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Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Mass in New York; Bush Meets with South Korean President; Texas Court Rules on Polygamist Children

Aired April 19, 2008 - 11:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching live inside St. Patrick's Cathedral here in the heart of Manhattan as Pope Benedict XVI distributes communion. This is a historic mass that he is celebrating today. It's his first time in America on his third anniversary as pope. And just a few minutes earlier we listened to the pope deliver his homily which is essentially his message today and John Allen, Vatican analyst for CNN joins me now. John that homily had a lot of important points in it. One, being a message of hope and unity?
JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Yeah, that's right. Benedict XVI of course is well aware that in recent years in catholic life, not just in the United States but maybe in a particular forum here there have been divisions. There have been arguments over various issues in the church, there's also a generational divide in the church and in some diocese and religious communities you have an older generation of priests and sisters and a younger one that don't always see eye to eye on things, and it's very easy to get bogged down in that. But the pope also understands that if the world looks at the church and what they see is division and heartache and anger, it's not particularly attractive. So he was trying to argue, let's focus on those essential things. The sort of cornerstones of the Christian message which is to ultimately you know, Christ is the key that unlocks the mystery of the human heart, that points to that joy that does not fade. That was very much the kind of praying he was wanting to offer here.

NGUYEN: Another issue that he tackled was the sex abuse scandal. This is something he has mentioned on many occasions during this trip to the United States. At first it was really unsure how far he would go with it. But he even went so far in Washington as to meet with victims of that abuse. So this is a pope who is sending a message.

ALLEN: Yeah, that's right, Betty. I think with regard to the sex abuse crisis, the $64,000 question coming into this trip was, does the pope get it. That is does he understand the depth and the gravity of this crisis? And I think almost in every way he can, he's been trying to send the signal that he does get it, and of course as you know, this began even before he entered American air space, on the papal plane, on the way to the United States. He did some brief comments for the press and actually in response to a question I asked him about the crisis. He said that he was well aware of the suffering this had caused. Talked about the need to promote reconciliation and healing for victims. The challenge to make sure that we are ordaining good priests. He said pointedly, it's more important to have good priests than to have lots of priests. And then, of course, again engaged this in his speech to the American bishops at the National Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, engaged it again during the mass at Nationals Park in Washington. And then as you say, in unexpected fashion, and really unprecedented fashion, historic fashion, held a meeting with a small group of victims of sexual abuse at the Vatican embassy in Washington. The first time a pope had ever sat down with victims of abuse to hear their story.

NGUYEN: They were very candid.

ALLEN: They were extraordinarily candid. As you know, we were very lucky at CNN to have them tell their stories exclusively to us the evening of that meeting. And it was very clear that they were moved by this experience but at the same time this wasn't just a photo op to them. They really wanted to let the pope know that they had suffered and that he needed to do something to prevent this from happening again.

NGUYEN: Well I find it very significant that it wasn't a photo op and that the media wasn't alerted to it because it really shows the depth in which he has really taken this in.

ALLEN: Yeah, absolutely right. This is not a pope who is --


NGUYEN: As we're watching live this communion take place, we see Rudy Giuliani and other dignitaries there receiving communion on this historic mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.


NGUYEN: And this is the portion of the mass where the final blessing will be said. The concluding rites, John Allen.

ALLEN: That's right. This will be the sort of, the conclusion of this mass, the pope's final words before he will finish this mass, leave St. Patrick's Cathedral. Of course from here Betty he'll be going to the residence of the Cardinal Edward Eagan of New York, and the archbishop, for a lunch before he moves on to St. Joseph's Seminary this afternoon for that major youth rally. And that youth rally will be sort of a world youth day in miniature. I'm sure you'll remember those massive youth events that John Paul II used to do. These sort of high-octane catholic Woodstock moments, you know.

NGUYEN: Almost concert-like.

ALLEN: Yeah, that's right. It's sort of the sacred and the secular come together and you'll hear some upbeat pop music and you'll see a very energized young crowd this evening. Just absolutely thrilled to be in the presence of the pope.

NGUYEN: And you are watching Pope Benedict XVI celebrate mass inside St. Patrick's Cathedral here in Manhattan. It's an historic occasion. CNN is covering it live and there is much more right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NGUYEN: Take you live now back inside St. Patrick's Cathedral as communion is wrapping up and we're heading into the final blessing of this mass being celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI. John Allen joins me now as a Vatican analyst and as a catholic, I think it's important to note that we saw many dignitaries come up to take communion along with clergy, but one of them being Rudy Giuliani. The fact that he took communion has significance politically.

ALLEN: That's right, back during the 2004 elections when you had a pro-choice catholic candidate in the form of Senator Kerry, the democrats, there was a strong division in the catholic community between those who said that a pro-choice catholic politician should be denied communion because they weren't following the teaching of the church. Others who said that you should never politicize the Eucharist, it's supposed to be a supreme moment of unity. You don't want to sort of impose politics on it. The fact that Mayor Giuliani who, of course, is himself a pro-choice catholic politician, received communion during a papal mass, undoubtedly, will have some impact on that debate. It sort of tells us indirectly which side of that argument the pope is on.

NGUYEN: And that, indeed, is significant. Besides Rudy Giuliani, there are a number of others who have been invited to this. This mass is essentially, though, for the clergy.

ALLEN: That's right. This isn't basically for the cream of the country's political crop. These are for the priests, the sisters, the deacons, the religious, the pope's infantry. Those who will go back into parishes and schools and hospitals and the other institutions of the church and put his message into practice. We are at this moment getting ready for the concluding rite of the mass. Although we also expect momentarily that, a brief message of congratulations to the pope's third anniversary of his election, which of course is today, April 19th.

NGUYEN: Who will be delivering that?

ALLEN: We expect that it will be Cardinal Bertoni, who is actually the Vatican secretary of state and in effect the number two official in the church after the pope himself.

NGUYEN: And the congratulatory message for the pope, this being his third anniversary from being elected. He went from Cardinal Ratzinger the disciplinarian to now the pope of hope.

ALLEN: Yeah that's exactly right. From the church's enforcer to the church's great apostle of joy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God, our father, you come forward to encourage your church in sacrament. Keep us faithful to Christ, that our work on earth may build your eternal kingdom and freedom. We ask this through Jesus Christ our lord.

ALL: Amen.

[ Speaking in foreign language ] NGUYEN: As we're listening to this final blessing, it is worth noting -- talk to us about the significance of this. This is being spoken in Italian?

ALLEN: Yes, because of course, Cardinal Bertoni, who is the Vatican secretary of state is himself an Italian. Interestingly, Betty, we might say that Cardinal Bertoni is one of the most popular and colorful figures in the Italian scene, in addition to being a very senior official in the church, he also does color commentary in Italian soccer matches in his spare time. So he is here delivering this message of congratulations to the pope, in a sense on behalf of the whole church for his third anniversary of election to the Papacy. Three years ago today, April 19, 2005. Then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI.

NGUYEN: Is there a special ceremony or a celebration every year on that anniversary?

ALLEN: Yeah, the Vatican has on observance of the anniversary of the pope's election every year and it's a very popular day for employees in the Vatican, because they actually get a bonus in their paychecks.

NGUYEN: We got a smile from the pope just there.

ALLEN: Oh absolutely. Interestingly in the Vatican they don't formally mark the pope's birthday.

NGUYEN: Which was Wednesday?

ALLEN: That's right, they mark the anniversary of his election, because from the point of view of the Vatican, anyway, it's not so much the personal biography of the individual that is important but it's the office. Remember, the pope is, not just the CEO of the Catholic Church, but the notion is that he is the successor of St. Peter, the first pope, the prince of the apostles. In the cloak (INAUDIBLE) they say the pope steps into the shoes of the fisherman. Peter having been a fisherman. A fisher of hope. The pope is also understood of course to be the Vicar of Christ on earth. That Vicar holds the authority of Christ, entrusted to St. Peter and then has been passed down in an unbroken chain over the centuries. And so, therefore, it is that role that the Vatican marks in the anniversary of his election to the papacy. As you know, this isn't like a president, where this transition period between the election and then four months later he's sworn in -- the catholic theology is from the moment that the deacon and the college of cardinals asks the man who has been elected, do you accept your election? And when the pope says, in Italian (INAUDIBLE) meaning, I accept, from that moment, he becomes the successor of St. Peter with full power to govern the Catholic Church.

NGUYEN: And when the decision was being made to make Cardinal Ratzinger Pope Benedict XVI, there was a lot of talk about his age. This is a man who just turned 81 on Wednesday, but we have seen and in his appearances here in the U.S., that he's a very healthy man. ALLEN: Oh, he's amazingly dynamic. Not just for his age in many ways in general. Part of that, of course, is because he was elected at the age of 78. The Vatican has taken care to not overburden him. I mean one window into that Betty, is that when John Paul came to the United States, the first time in 1979, he was in the country for seven days. He visited seven cities and he gave 63 speeches.


ALLEN: 63. Benedict XVI on the other hand, on his first trip to the states, he's hear for six days, he's visited two cities and he's giving 13 speeches. Obviously, all of that is visibility is in its own way a grueling schedule. But it's calculated not to overextend him so that he can preserve his energy and his strength for these critically important peak moments. Such of course, as this mass this morning. This historic mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

NGUYEN: John, I have read that breaks have been made throughout the day so he can take a breather. Take a nap. Even take time to play the piano and about an hour of reading the word of God.

ALLEN: That's right. Here we hear this crowd, this enthusiastic crowd in St. Patrick's Cathedral. This is their moment not just to thank the pope for being in the United States but to thank him for all of his service and leadership over the three years that he's been playing this absolutely unique role on the global stage. This is the only figure who is not merely a spiritual leader and a voice of conscience, he is also of course as you know, he's the head of state. Because the Vatican in the form of the holy -- seen as a sovereign state. Exchanges ambassadors with 194 countries. So you've got rolled up into one a spiritual leader, a model of holiness. In some ways a CEO of a complex organization. And also a sovereign head of state. I mean it is an absolutely unique, singular role on the global stage. Any one of those roles in some ways would be a pressing burden. But you put them all together and it's almost unimaginable the weight that a pope has to carry on his shoulders. So this is a chance for the pope's base in a way, his core constituency to thank him for caring for --

NGUYEN: Amid a standing ovation.

ALLEN: A standing o.

NGUYEN: To really embraces this role.

ALLEN: Absolutely right. Not just that he's doing the work, but he's doing it with such a spirit of joy and serenity. A surprise, perhaps, to some, but that's who he is.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: For the love of our lord and to give your love also for success of St. Peter, I rejoice it possible to be successor a of the great Peter who also was a man with his faults and sins, but he remains finally the rock for the church. And so also I, with all my fullness spiritual can be with the grace of the lord in this time as successor of Peter and say your prayers, your love forgive these uncertainties that the lord will help me in this my ministry. So I am so deeply thankful for your love, for your prayer and at this moment, to all that you have given to me, this moment and this visit is my blessing at the end of the holy mass.

The Lord be with you. Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing

POPE: Through the resurrection of his son God has redeemed you and he made you his children. May he bless you with joy.


POPE: The redeemer has given you lasting freedom. May you inherit his everlasting life.


POPE: By your faith you rose with him in baptism may your lives be holy, so that you will be united with him forever.


POPE: May almighty God bless you the father, and the son, and the Holy Spirit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now mass has ended go in peace.

Thanks be to God.

NGUYEN: We are watching the procession now as the pope is leaving St. Patrick's Cathedral after this historic mass. The first time Pope Benedict XVI has been in America. But not only that, this is the first time a pope has celebrated mass inside St. Patrick's Cathedral. It's historic for many reasons. On the very day, three years to the day that he was elected pope. John Allen joins me now, and when we look back on this mass, John, what sticks out most in your mind?

ALLEN: Well, I think first of all, in some ways the core message of the pope during his homily that is his talk this morning, was joy and hope. I think for me, it's the connection between that verbal message and the sort of non-verbal cues from the pope. You saw a pope who was so obviously moved in some ways by the reception that he received, by the experience of being here, sort of the warmth that he communicated. So I think that probably is the top note. The other, I think, is once again the sort of unrelenting candor of this pope in not avoiding the sort of tough business of the challenges facing the church. They are once again, engaged in the sexual abuse crisis which so badly scarred the Catholic Church and also acknowledging frankly that in many ways it's a divided church. A church that quite often has gotten bogged down (INAUDIBLE) -- calling the catholic community to overcome that.

NGUYEN: I want to let our viewers know that you can hear the barricades being moved behind us, as you're hearing the beautiful music inside St. Patrick's Cathedral, because the security forces here are getting prepared for the pope's departure. But as well, for all the throngs of people who have come out and are lining the streets of midtown Manhattan just to catch a glimpse of the pope. They've been listening to the audio inside that's being piped out on to the streets of this historic mass. Right now we're looking at Pope Benedict XVI as he leaves the famed cathedral. From this point, John, where does he go?

ALLEN: Actually, from the looks of those pictures, you see the pope walking past the daughters of charity. The famous sisters of Mother Teresa, current candidate for -- but the pope will now be proceeding from St. Patrick's from inside the cathedral to the residence of Cardinal Edward Eagan, the archbishop of New York, where they'll be having lunch with the cardinal and bishops of New York. And from there will be returning to the residence of the Vatican's ambassador to the United Nations for a brief rest before he heads out to the grounds of St. Joseph Seminary later this afternoon.

NGUYEN: Let's talk about Cardinal Eagan for just a moment. Just as exciting as this has been for Catholics to attend this and the clergy, which was this mass was destined for, Cardinal Eagan, this is very momentous for him. Would this, perhaps be one of his last official duties as archbishop?

ALLEN: It could well be. It remains to be seen. Basically the way the catholic system works is that when a bishop turns 75 he is required to submit his resignation to the pope. It's all up to the pope when to accept that. In some cases, archbishops and bishops have continued to serve well beyond their 75th birthday. But there are indications that the -- that a time for a transition here in New York may be coming. So it may well be that this is one of the last major public events with Cardinal Edward Eagan as the sitting archbishop of New York.

NGUYEN: As we hear the church bells, you did bring up a very good point earlier though. I mean, why would a pope go ahead and accept a resignation right before such a historic mass.

ALLEN: Obviously, even though Cardinal Eagan had to go through the formal paperwork, so to speak, of submitting the resignation, everyone understood that with the pope coming to his town, there was no way they were going to switch horses in mid-stream, at that point. Now as we're reaching the end of this historic visit, in the aftermath at a more natural time to make a transition may be on the horizon.

NGUYEN: And, if he indeed does receive the acceptance of the pope for that resignation, it's not like he's going away. He will be a cardinal for life. That's a lifetime deal isn't it?

ALLEN: Sure. People sometimes get this confused. For example, back in 2002 when Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, who you will remember, was at the center of the sex abuse crisis, when he resigned as archbishop of Boston a lot of people thought that meant he was done being a cardinal. But in fact, from the kind of catholic point of view, these are distinct functions. Everybody is again at the same time a cardinal, which means he is a member of that generous (INAUDIBLE) of the pope's closest advisers. He is also the archbishop of New York, which means he is the chief governor, the chief shepherd of the local Catholic Church here in New York. So when he resigned that capacity of archbishop, he by no means resigns that other capacity as a member of the College of Cardinals.

NGUYEN: We are watching the procession here, seeing lots of pictures, lots of people clapping. This is a very exciting time, and a lot of people, I imagine, in their minds are kind of sad that it's ending.

ALLEN: Absolutely. Of course, this is a moment people have been preparing for, for months, from a logistical point of view. But I think for most Catholics, in a way, they have been preparing for the opportunity to be at an event led by the pope most of their lives. Catholics from the earliest moment that they become aware of their faith, you know, are brought up to regard the pope as the --

NGUYEN: The closest thing to God.

ALLEN: The closest thing to God and as their spiritual father. Let's remember, the word pope means father. The Italians call him papa. And so they think of him as a spiritual guide, as this supreme authority figure, and -- but not just as sort of CEO. It's a much more intimate relationship than that. Again, the other language Catholics use for the pope is the Holy Father. And so it's -- it's one time very lofty and reverential but at the same time very close and intimate. Again, an absolutely unique role and for a catholic, therefore, the opportunity to be at a mass led by the pope is the experience of a lifetime. People who have been at papal masses will tell their nieces and nephews, their grandchildren and so forth, about the moment that they were able to be in the presence of the pope.

NGUYEN: It is a very exciting time for many people. But it's only just the beginning here in New York, because the pope is headed on to another event this afternoon, where thousands, if we think 3,000 inside St. Patrick's Cathedral is a lot, wait until he gets to the seminary there at St. Joseph's. There's going to be some, what, nearly 30,000 young people in attendance?

ALLEN: Yeah. That's right. So you know, in kind of New Yorkese, "You ain't seen nothing yet." Not only that of course, you know, tomorrow, he will first make that historic visit to ground zero, a very reverential somber moment but then he will also be having the kind of culminating event of this three-day stop in New York in the form of this enormous mass in Yankee stadium. There we're expecting a crowd on the order of 55, 57, maybe as many as 60,000 people.

NGUYEN: How does that work? Will he be down there on the pitcher's mound? I know they've set up certain areas for him to deliver that mass.

ALLEN: That's right. Actually, the papal altar is going to be set up roughly at second base. So actually jokingly, some of us in the press corps on the way over we were thinking about asking the pope if he had any tips from Derek Jeter about how to handle the infield? We managed to control ourselves and ask more serious questions when the time came. But, yeah, that's where the pope will be, and it's worth noting that this is actually going to be the third pope who has celebrated mass in Yankee stadium. When Paul VI came here on October 4, 1965, he was the first pope to sort of throw out a pitch at Yankee Stadium. John Paul II celebrated at Yankee Stadium in 1979 and now Benedict XVI will do it in 2008 and, of course, he'll be the third and last pope to celebrate mass in Yankee Stadium, because they're building a brand new ballpark.

NGUYEN: It's going to definitely be jam-packed with people so excited to see the pope tomorrow. Some 57,000 expected to come out, and as we're watching today, this beautiful shot inside St. Patrick's Cathedral, a mass has ended. Historic in nature as the pope is leaving the cathedral and headed on to many other events throughout the day. You have been watching this live on CNN. We have much more coverage coming up.


NGUYEN: Welcome back, everybody, to this special edition of the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Betty Nguyen outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Pope Benedict XVI has just ended his holy mass for clergy, and as you saw T.J., it was really a spectacular moment.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it was. Hello there everybody. I'm T.J. Holmes at CNN's New York bureau. We have been keeping an eye on what's happening with the pope today. That mass we have been watching that just concluded as Betty said. But also we're looking at other news that's happening today. We want to go to Camp David where President Bush is actually meeting there this weekend with South Korea's new president. Let's take a listen in to what the president had to say in a joint news conference just a short time ago.


BUSH: We'll take a look at North Korea's full declaration to determine whether or not, you know, the activities they promised they can do can be verified and then we'll make a judgment of our own as to whether or not we'll better our own obligations. You know, there's all kinds of rumors about what is happening and what's not happening. Obviously I'm not going to accept a deal that doesn't advance the interests of the region. The whole objective of the six-party talks and framework is to get them to disclose their weapons programs. To get them to dismantle their plutonium processing, get them to talk about and, you know, activity, nuclear activities, and we'll make a judgment as to whether or not they do that. But somehow people are precluding, you know, jumping ahead of the game. They have yet to make a full declaration. Why don't we just wait and see what they say? Before -- you know, people go out there and start giving their opinions about whether or not this is a good deal or a bad deal. But one thing is for certain -- the most effective way to deal with this issue is to do so with parties like China and Japan and Korea joining the United States and South Korea with a common voice. The whole object of this exercise is to convince the leader of North Korea to give up his nuclear weapons ambitions. That's the whole object. We have yet to come to the stage where he has made a full declaration, and so we'll wait and see what he says and then we'll make a decision about our obligations, depending upon whether or not we're convinced that there is a solid and full declaration and whether or not there's a way to verify whether or not he's going to do what he says he's going to do.


HOLMES: Again, listening in there to President Bush, who was at a joint press conference happening this hour with the president of South Korea. The new South Korean president. That's the president there discussing the North Korean issue of nuclear weapons. Also on the plate, a trade deal with South Korea that's right now being held up in congress. So several things on the plate this weekend with the meeting at Camp David, with the new South Korean president Lee Myung Bak.

Also happening in the news this morning, a time for remembrance in Oklahoma City, people there marked a moment of silence at 9:02 central time to commemorate the bombing of the federal building that happened 13 years ago. 168 people were killed in that attack. Hundreds more were injured.

Also, the Olympic torch made its way through Bangkok, Thailand this morning. The latest leg on its journey to the Beijing summer games. Thai officials provided heavy security during the relay through the capitol. The run was peaceful despite scattered protests along that route.

You drive, you feel it you know it. Gasoline prices set a new record high this week hitting an average of $3.47 for a gallon of regular unleaded. Analysts say prices are likely to keep climbing before the summer driving season. Oil futures set another record Friday surging past $116 per barrel.

A story we've been keeping an eye on here at CNN, 416 children taken from a polygamist compound in Eldorado, Texas, will remain in state custody for now. Also, DNA testing has been ordered to sort out who the children are. Who the children belong to. CNN's Susan Roesgen is in San Angelo with more on these new developments. Good morning to you again, Susan.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, T.J. It was here at the courthouse behind me in San Angelo where the judge had her ruling last night. She said in spite of some testimony even from some of the mothers at the Yearning for Zion Ranch that she just did not believe that young teenagers would not be forced into arranged marriages, forced to have babies underage and so she has ruled that all the children, all 416, will remain at least temporarily in protective custody. A big disappointment of course for the mothers and for all the lawyers. All the lawyers, more than 350, representing those children.


CODY TOWNS, ATTORNEY FOR CHILD: Well I think it was probably a difficult decision for her. She's obviously facing something that's unprecedented and under the circumstances I think probably did the best that she could do in trying to work through the situation. As an ad litem for the children, we're a little disappointed at what the process turned out to be and obviously we will be appealing and continuing with our children's rights.


ROESGEN: Now here's a strange twist, T.J., this woman, Rosita Swinton, 33 years old, Texas rangers are investigating her in Colorado. They say she may have started this whole investigation by calling the police several weeks ago claiming to be a 16-year-old mother named Sarah at the ranch. You know, investigators never did find the original Sarah. That Sarah that they were looking for, though they did say they have found lots of evidence of other young girls apparently having babies. Apparently in underage marriages to older men. But, T.J., one of the most obvious things to consider in this is that Rosita Swinton appears to be African-American, and all of these Yearning for Zion folks at the ranch, all of these followers of Warren Jeffs are Caucasian. They're all white. They don't have African-American members. So what her relationship was or is to this ranch in Eldorado we don't know. Except that Texas rangers say that in her home they did find some materials that connected her to the ranch here in Texas. So really strange story that just keeps unfolding out here.

HOLMES: Susan will that have any bearing on the case? If it turns out this woman as you mentioned there, this African-American, who appears to be an African-American woman, it was some kind of hoax, let's say and police went on given this one tip, will have that any bearing on the case or can they still move forward with what they found at that compound?

ROESGEN: That's a really good question. Right away some folks said, oh, if it's fraudulent, this whole thing is thrown out. But actually, other lawyers have said, no. The reason that this child abuse case will continue is because the investigators went on to that ranch in good faith, believing that child abuse was occurring there so the investigation will continue.

HOLMES: All right. Susan Roesgen for us in San Angelo, as you said, on this strange case, it continues. We appreciate you reporting for us this morning. We will take a turn to politics now, and where else but Pennsylvania, whose primary is coming up in just a couple of days. The candidates paying some special attention there this weekend. And to the catholic vote. Wonder why? Might have an impact on Tuesday's results, and CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser joins us now live this morning from Philadelphia, there are enough Catholics there. If you can win the catholic vote, if will you, you could do well there?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Oh, yeah, T.J. Catholics make up about one-third of the democratic voters in the state. So they're an important voting bloc here. I think both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would love to have them in their camp. Hillary Clinton's done really well T.J. so far this campaign season in the primaries with catholic voters. She's won about 60 percent of the catholic voters according to exit polls. But Barack Obama has a big catholic supporter here in the state, the democratic Senator Bob Casey Jr. And it could be instrumental to catholic voting what happens Tuesday night.

HOLMES: Is there any sense that his comments about Pennsylvanians being bitter, also couple that with his performance in the most recent debate there. He didn't get very good reviews. Those things together, any sign that that might be enough she can ride that momentum and get a big enough victory in Pennsylvania for her to make a pretty good case for moving on?

STEINHAUSER: We've been taking a look at the polls here in Pennsylvania almost every day and so far we really haven't seen any kind of negative reaction in the polls to the bitter controversy from just over a week ago. Since the debate on Wednesday night, same thing. We've seen one or two polls since then. Hillary Clinton is kind of where she has been, about five points ahead of Barack Obama in our CNN poll of polls when we average all the surveys together. No, really haven't noticed anything yet.

HOLMES: Let me hit here finally on John McCain. He released his tax returns. He was known as one of the most wealthy members of congress. However, you see his tax return. He made about $400,000, explain what that means why the number was as such? And what this could mean moving forward?

STEINHAUSER: You know, that's a mystery. What's going on here? He's one of the wealthiest, but only $400,000 which to me is a lot, but to most wealthy people it's not. Here's the reason. His wife is extremely wealthy. Her estimated worth anywhere from the tens of millions to about $100 million due to her family's fortune. But they file separate tax returns and so she's not part of his tax return. So $400,000, he gave about 25 percent of it to charity, but overall, if you include him and his wife, you've got a lot of money. T.J.?

HOLMES: But compared to her, he's practically broke. And compared to us as well. All right, Paul Steinhauser for us there in Pennsylvania, good to see you. We know we'll see you again in the next couple of days as we head into primary day on Tuesday.

Also, folks, join Rick on the road tonight. Rick Sanchez we're talking about here. He will be live in Philadelphia for a two-hour special on the Pennsylvania primary. He'll be talking with the state's top political movers and shakers and the regular voters there in coffee shops about this make or break contest. Again, that's Rick on the road, tonight and tomorrow night from 10:00 until midnight eastern time.

Be sure to tune in to the election center, our election center, CNN's Tuesday night, 7:00 eastern. The best political team on television will be bringing you results as they come in. After that, want you to stick around for a "LARRY KING LIVE" special on the primary. That's midnight eastern.

A lot more coverage of the pope's visit to New York and this morning mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral coming up.

Also, spreading the word beyond the walls of the church. On the web. Two catholic bloggers talk about their coverage of the pope's visit.


NGUYEN: About 20 minutes ago the mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral ended, following lunch though, Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Yonkers to speak to young people there. Our Jim Acosta is at St. Joseph's Seminary. How excited are the young Catholics. I know that they're coming out by the thousands, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Betty. This is going to be the fun part of the pope's visit. He is coming up to Yonkers which is not quite in New York City, just north of New York City. But also not quite in the Catskills so we can't call this event Woodstock, it's more like popestock. There will be a number of Christian rock bands playing throughout the afternoon in anticipation of the pope's arrival. 25,000 young Catholics will be here, including an estimated 5,000 seminarians. We are at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers and many of those seminarians obviously are preparing for a life in the priesthood and that goes to the serious part of the pope's message here. That is to inspire a new generation of young men into the priesthood. But that will only be part of the celebration this afternoon. As we mentioned, there will be a number of rock bands, and one of those, one of the performing acts here we should mention will be Kelly Clarkson, who is not accustomed to being a warm-up act but she will be here for the holy father this afternoon. And just to indicate, you know, what kind of celebratory atmosphere we have here, Betty, we've seen some I heart, B-16 t-shirts as an I love Pope Benedict XVI, also seeing a number of people with t-shirts saying, got Jesus. People here getting into the spirit here, if you will, up here in Yonkers. And when the pope arrives, he will bless some disabled children around 4:30 this afternoon and then take the stage here while the crowd will sing him "happy birthday." It was his birthday three days ago. And today by the way as many of us know, is the third anniversary of his election as the highest ranking pontiff in the Catholic Church. Betty?

NGUYEN: Many reasons for celebration today, and they indeed, will be doing it there under great weather, might I add. Jim Acosta joining us live. Thank you Jim.

Kerry Kennedy is the niece of John F. Kennedy, the nation's first and only Catholic president. She's also the author of "Being Catholic Now", prominent Americans talk about change in the church and the quest for meaning. Now that book is due out in September. But Cary Kennedy joins us live. You were inside during this historic mass. Did the pope speak to many of the questions and the issues that you wanted answers?

KERRY KENNEDY, ROBERT F. KENNEDY'S DAUGHTER: Well, he talked, again, about the pedophile scandals which I think is so important. Has caused so much pain in our country, in the Catholic Church here, but he really talked about the need for renewal. Renewal of spirit.

NGUYEN: Hope and joy.

KENNEDY: He talked about the beauty of the light coming through, that great stained glass window in the church and he talked about the importance of the work of the nuns and priests who were present. I think that he's spent so much of this journey in the United States talking in a very positive pastoral sense about love and hope and renewal, and that was really his message today.

NGUYEN: As a human rights activist did he deliver on the points when it comes to situations like Darfur, the Olympics in Beijing, when it comes to bringing together the world and to unite and to help remove some of these human rights abuses?

KENNEDY: I think that's one of the great messages of this pope, the position of the Catholic Church in the world, as opposed to John Paul, who was really about Catholics as Catholics. And his address to the U.N. yesterday was really extraordinary. It was very, very much focused on the centrality of human rights and he talked about how human rights is the way to create change and equality around the world. He also spoke about the duty to protect, which is actually a kind of cutting-edge concept in, at the U.N. and around the world, and it demands that nation protect people who are, who are at risk by their very own country.

NGUYEN: For nations to come together and make a difference.

KENNEDY: Absolutely. That really has implications for Darfur and beyond.

NGUYEN: Kerry Kennedy, obviously this was historic not only for the pope but also for you. It was really a great event for you to participate in. I can see it on your face, I can hear it in your voice. Thank you for spending a little time with us.

KENNEDY: Thank you.

NGUYEN: Kerry Kennedy live with us. T.J., it really was a spectacular event inside as the pope celebrated mass. Historic on so many different levels.

HOLMES: And like you said, everybody is glowing out there, Betty. A beautiful day for it. Thank you so much. We want to turn now to another way that the word is spreading about the pope's historic visit to the U.S. Bloggers have been busy right now sharing their views. Two of those bloggers with us this morning. Lisa Hendey joins us from Fresno, California, Thomas Peters is in Washington. We were hoping we would have more time, but, of course, the pope, we had the mass there so we will try to get a couple questions in here to you. Tell me first, have you seen, Lisa, things pick up of course, since the pope actually got here on your blog? Are people just blogging away now?

LISA HENDEY, CATHOLIC BLOGGER: I have, T.J. My blog addresses catholic parents. So many of us all around the country don't have a chance to be there for these events. It's so wonderful they can have a place to come and to exchange ideas about the good news that he's sharing here in the United States.

HOLMES: Thomas, I assume it's the same on yours. Have you found a theme, really that people are talking about in this particular visit, since he's been in the U.S. since Tuesday? Things in particular they're focusing on that they're talking about during this trip?

THOMAS PETERS, CATHOLIC BLOGGER: One of the thing I focused on, on my American Papist blog, is what the pope is saying to youth. One of he things that struck me is how often the pope is talking to you and about you. The theme of his visit is Christ, our hope and I think he sees that the youth are especially apt to live out hope in today's world.

HOLMES: Lisa, are people critical of the pope. There are a lot of things going on in the Catholic Church right now. He's addressed some of those issues but not always peace and harmony and some of this pageantry we see. There's some criticism and controversy out there.

HENDEY: I think people in the new media welcome the chance for dialogue and for meaningful discussion about the things that our pope is saying. It's incumbent upon all of us to download and read the texts of his homilies and the speeches that he's giving and the blogging world gives people the opportunity to do that. I think people are very hopeful and very enthusiastic in their response to this visit.

HOLMES: Thomas, are you excited, that here we are, the pontiff, the pope, all of this history and this ceremonial greatness but at the same time, the internet still playing such a role in coving the pope and this visit?

PETERS: Right, I think it plays a role right now while the pope is in the United States, because the pope isn't a one-man show. He needs all of us to help get his message out there. It's especially rewarding for me because I've been covering the pope for 2 1/2 years. I'll actually log my 3,000 post while he's here. Blogs are a way of letting people stay connected to the pope even when he's at the Vatican, but especially even when he's here in the United States as well. So it's very rewarding.

HOLMES: All right. Again, Thomas Peters, Lisa Hendey, we appreciate you all taking the time. We certainly hoped to have more time with you guys.

HENDEY: Thank you T.J. Thanks for the opportunity.

PETERS: Thank you.

HOLMES: But you know, the pope comes first today. All right? We appreciate you all.

HENDEY: Yes, he does.

HOLMES: Thank you all so much.

We want to turn to someone else here now. Would you believe, folks, that the pope has a skateboard? There's been a lot of excitement about his visit in parishes throughout the country. The Archdiocese of New York actually had a design a pope skateboard contest. This is the winning skateboard. Let's show it to you. Christ our Hope, the theme of the pope's visit and Krystal Melendez won the contest, she joins me from St. Joseph's Seminary, where we're going to be seeing the pope in a little while talk to those young people. Congratulations. Are you a big religious person or are you a big skateboarder? Are you a big pope fan? All three?

KRYSTAL MELENDEZ, DESIGNED PAPAL SKATEBOARD: Actually I do skateboard and I actually (INAUDIBLE), so yeah, I'm a pretty big pope fan.

HOLMES: Where did you get the idea for this particular board? How did you come up with it?

MELENDEZ: I basically just took the papal press -- I had two designs and I put them together.

HOLMES: How, I guess, strange is it for a lot of folks to think that the pope, he has a skateboard now?

MELENDEZ: Yeah, he's going to get a skateboard.

HOLMES: Now what would you give to see the pontiff when he accepts it today, when the pope accepts your skateboard, what would you give to just see him hop on that thing and ride it down the sidewalk?

MELENDEZ: I don't know, I guess a lot. Because it would be pretty cool to see him actually just get on it and ride it a little bit.

HOLMES: Also, this was a way for -- I think we might have lost Crystal -- there she is. But Crystal tell me this before I let you go. How crucial it is you think for events like this and for a competition like the one you just won, something with a skateboard, to get young people involved in Catholicism, get them involved in religion?

MELENDEZ: Yeah. I thought it was a pretty good idea, because it's a way that people, youth can -- get involved, they like skateboarding and they're not like religious bored ordinary contest about it.