviting people who might have views contrary to the church, he's probably on his way. We're going to hear a big roar shortly, but the concern is just that they might, there might be someway they use the pope to try and further a cause, which is clearly not what the pope wants.

So, the pope is again, trying to walk the fine line of holding onto the basic teachings of the Catholic Church but keep the door open, as he's said.

BURNETT: And as Delia said, you hear the roar anticipating this parade of SUVs will be followed by the Fiat and pope. I want to explain the breakup in the signal as the pope comes

close, the signals take a hit. I'll be honest because of the jamming signals that they have with security, John Allen, that's part of the problem. I hope this will come back up. You can hear everybody. You can hear very well the roar.

There it is. There is the Fiat with the pope.

And Jason Carroll is right now, you see everyone cheering, moving very quickly, Jason Carroll outside the residence where the pope is heading now to spend the night before he goes to Philadelphia.

And, Jason, people there also waiting for a glimpse of this pope.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, there were people as you can imagine here on Manhattan's Upper Eastside, 22nd Street. This is the residence of papal nuncio, where the pope has been staying since he's been here in New York.

The problem is the NYPD telling us that as soon as the pope gets close, what they do is put the area under a security freeze. They already in fact have done that and as a result of that, anyone who is here on 72nd Street is moved a block away on either side. So, anyone wanting to come to see the pope who doesn't live in the area has to either go to 71st Street on one side or 73rd Street on the other side.

But once again, so many people have come out in this city who didn't get a chance maybe to see the pope at St. Patrick's or could not get into Central Park and waited out in the street, waiting on this street, as well, hoping to get a glimpse of the Fiat and get one little tiny little shot of the pope as he drives by.

I just have to tell you after being out here since early this morning, speaking to so many New Yorkers, talking about why they decided to come out, what they were hoping to see. So many people were just grateful to get a glimpse of him. They said that was enough. That is how much this pope has touched so many people here in this city -- Erin.

BURNETT: It is incredible. Your heart leaps that moment that you get a glimpse. Anderson will be taking over in a moment.

And, Anderson, we both now have seen him, right? Up close and there is this moment that you feel yourself in the presence of something incredible.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is extraordinary. I was there in St. Peters Square the night he came out on the balcony for the first time, but to be so close to him, we were there outside St. Patrick's last night within 100 feet or so, it does take your breath away. You see images of him and maybe seen him from a far but up close, for those people, once in a lifetime experience.

BURNETT: It is and this is something you'll tell your children and grandchildren, and it is. I can say it truly is. So, it was a wonderful thing to be part of and I know you're going to continue our coverage.