updated 4/13/2005 12:51:41 PM ET 2005-04-13T16:51:41

Guest: Jim Martin, Carl Bernstein, Ray Flynn

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  You are looking at a live picture of St.  Peter‘s Basilica in Vatican City, designed nearly 500 years ago by Michelangelo, and inside which, in just six hours from now, will be the scene of what many are now saying will be the largest funeral in the history of the world. 

Already, more than four million mourners have packed themselves into the Eternal City of Rome, an invasion not seen here since the Roman Empire fell in the 5th century.  And still they come, from Krakow to Kiev, from Tampa to Tehran, the pope of peace once again bringing the world together, but this time, bringing them together to say goodbye. 

And now the doors of St. Peter‘s Basilica are closed in preparation for the pope‘s requiem mass, the airspace over Rome closed, the downtown streets of Rome also closed, and the pace of manic Roman drivers, sleeping Christian pilgrims.  Soon, they will rush into St. Peter‘s Square and line rooftops and balconies along a stretch of road that connects the square to the Tiber River. 

Others will crowd into piazzas across Italy, watching a virtual funeral on giant screens.  And across the world, hundreds of millions will also watch.  They will watch as presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens, cardinals and commoners, come together once again to say goodbye to the man who has brought the world together once again, Pope John Paul the Great. 

Welcome to this special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the funeral of Pope John Paul II.  For the next two hours, we are going to go live and have amazing coverage of the scene in Rome right now.  We are going to get reaction not only across America, but also across the rest of the world, all of this leading up to tomorrow‘s funeral that is going to be an extraordinary scene; 70 heads of state, five queens, four kings, and about two million of the faithful are going to crowd into St. Peter‘s Square to say their final goodbyes. 

Chris Matthews is over there right now on the scene. 

Chris, what‘s the latest? 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Joe, thanks for having me on. 

You know, things are really changing over here at the Vatican in the next couple of hours.  For days now, we have watched this incredible tsunami of people coming through St. Peter‘s Basilica to view the body of Pope John Paul II.  That‘s all over now.  They called it quits, no more people. 

In fact, the government of Italy told people not to come, there were so many people coming here.  And now we face the funeral itself.  At 4:00 in the morning East Coast time in America, we are going to have the funeral.  It‘s going to be about three hours long.  For those people watching who are Roman Catholics, they will find it very familiar.

It will be a requiem mass for the Holy Father.  It will be a classic happy funeral arrangement, in other words, with a lot of certainly extra trapping and so many people participating. 

Then, of course, we‘re going to have the burial of the pope, which is going to be quite dramatic.  You know, he is going to be buried down in the basement of the Sistine Chapel, of St. Peter‘s Cathedral, St. Peter‘s Basilica.  Then, of course, the Monday after next, April 18, has been set for the beginning of the conclave, in which 117 cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, much like our own Electoral College, are going to have to pick a new pope, a successor to Pope John Paul II. 

The betting odds are about 50-50 between Europe, which used to dominate these affairs, and perhaps the Third World part of the world, Africa, or more likely Latin America.  There‘s people being mentioned like Cardinal Tettamanzi, who is the cardinal of Milan.  There‘s, of course, Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria, who would be the first African leader of the church. 

So, we‘ve got a lot of interesting events coming down the road, filled with mystery, filled with tradition, and, of course, with holiness. 

And thank you, Joe, for giving me a chance to give you an update. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks a lot, Chris.  Greatly appreciate it.

And I will tell you what.  The sheer numbers of pilgrims in Rome right now, again, millions of them, has absolutely stunned Italian officials. 

NBC‘s Keith Miller now is going to take a look at some of the precautions those officials are taking, so they will be ready for tomorrow‘s funeral mass, again, just hours away from now. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH MILLER, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  It‘s crowd control, not the threat of terrorism, that has security chiefs on edge here.  Police were forced to reopen the line overnight leading to St. Peter‘s Basilica when pilgrims made a run at the barricades.  More than two and a half million people have viewed the body of the pope. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s been something that I don‘t think any of us are going to forget. 

MILLER:  Crowds for Pope John Paul II‘s funeral Friday could exceed four million.  Parks are now makeshift campgrounds.  Mobile medical clinics are treating thousands of exhausted and dehydrated pilgrims. 

Watching over all this, a central office coordinating security. 

Tomorrow, the streets shut to traffic, a no-fly zone over the city. 

President Bush is just one of 200 dignitaries in town for the funeral. 

(on camera):  But authorities here say they haven‘t received any specific threats and, according to U.S. intelligence, they haven‘t picked up any chatter that would indicate that this event is a target. 

(voice-over):  Despite the hardships and hassles, the mood in Rome tonight is calm and respectful. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s go now live to Rome with former Ambassador to the Vatican Ray Flynn, who is with us live from Vatican City. 

Mr. Ambassador, we are looking at these pictures.  We are reading the stories over here in the United States, but it‘s so hard to get a feel for what is really going on over there, just the magnitude of this invasion of Christian pilgrims, to the Eternal City.  If you can, try to give us the spirit of the place.  Put us there in the middle of it all.  What is it like to be there? 

RAY FLYNN, FORMER MAYOR OF BOSTON:  Joe, last night, or tonight, walking through the Pantheon area, an area that I am very, very familiar with—I worked here for almost five years—you would see students from all over the world.  You would see elderly people.  You would see the president, the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.  You would see the president of the Ukraine. 

You would see Cardinal Egan of New York.  You would see the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of Ireland.  Talking to students, talking to people from every different place in the world with their flags, Joe, it‘s just absolutely extraordinary.  It‘s like—I can‘t imagine any other person in the world that could attract this type of crowd coming to any one place to pay tribute to anybody. 

John Paul II, this really is, as we say in politics, Joe, is really turning them out.  What is really sensational about it is the spirit of the people that are here.  I have not seen one angry group of people.  They are not celebrating, Joe.  I think that would be an unfortunate term.  What they are is, they are respectfully being part of the history in the making, but, more importantly than that, privately, I guess, as well as publicly, they are here to say—to bid their last farewell to a man, whether they be Catholic or not Catholic, has touched their lives in some way.

And I think, Joe, the best thing to say is, this is a man that has made a piece of the world a lot better for a lot of people.  He has been that voice, whether you agree with him on every issue, but he has been that voice who has been consistent, speaking out for social and economic justice and peace.  And Joe, I think that what is—really unites this meeting here today, this funeral today.

And I am wondering, Joe, whether or not—you and I have been in politics a long time.  I am wonder or not, Joe, does that, what he stands for, does—he represents, is that the next blueprint for the world‘s—for the years to come across the world?  Is this a winning strategy that John Paul II—wouldn‘t we wish we all could die in this kind of tribute?  If we could, then why don‘t we lead our—live our lives like this? 

SCARBOROUGH:  The way he lived his.

And I wanted to ask you this.  I actually had somebody come up to me today.  I was in the grocery store, and they said—they have been watching the show every night, and they said, what is so special about this guy?  What is so special about this pope?  Why are you all paying all this attention?  Why are all these people going to Rome?  And then, of course, this afternoon, I read that this is going to be the largest funeral in history.  It‘s going to be larger than JFK‘s.  It‘s going to be larger than Churchill‘s, larger than Gandhi‘s, larger than FDR‘s, you name it.  This is going to be the largest funeral ever. 

When did this pope go from being Pope John Paul II in the world‘s eyes to being Pope John Paul the Great that would bring out four million, five million people to his funeral?  When did that happen? 

FLYNN:  Joe, I think that‘s an excellent point that your friend mentioned to you. 

I think what it really is about, it‘s about consistent speaking out of the truth.  It‘s about somebody who speaks to you and advises you, tells you what is best for you.  I know that‘s the relationship that he has with young people.  Now, most politicians or public people that we are aware of, they generally tell us what is in their best interest, what is in their political interest, what is in their business interest. 

The message that is important to them, they try to convey to you and convince you of what is important to them.  This is different, Joe.  And it has to be thought of in that respect.  And maybe, if we think about it in that way, Joe, we will have a better understanding in terms of answering that question that your friend asked you. 

It‘s about talking to people about what is best for them, what is in their best, not only spiritual interest, but what is best for them to lead a happy, productive—live a life in a peaceful community, raise their family, see the values of community, the values of people working together, living together, worshipping together, with these values that are so important to—to our society. 

I think that‘s what it‘s about, Joe.  I think it‘s about this man is connecting with people, or has connected with people, and they are starting to realize, this was perhaps the one man who wasn‘t selling them something that they didn‘t want to buy.  This is a man that told them what was best for them, and they appreciated it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, let me bring you in right now, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan. 

I certainly don‘t want to talk about politics at a time like this.  We are less than six hours away from the pope‘s funeral, but, again, talking about bringing all sides together, I saw quite a few politicians from the United States that had sort of been turned sideways with the Catholic Church, had been fighting with the Catholic Church over issues like abortion.  Of course, we saw a dust-up with John Kerry leading into the election.

But even those Democratic politicians showed up.  Why? 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, Joe, you make a very good point.  If John Paul II, given his views on right to life, no exceptions, we must protect all innocent life, if he had been nominated for a federal appellate judgeship, the Democrats in the Senate would have filibustered his nomination to death. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t know about that. 

BUCHANAN:  And he would have been called an extremist because of his views on life, which were pro-life all the way.  But, look, I do agree...

SCARBOROUGH:  But he reaches out, though.  He reaches out, though, to Democrats. 

BUCHANAN:  There‘s no doubt about it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Who may be pro-choice, right? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, here—I think he would say he loves them, but I don‘t think he would respect their position. 

But, look, I think Ray Flynn has really touched on something here, the ambassador did, when he said this.  Look, John Paul wasn‘t running for reelection.  He was elected pope back in 1978.  So, the rest of his life, he was free to speak the truth as he saw it to a world that did not agree with it.  He spoke it with love.  He spoke it with passion.  And it was what he believed was best for mankind. 

Now, we have seen on television night after night, so and so dissented from this view, someone dissented from that.  But the pope spoke the truth as he saw it.  And I think everyone, Bill Clinton, liberal Democrats, others, understand that, that this man believed this.  This was the truth as he saw it.  He taught it.  He lived it.  He died by it.  He was personally a holy man.

And everybody can say, you know, a genuinely good man has walked among us.  And, in this sense, I think that they are paying tribute to that, even though they dissented from him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I will tell you, it‘s a remarkable scene.  Gentlemen, stay where you are.  We have got a lot more to talk about tonight when we get back.

And, again, we are less than six hours away now from this funeral.  And when we get back, much more.  You are looking, of course, at pictures of the scenes all across Rome, the Eternal City, over four million pilgrims packed in, saying a final goodbye to Pope John Paul the Great. 

We‘ll be right back in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You are looking at a live picture of Rome and Vatican City.  And Rome is bursting at the scenes.  Millions arrived and waited hours and hours just to have a quick glance at John Paul II.  Now where do they go and what do they do tomorrow? 

That‘s coming up when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The Vatican is reporting that over one million people waited in long lines that we have been showing you all week, some people waiting for 24 hours, some even up to 48 hours, just for a brief glimpse of the pope. 

And one of those people is NBC‘s Jim Maceda, who got in line and brought his camera.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM MACEDA, NBC CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over):  This is where it starts for millions of pilgrims, the back of the line; 7:00 p.m., and my line is two miles long. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You are right, we are at the back of the line. 

(LAUGHTER)

MACEDA:  My new buddy, Bill Wakefield (ph) from Devil‘s Lake, North Dakota. 

(on camera):  You just wanted to be a part of church history? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Part of it‘s church history, but the fact of the matter is, he is just such an icon, an icon for our century. 

MACEDA:  Another instant friend, Lori Olson (ph), Hicksville, New York. 

(on camera):  How long do you think you will spend on this line? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, I have heard anything from 15 hours to 24. 

MACEDA:  Bill, you and I got in the line around the same time.  That was almost two hours ago.  How far do you think we have gone? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have gone about one block. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Ask me again at 3:00 in the morning, but right now, I‘m going for it. 

MACEDA (voice-over):  Our line full of emotional Polish Americans, like Stasha (ph), who came over from Brooklyn.

(on camera):  You may be on line for another 12 or 14 hours. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That‘s OK.  That‘s the only reason why I am in Rome, because I want to be next to Holy Father and say goodbye to him. 

MACEDA (voice-over):  Five hours, and the first sign of a restroom. 

(on camera):  There are port-a-potties.  We have just come to the first ones, and another very long line. 

You take your first hit morale here.  You have been walking for about five hours on the line.  You think you are making progress, only to find out that this is not the real line.  The real line starts here.  We are still about eight to 12 hours away from the pope. 

(voice-over):  Italian folk songs and free blankets help us through a slow, cold night in the ‘30s. 

(on camera):  This was worthwhile for you? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, I think it‘s worthwhile for everybody standing here. 

MACEDA:  We started this at sunset, and now it‘s sunrise over St.

Peter‘s Basilica.  And we are getting very close, finally. 

(voice-over):  I hit a wall, asleep on my feet. 

(on camera):  I am very cold, very cold. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There aren‘t many things in my life that I have done that are good, but this is one of them. 

MACEDA:  After 13 hours, our first glimpse of John Paul that lasts only seconds, captured by Vatican TV. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He was absolutely the man I expected to see, although you could see that he has carried a heavy cross. 

MACEDA:  And our many hours didn‘t seem to matter.  We had made it step by step, a once-in-a-lifetime journey, with still thousands behind us waiting to do the same. 

Jim Maceda, NBC News, the Vatican.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Great job by Jim.  I mean, I will tell you what.  He put us right there in the middle of that crowd. 

Now, of course, that line has been shut down, as the Vatican prepares for the funeral of one of the greatest figures of the 20th century. 

With us now, again, from Vatican City, a man who knew him so well, Ray Flynn, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.  Also with me, Father Jim Martin.  He is a Jesuit priest and the associate editor of “America: The National Weekly Catholic Magazine,” MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, and also Carl Bernstein, MSNBC contributor and author of “His Holiness.” 

Hey, Carl, you know, in politics, we always talk about defining moments.  Perhaps, for Ronald Reagan, it‘s when he went to the Berlin Wall and challenged Gorbachev.  For other presidents, they all seem to have their moments in time.  I was asking Ambassador Ray Flynn before, what was the pope‘s defining moment, when he stopped being seen as Pope John Paul II and started being seen by many Catholics as Pope John Paul the Great? 

CARL BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR/JOURNALIST:  I don‘t think it‘s just about Catholics.  And I don‘t think it‘s a question of John Paul the Great. 

I think his great moments are three, probably.  The first is his incredible visit to Poland in the first year of his papacy, when he went to the great square in Warsaw, and said that excluding Christ from any longitude or any latitude on the Earth is a sin, not against God, but against man.  And that was a challenge to the communists such as they had never heard, not with tanks, but with a crosier and with robes and with words and nonviolence. 

And it‘s one of the great moments of the history of the last part of the 20th century.  His assassination attempt, I think, is probably the other.  He believed he had been spared after that attempt for a providential role in history, having to do largely with both the salvation of mankind, as he would put it, and the Soviet Union, but remembering, of course, that he was not a democrat, that he was not a capitalist, that he was not happy with the materialism of the West.

And, finally, his death and the last year or two of his life and his ailing, which has been a great example to the world.  I think it has shown people all over the world another aspect of his greatness, even as they have had to consider aspects of the papacy that perhaps many people don‘t like.  And one of the amazing things that‘s happened in this last week, I think that the—unlike the Reagan funeral, I think that the television coverage and the news coverage of this event, let‘s not talk just about this broadcast, though, but generally has been quite remarkable, because it has shown the Catholic Church in all its complexity and contradiction. 

It has shown people what the papacy is and what this institution is in a way they have never seen it before.  And they have seen how he made the church and Catholicism in a secular age a huge force in the world.  So, I think—and now it also—I think this event itself is having a huge impact on the cardinals who will be at the conclave.  I think they now understand that the people of the world, not just the people of the church, are watching what they are doing.  And I think it‘s going to affect who and how they deliberate. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  Joe, I think one of the things—look, if you could use a phrase for the pope, it would be contra mundum, against this world. 

The pope really stood against what is happening not only in the communist world, but what is happening in Europe and what is happening in the United States, the secularism, the materialism.  Toward the end of his life, one of the great things he did, he defied the new Europe, the European Union, which has a new Constitution, which does not even recognize the Christian roots of Europe.  You know, Hilaire Belloc said, you know, the faith is Europe.  Europe is the faith. 

And I think the Holy Father thought that he was losing Europe, that the Catholic Church was losing Europe, that Christianity was losing Europe, and this goes back to what Ray Flynn said.  He got up and spoke the truth as he saw it.  And we have seen television shows that show how controversial he is, they say, because of this, that.  He is controversial because he spoke against the age. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Father Jim Martin, let me ask you... 

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN:  Let me say one quick thing here, if I may. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, no. 

BERNSTEIN:  Sorry.  Go ahead.  Go ahead.  Sorry.  Go ahead, Father martin.  Pardon me. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Father Jim Martin, tell us what we can expect tomorrow.

FATHER JIM MARTIN, AUTHOR, “IN GOOD COMPANY”:  Well, it‘s going to be a traditional funeral, obviously, with a lot more sort of elaborate touches to it. 

I think one of the beautiful things is that the pope has the same funeral that any Catholic has.  You will see the casket greeted at the door, probably by the celebrant.  There will be a pall, which is a white cloth, put over the coffin, which is reputation of your baptismal garment.  You will have the sprinkling of holy water on the casket.  It will be processed up the main aisle, and there it will stay for the liturgy of the word, which is their readings from the Old Testament.

There will be a psalm, which would probably be sung, and then the second reading from St. Paul, the Gospel reading, and then a homily which will be given.  And then you‘ll have the liturgy of the Eucharist, which is probably familiar to most of the viewers, the consecration of the host, after that, distribution of communion, and then probably a eulogy by one of the cardinals, and then what‘s known as the final commendation, where the casket is blessed once again and taken to its place of rest. 

So, it will be much more elaborate than that, and obviously much of that will be in Latin.  I think I read that all of it will be in Latin, and obviously with songs and a lot of incense.  But it will be the basic funeral that every Catholic has. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Which is fascinating in and of itself. 

Father, stay with us.  Gentlemen, stay with us, because, coming up, we are just hours away from Pope John Paul II‘s funeral. 

We are going to take you live to Vatican City again for the very latest on the preparations there and go back to Ambassador Ray Flynn, an American in Rome tonight that can tell us what it‘s like to be there and what we can expect tomorrow. 

That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  More stunning scenes from Vatican City, a remarkable image of a remarkable place at a remarkable time.  We are going to be going back to Vatican City as we move closer to the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

But, first, here‘s the latest news that you and your family need to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  With the funeral now just hours away, the whole world is watching the Vatican. 

Steve Handelsman is there with the very latest. 

Steve, tell me, what are they doing to prepare at this hour?  I know that Rome is asleep right now, but, in a few hours, this city is going to come alive like never before. 

STEVE HANDELSMAN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  That‘s right, Joe.

In about five and a half hours, this funeral begins, probably the world‘s biggest anywhere, any time for anyone.  But there is a bit going on here in St. Peter‘s Square at 4:33 in the morning, Rome time.  We will zoom in and you can see.  Of course, this close to the pope‘s funeral, they are pretty much ready.  All of the chairs are in place, and all of the video screens are fired up.

But workers are putting their finishing touches on the preparations for this outdoor mass at St. Peter‘s.  Within just a block or two of here, and spreading out across Rome, the pilgrims are asleep.  And we have got some video of that to show you.  A lot of these people have come from around Italy, from across Europe, and many from around the world to attend this funeral mass tomorrow, four million people, say Roman officials. 

The police chief here in town said, frankly, we have got a problem. 

And he doesn‘t mean anything specific.  He means just crowd management.  Four million people is more people than they have ever had in Rome for anything before.

And so, Joe, you have got a series of spectaculars, a series of unique events about to occur.  The bringing together of four million people in one place at one time, that doesn‘t happen.  And the largest funeral for anyone, any time, any place, it will all happen here on St. Peter‘s in just a few hours.  And the sun will be up here, Joe, in about an hour and a half.  The pilgrims who are, no doubt, having trouble sleeping—it‘s in the ‘50s here in Rome and damp—many of them have gotten blankets, but a lot of them don‘t, and so they are going to be having trouble sleeping. 

They are going to be eager to get over here to St. Peter‘s Square and try to jockey for prime positions, where they can actually see the late pontiff, they can see the ceremony, they can see the video screens.  And so, they will start moving here soon.  It will be quite a morning here in Vatican City—Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m sure it will, Steve.  Thank you so much for that report.  It‘s just absolutely fascinating. 

Now, thinking about his 26-year papacy, it‘s hard to pick just one legacy.  He, of course, helped bring down communists in Eastern Europe.  He traveled over a million miles, more than any other pope, and he helped bring together Catholics, Jews, and Muslims. 

Here‘s Martin Fletcher with his take on the pope‘s legacy. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN FLETCHER, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Pope John Paul II‘s legacy is not only the Catholics.  He reached out to others, especially Jews and Muslims.  He did not look for converts, but understanding.  And from Jews, forgiveness.

DAVID ROSEN, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE:  I don‘t think it is an exaggeration to call Pope John Paul II the hero of Catholic-Jewish reconciliation.  It was important for him to come to terms and to show that he was coming to terms with all the problematic aspects of the church‘s history, if you like, the skeletons in its cupboard.

FLETCHER:  For instance, the Vatican stayed silent while Nazi Germany exterminated six million Jews.  The pope‘s pilgrimage to the Holy Land took him to the very heart of Jewish suffering, the memorial to the holocaust.  Here, the pope shared the pain of the Jews and expressed remorse for the tragedies inflicted on Jews for almost 2,000 years in the name of the church.

POPE JOHN PAUL II:  Let us live in a future in which there will be no more anti-Jewish feeling among Christians and anti-Christian feeling among Jews.

FLETCHER:  His message: that the Catholic church has changed, that it recognizes the legitimacy of other religions, that everyone‘s opinion counts.  And that also includes Islam.

Muslims do not forgive Christians for the brutal crusades when, in the name of the church, Christians invaded the Holy Land and slaughtered many thousands of Muslims.  Or for the centuries when missionaries tried to convert Muslims to Christianity.  All the more remarkable then that in Morocco, 150,000 Muslim—not Christians, Muslims—would gather to hear pope‘s message of understanding calling for dialogue.

FATHER MICHAEL MCGARRY, TANTUR INSTITUTE:  He was the one who did more for Catholic-Jewish relations than any pope in history.  The incipient dialogue between Catholics and Muslims is a very tender one, a very fragile one.  And I think that what Pope John Paul II did during his pontificate will be seen as the one who opens the doors.

FLETCHER:  This all came together in the Holy Land.  The culmination of all the pope‘s travels, his dream fulfilled, following in the footsteps of Christ.

And in this troubled land, Christians shared with Muslims and Jews, all welcomed his message of peace.

MCGARRY:  He was a man who recognized that unless we relate differently to the other world, religions, in particular Judaism and Islam, but all of the world religions, we would really not be in the 20th century, or the 21st century for that matter.

FLETCHER:  Pope John Paul II once told leaders of other religions, we are not praying together but together we will pray.  He understood that in today‘s world, no one religion can have a monopoly on God.

Martin Fletcher, NBC News, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And still with us live in Vatican City, Ray Flynn, former ambassador to the Vatican.  Also with us, Father Jim Martin, editor of “America” magazine, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, Carl Bernstein, MSNBC contributor and author of “His Holiness,” and Chester Gillis, chairman of the Department of Theology at Georgetown University. 

Ray Flynn, let me go back to you. 

Today, a decision was made.  At least we found out about that decision in the United States to allow Bernard law to take part, have a somewhat significant role in the funeral of Pope John Paul II.  Obviously, many in America upset.  Do you think that was a wise choice, to select somebody as controversial as the former cardinal of Boston? 

FLYNN:  Well, Joe, the point being that Cardinal Law has served the church for many, many years.  He made a terrible mistake in Boston, delegating authority to other people.  I think that it showed bad judgment.  There‘s no question about it. 

But we have to understand that, you know, being Catholic, being Christian means you forgive people.  That doesn‘t necessarily mean you forget, but you forgive people.  You can‘t carry grudges.  And I think this is once again showing an example of not only reaching out to Cardinal Law and to the church, but to the victims as well, in saying that we have got to move on.  We have got to heal.  We are not going to forget, but we are going to continue to try to unite the church.

And we hope and pray that, someday, that the victims of clergy sex abuse, which was a terrible situation—it never should have happened—but we hope and pray that this is a sad lesson that we have all learned.  And I have to believe, Joe, that we become stronger, and more united in our frailty.  And that is what we learn as Catholics.  That‘s what we learn as Christians.  None of us are perfect. 

And I am not some person that should hold a grudge against anybody for the mistakes that they made.  If those victims up in Boston can forgive for what has happened to them, then I think certainly I can and the rest of us can as well. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Chester Gillis, let me ask you about the decision to have Cardinal Law involved tomorrow in the funeral.  Do you think it may cause further problems in the United States? 

CHESTER GILLIS, THEOLOGIAN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY:  Well, I don‘t know if it will cause further problems, but Cardinal Law is still involved in the church, and he is still working in Rome, so he has the privilege of this opportunity, decided by the cardinals. 

I suppose there will be some who will never forgive him and who are very angry, but this occasion of the pope‘s death gives the church a chance to burnish its image, after it was so deeply scarred and tarnished by the priest abuse scandal in the United States. 

This week has given the church a chance to showcase the best side of the church, I think, the holiness of the church, the ritual of the church, and the remarkable character of a particular leader.  I think that is what it is about, and Cardinal Law is paying obeisance to that pope in his death. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about the pope‘s legacy?  Not—obviously, there aren‘t a lot of people this week that are even talking about the downside of the legacy.  Let‘s talk about, again, what you think he will be remembered for long after this funeral is over tomorrow. 

GILLIS:  Well, I have always thought that the thing he will be remembered for first is his deep spirituality. 

I mean, all of your other guests have mentioned a remarkable legacy on a number of areas, from politics to a kind of ecclesial bureaucracy, to his travels and all, but there was a deep sincerity in his own spirituality.  And I think it was a pastoral figure for—I think that‘s one of the reasons that so many people are in Rome and so many people are attracted to him. 

The pastoral sense of this man came across so well in every event that he did.  And that pastoral sense was grounded in his own deep spirituality.  I sincerely believe that is true.  And I think that‘s a legacy of Christianity and a kind of holiness that all of us could learn from. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you. 

And stay with us.  We are going to be back with a lot more from our al-star panel.  And we are going to talk about the impact John Paul had on Catholicism here in the states, across the world, and what‘s coming next. 

Don‘t go away.  We are only hours away now from the funeral of Pope John Paul II. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to our special coverage of Pope John Paul

II. 

Here is a scene from earlier days, truly showing that he is a pope for all people, a pope for all seasons, break dancing in Vatican City, very interesting. 

You know, Pat Buchanan, I look at all the people that are crowding in, the millions of people that are crowding in around St. Peter‘s Square, and I am just wondering, is that sending a message to cardinals who are going to be voting in the next week or so that this may be the future direction of the church?  It worked so well for this pope.  Certainly don‘t want to change the formula for success?

BUCHANAN:  You know, Joe, you have got a very good point. 

I have talked to folks who are very conversant with the Vatican, with the cardinals, who have been basically—let‘s say they might be handicapping the next pope, and they tell me that the extraordinary popularity and the charisma of this pope is going to have an influence on the cardinals, can‘t help but have it, in the sense, how do we top this? 

And that would argue for something dramatic, and might well help the leading Third World candidate, who is Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria.  In other words, the cardinals would say, you know, the Holy Father has brought so much fabled attention to the church in his life and in his death that this dramatic move, reaching out to the Third World, might be the way to go.

So, I don‘t think you can help but be affected by what we are seeing right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Carl Bernstein, what is your take on that? 

BERNSTEIN:  I think that the cardinals, more than anything, want to continue the notion that this church is a great force in the world, and particularly for the pope‘s legacy of what he called the other, those who are marginalized by poverty, by disease, by physical affliction, by geography, by genocide. 

That really—and he fought this through a spiritual message, and a spiritual message that transcends, incidentally, I think, Catholicism.  Pat was talking a while ago about the pope objecting to the European constitution not having recognition of Christian roots.  I think one of the reasons we see so many people in such attention on this funeral for this pope is because his appeal and his universality went way beyond the Catholic Church, way beyond Christendom. 

And I think that figures in what the conclave is going to do.  They want the Catholic Church to be universally recognized, as this pope began to make it recognized as a great force for the good. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

BERNSTEIN:  The Catholic Church takes care of more refugees than any institution in the world, educates more people, has more hospitals.

BUCHANAN:  Right.  Joe...

BERNSTEIN:  And this is a huge job, and I think that it‘s going to go

way beyond

BUCHANAN:  But, Joe...

BERNSTEIN:  Mere theology in picking the next pope. 

BUCHANAN:  It would be a terrible mistake, I believe, to suggest that this pope was simply into what the Protestants call the social gospel. 

The most important thing the Holy Father does, he is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, one billion Catholics.  This church is profoundly divided on a lot of issues.  Some of us believe we need another St.  Athanasios at the time where you had the Aryan heresy.  Fourth-fifths of the Roman Empire, when it was Christian, was involved in heresy. 

And this Holy Father, the most important thing Catholic cardinals have to do is find a Holy Father who can deal with the dissent in the United States and the breakaway in Europe and the spread of Catholicism worldwide. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Patrick Buchanan, thank you for that. 

And we will be right back with much more in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Our special coverage on the life and the legacy of Pope John Paul II continues on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in just a minute, just hours away from the pope‘s funeral. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Chester Gillis, what can we expect from the next papacy? 

Will it be more of the same? 

GILLIS:  Well, the case has been made largely for more of the same, but I think that‘s unlikely, not because this wasn‘t a remarkable papacy, but because it was a remarkable papacy.

We will get continuity, I think, in doctrinal visions.  But, style, I think, will change.  Each personality is unique.  Each personality will bring different gifts to the church, a different style of management and leadership.  This pope was larger than life in so many ways.  It would be very hard to fill his shoes.

So, I wouldn‘t necessarily set ourselves up for high expectations that the next pope will be identical to this one in substance or more in style.  I don‘t think—he may be in substance, but unlikely that he will be in style.  And he will bring something different, some other angle to the papacy that might be attractive to the world in other ways. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, gentlemen, my big thanks to my panel.

And don‘t go away, because we have got another full hour of this special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the funeral of Pope John Paul II.  That‘s straight ahead.

And, also, make sure to stay tuned at 3:30 a.m.  Chris Matthews and Chris Jansing are going to be hosting our coverage of Pope John Paul II‘s funeral live from Vatican City.

We‘ll be right back.

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