updated 4/8/2005 1:23:24 PM ET 2005-04-08T17:23:24

Guest: Deal Hudson, Bill Clinton, C. Eugene Morris

ANNOUNCER:  The funeral of Pope John Paul II.

ANNOUNCER:  Now, live from MSNBC world headquarters, Tucker Carlson. 

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC:  Welcome to MSNBC‘s coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II. 

You are looking at live pictures from Rome, where it‘s just after 6:00 Friday morning.  The pope‘s funeral will begin in four hours, 10:00 a.m. local time.  Last-minute preparations are under way now.  And you can see some people already in St. Peter‘s Square, where thousands slept overnight waiting. 

Some four million people, both pilgrims and world leaders, have gathered in Rome in what is certainly to be one of the largest gathering in human history.  In the age of terrorism, all those people are inevitably causing unprecedented security concerns. 

We begin with NBC‘s Keith Miller. 


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 the 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. 


CARLSON:  That was NBC‘s Keith Miller reporting from Rome. 

Now to the funeral itself. 

Joining me live from Rome is Father Thomas Williams.  He‘s is the dean of theology at the University of Rome and an NBC News analyst, also Monsignor John Strynkowski.  He‘s the rector of the St. James Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York.  Her is also an NBC News analyst. 

Thanks, both, for joining us. 

Monsignor, tell me.  I just want your quick impressions.  This is, apparently, the largest funeral in human history.  What‘s it like so far? 

MSGR. JOHN STRYNKOWSKI, RECTOR, ST. JAMES CATHEDRAL OF BROOKLYN:  I would say that, on the one hand, there is sadness on the part of many people.  But there‘s also a tone of celebration. 

It‘s been remarkable since the announcement of the pope‘s death.  I think that people have wanted to celebrate the accomplishments of the pope, what he has done over the years, and also the fact that now he—his earthly life has come to an end and that he is with the lord in heaven.  And there is just this joyful spirit.  You see it in the people in the streets, that they are here to remember a great man and, in a sense, to accompany him now on his final journey to heaven. 

It‘s been interesting that, on a number of occasions, for example, when his body was brought out into St. Peter‘s Square, people applauded.  It was almost as though, by their applause, they wanted to lift the pope up into heaven.  They wanted to raise him up.  And it‘s all that part of a spirit of joyful celebration.  So, it‘s just quite, quite remarkable. 

And, also, the number of young people, I would say the majority of people here are young people.  And it‘s absolutely amazing.  I have never seen anything like this.  I have been here for the deaths of other popes.  But I have never seen such an outpouring of young people.  And it‘s quite obvious that the pope‘s reaching out to young people has had great effect and that they love him. 

The Italian newspapers are calling them the papa boys.  It‘s an interesting expression.  But I think it says something about the love of the pope for young people and the young people for the pope. 

CARLSON:  Father Williams, do you get that feeling, too, that—I mean, this is a crowd, of course, primarily of Christians, who must sincerely believe that the pope is going on to a better place, to be with God.  Do they seem joyful? 

FATHER THOMAS WILLIAMS, DEAN OF THEOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF ROME:  Yes, absolutely, Tucker.  They do.  It‘s actually kind of exhilarating. 

I don‘t know if you can hear behind us, but you can—even now, from down below, you can hear chants and singing coming up from down in the street below.  And, as Monsignor was saying, it‘s mostly these young people that are out in droves to send the Holy Father off. 

And I think that they‘re—it‘s kind of a celebration of Christian hope.  You remember, the leitmotif of this pontificate from the very beginning was one of hope, was one that, you don‘t need to be afraid, that Christ has won the final victory through his death and his resurrection.  And this is something he proclaimed for 26 ½ years and that people are really responding to. 

CARLSON:  Monsignor Strynkowski, we are looking at pictures here of where you are, Vatican City.  And it just looks absolutely packed.

I hate to ask you a procedural question, but I can‘t resist, because I‘m interested.  We‘re hearing estimates of up to four million people are going to be there today.  Are all of them going to get communion, participate in the mass?  And, if so, how is that going to work?  I mean, how much bread and how much wine will that require? 

STRYNKOWSKI:  No, they will not. 

My understanding is that perhaps only in the square will communion be distributed, that there is a certain number of priests.  They will have a certain number of hosts.  And they will distribute as much communion as they have and then no longer.  But I think what‘s important is—is what we call spiritual communion, the fact that people, even at a distance or even watching over television, can, in their hearts, join themselves to the celebration here and, with their faith and with their love for the lord and for the church, they can receive the lord, as you might say, spiritually, even though not sacramentally. 

So people, even if they are a mile away or if they‘re 3,000 miles away, can still, in a way, participate through their faith and their love. 

CARLSON:  Now, Father Williams, the way most of us are going to participate is by watching on television what happens, and mostly the eulogy.  What are we going to see?  Who is going to give it?  What he‘s going to say?  And in what language will it be given? 

WILLIAMS:  Well, the homily will be given in Italian by Cardinal Ratzinger, who is dean of the College of Cardinals, which means he‘s the senior member of this group of cardinals.  And we are hoping to be able to provide you with some direct translation at the same—simultaneous translation.

It won‘t be so much a eulogy.  That is not the custom in the Catholic Church, just to speak about the about the great feats and works of a person.  But, really, he will speak about the Christian mystery.  He will speak about heaven.  He will speak about death.  He will speak about our understanding of human life in the context of eternity. 

And then he will kind of place the pope‘s life within that context.  It‘s not a moment so much to ponder the virtues of a person.  That will come later.  But, in this mass, it‘s more to pray for him, to lift him up to the lord and to really consider what each of our lives is before God. 

CARLSON:  Now, Monsignor Strynkowski, we are reading that there are about 70 presidents and heads of state coming for the ceremonies today.  Not all of them get along, obviously.

For instance, we have the head of state of Syria, Bashar Assad, will be there, and, of course, President Bush will be there.  What kind of diplomacy is required?  Who makes the seating chart?  Are people from feuding nations kept apart from one another?  How does that work? 

STRYNKOWSKI:  Well, actually, my understanding is, at least in the past, is that heads of state were set in alphabetical order.  So, that could put people who are at some odds with one another fairly close to each other. 

Again, my experience is, from the past, that everyone is very cordial, that they will indeed shake hands, maybe not very warmly.  But, nevertheless, they will be cordial with one another.  I think we have to remember that the pope was a man of peace, a man who sought peace. 

And I think it would be ironic if, at his funeral, people who were at odds with one another did not exchange some kind of recognition and reach out to each other.  And I think, in the past, also, an occasion like this has led to some breakthroughs, has led to some better relationships.  So, the pope, even in death, may be someone who is bringing about more peace and more understanding. 

CARLSON:  All right, well, Assad and Bush are pretty close alphabetically.  They may have that chance. 

Monsignor Strynkowski, Father Williams, thank you both.  We will be back with you both later on. 

Coming up next, what‘s inside the pope‘s last will and testament, the instructions he left for the church? 

And Brian Williams has an exclusive interview with former President Clinton.  He is part of the first-ever presidential delegation to a pope‘s funeral. 

And, later on, NBC‘s Jim Maceda chronicles 24 hours of standing in line with a million people, all of them waiting to view Pope John Paul II.

Stay with us.



CARLSON:  You‘re watching, of course, a live picture from the Vatican, as we are just hours away from the funeral of Pope John Paul II. 

Today, we learned about the pope‘s last will and testament, last updated in the year 2000.  In it, the pope reflects on his future, his fragile health and his own 80th birthday.  He prays for the—quote—“necessary strength to continue.”  He also makes plans for his own burial. 

More about this 15-page document from our correspondent in Rome, Chris Jansing. 


CHRIS JANSING, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  The last will and testament of Pope John Paul II is an intensely personal document and unlike what most of us are used to seeing in a will.

Although it runs 15 pages, it was written over a period of decades and makes only a passing note of his worldly possessions.  He says they are few, that the things he used on a day-to-day basis should be distributed as his personal secretary or those closest to him see fit.  In fact, it‘s ruminations on a spiritual life. 

He talks about the burden that he was given as pope and, in fact, in 2000, questions whether or not his work will soon be done.  He felt it was his calling to usher the church into the new millennium.  Once he was doing that and also at the time, obviously suffering from Parkinson‘s disease, he wondered how long God would call him to serve. 

In 1982, he also suggested that the cardinals should talk to the bishops and the cardinals in Poland and whether or not he should be buried in his native country.  That‘s something he later reconsidered, although that certainly would have been the wish of the literally millions, an estimated two million natives of Poland, who came here today. 

We saw along the line red and white flags dotting throughout, many of them who had driven 30 to 40 hours, who had come here to pay their final respects to Pope John Paul.  And, finally, he asked that his personal notes be burned.  Now, that could be some poetry that he had written.  But most people I‘ve talked to say he probably didn‘t want to offend anyone, that there may be some personal notations in there.  And this pope, who was such a prolific writer, who, in fact, at many times in his pontificate, produced at least 30 pages a day, felt that everything he needed to say had been said. 


CARLSON:  Chris Jansing, reporting from Rome. 

Joining me now to talk more about the pope‘s will is Father C. Eugene Morris.  He‘s a director of worship at the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.  And here is Reverend Anthony Figueiredo, professor of theology at Seton Hall University.  He is also an MSNBC analyst. 

Father Figueiredo, can you expand on what Chris Jansing just said about burning his papers?  It‘s the first thing he asked for in his will.  He‘s very specific about who he wants to do it.  He seems to really mean it.  And for those of us who love history, it is kind of an upsetting concept.  Here‘s this world historic figure asking for his papers to be burned.  Why would he ask that? 


It is really a remarkable will, a spiritual testament to a great, great man.  In fact, Pope John Paul VI asked for his personal notes to be burned as well.  And I think the reason is simply that the Holy Father, when I working with him, for example, on those synods, often would he scribble down the names of bishops or cardinals, write his personal notations.  And they are open to misinterpretation if they‘re not read in a certain context. 

Certainly, those notes are often an unfinished work, Tucker.  And, for that reason, I think the Holy Father, as Chris just said, really didn‘t want to offend anyone at all.  So, that‘s the reason basically why he has asked for those notes to be burned. 

CARLSON:  Father Morris, he also asked—Pope John Paul II also asked in his will to be buried—quote—“in the bare earth, not a tomb.”  What is the significance of that request?  Is that a scriptural reference?  What does that mean exactly? 

FATHER C. EUGENE MORRIS, DIRECTOR OF WORSHIP, KENRICK-GLENNON SEMINARY:  I think, Tucker, just to reflect the simplicity of the man‘s life, in a sense, not to draw any particular attention to him. 

The simplicity of returning to the earth, remember, man, that you are dust, and from dust you—or to dust, rather, you shall return.  He would have been very cognizant of that particular passage of sacred scripture.  The frailty of his own life, particularly as his health deteriorated, he would be aware of that and kind of just draw particular attention to that reality. 

CARLSON:  Will his wish be granted?  Will he be buried in, in fact, in bare earth and not a tomb? 

MORRIS:  I would say probably not, depending on if they‘re putting him—from what I understand, the body will have its final resting place in the same area where John XXIII before he was brought up and placed into the basilica proper.  But I stand to be corrected on that particular regard. 

CARLSON:  Father Figueiredo, I want to ask about one section of the will—I‘m not sure it rises to the level of controversy, but it‘s certainly been mulled over a bit today.  I want to put it up on the screen.  This is a quote from the pope‘s will. 

He said: “I hope he”—that is God—“helps me understand until what moment I have to continue in this service to which he called me on October 16, 1978.”

That‘s been read by a lot of people today as a suggestion that he might have considered resigning before he died.  Do you think that‘s what it means? 

FIGUEIREDO:  I do not.  The Holy Father never wanted to step down from his ministry, from the cross in which he found himself. 

I believe, Tucker, that the greatest pulpit he ever preached from was in fact those last days.  It‘s really amazing, this last testament, because the Holy Father keeps repeating that, I want to do God‘s will.  I really want to. 

He saw the year 2000 as a key moment.  His mission was to take the church into the third Christian millennium.  And when he arrived at the year 2000, he said, like Simeon in scripture, now let your servant go in peace.  Your word has been fulfilled.  He truly was a man who wanted to do the will of God, not his own will. 

And we read that over and over again in the last will and testament, Tucker.  In fact, even after that assassination attempt, he says that, even now, more than ever, I realize that my life is in the hands of God.  In life and in death, I am all yours, which was, in fact, his papal motto, “Totus tuus.”  “I am all yours, O Lord.”

CARLSON:  Father Morris, he kept adding to the will, as you pointed out, repeatedly over the years.  Did he intend for it to become a public document, talked about by the faithful?  Was it written for the rest of us? 

MORRIS:  I think, Tucker, he would have been aware of the fact, as—being the prolific writer that he was and how significant he was on the world stage, I think he would have been aware of the fact that, in all likelihood, this would have been read by others. 

I think it is poignant, though, that it really is a very simple document, as Father Figueiredo pointed out.  He repeats over and over again a desire to do God‘s will, a desire also to place himself completely in the hands of God, as his motto always reflected, “Totus tuus,” totally yours through the intercession of our blessed mother. 

But I believe he would have been aware of the fact that people would be reading this and, in a sense, kind of mulling over it.  In its simplicity, it limits, in a sense, how much you can actually read into it.  But I think people would also—are going to try, in a way, to find maybe a deeper hidden meaning there that actually isn‘t there. 

CARLSON:  Well, speaking of meanings, Father Figueiredo, he only mentions two people.


CARLSON:  Two living people, anyway, in the document.  One is his personal secretary, who I believe was with him for about 40 years every day.  And the other is the rabbi of Rome.  What is the significance of those two people?  Is there one? 

FIGUEIREDO:  There is. 

Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz—I knew him personally in Rome—was really the Holy Father‘s closest aide, both on a personal level and in terms of advice, particularly in those last years.  He followed him everywhere.  He gave his life truly for the Holy Father.  And my heart goes out for Stanislaw, particularly in these days.  He is probably feeling the loss more than anyone else. 

The rabbi, you know, Tucker, that, in 1986, the Holy Father visited the synagogue in Rome.  And it was the rabbi of Rome at that time who made that visit possible.  It was the first time that a Roman pontiff really did that.  More significantly, as well, the Holy Father visited Israel in the year 2000, against many, many odds.  And I believe the rabbi was very instrumental in that. 

The Holy Father really fulfilled a wish he had, great respect, great love for the Jewish people, really believing that our faith as Catholics and as Christians comes from the Jews, a great testimony to the Jewish people in this last testament. 

CARLSON:  It‘s fascinating.  Of all the people he met in his long life, to mention the rabbi of Rome, that‘s interesting.


CARLSON:  Father Eugene Morris and Father Figueiredo, please stay with us.

In our next hour, we will look at the role of women in the church, also, Brian Williams‘ exclusive interview with former President Clinton on being part of the first ever presidential delegation to a pope‘s funeral.

And, next, what it is like standing in that long line for a full 24 hours to view the pope? 

MSNBC‘s coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II will continue.



CARLSON:  Just 3 ½ hours until the funeral of Pope John Paul II begins.  Soon, this entire area in Vatican City will be packed with people, even more packed than it already is.  Millions have already endured the long, exhausting wait to see the pope‘s body over the past several days. 

NBC‘s Jim Maceda was one of them.


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. 


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.


CARLSON:  While millions of Catholics are united in mourning the pope, they have very different ideas about the future of the Catholic Church.  Many American Catholics are looking to the Vatican for changes in the church‘s policies on the ordination of women and birth control.  But do Catholics around the world share those concerns?

Joining me again, Father C. Eugene Morris.  He‘s a director of worship at the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.  And Reverend Anthony Figueiredo, an MSNBC analyst and professor of theology at Seton hall University.

Father Morris, I guess that is the question.  Are these concerns that so fixate some American Catholics about the ordination of women specifically and birth control, are they at the top of the list for Catholics, say, in the developing world? 

MORRIS:  No, Tucker, I don‘t think so. 

I think, at times, it‘s hard for us as Americans and as Catholics in America to realize that we make up only 6 percent of all the Catholics around the world.  And so, issues that we might perceive as the most important really are not at the top of the list of concerns for Catholics in other countries in developing nations, that find themselves more concerned about the basic issues of food and education and those areas where Catholicism is and Christianity is under attack, being able just to live your faith. 

You don‘t have the time or the luxury, if you will, to be concerned about these particular issues.  So, I would say no.  And I don‘t—I‘m not even sure that I would say that they are actually issues that the bulk of Catholics in America actually find at the top of the list of their concerns about the future of the church. 

CARLSON:  Father Figueiredo, Father Morris just pointed out that American Catholics are a very small percentage of Catholics around the world. 

But I wonder, do you think the concerns of American Catholics have disproportionate weight at the Vatican just because America is the kind of predominate country in the world? 

FIGUEIREDO:  They do, Tucker.  In fact, the Holy Father had a great respect for the United States.  He truly loved the people of the United States, because he believed this nation really carried forward great, great things towards the whole world.

And so these unchangeable teachings that you‘ve been talking about, the ordination of women to the priesthood, contraception, they‘re not going to change.  In the Catholic Church, we would say they were infallible teachings. 

And the Holy Father really believed that what is essential is, the greatness of the person is based not on power, not on authority, not on having a position, but on being a saint, in the same way he really believed that, for example, with contraception, Tucker, what Paul VI said in 1968 would happen if we didn‘t follow that teaching was coming true, for example, the lowering of morality, the undermining of the role of woman in society, that life itself will be threatened on every level, from the first moment of conception to natural death. 

That is what we are seeing.  The Holy Father stressed over and over again, Tucker, the dignity of the human person based on the image and likeness of God.  He wanted to find a way to get these teachings out and make them relevant to every person.  That explains why he traveled to every corner of the globe, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  All right. 

Father Morris, we thank you very much.  Thanks for staying up this late, or perhaps getting up this early, or, in any case, thanks for being with us. 


MORRIS:  Thank you, Tucker.  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  We appreciate it. 

Father Figueiredo, you will be staying with us and we appreciate that. 

Coming up next, President Clinton on his first experience meeting the pope. 

And, later, two nuns with opposing views on the role of women in the church. 

You are watching MSNBC‘s live coverage, just hours away from the funeral of Pope John Paul II. 

Stay with us.


CARLSON:  An exclusive interview with President Clinton coming up, plus a look at the pope and politics when we return.


CARLSON:  There are three presidents, former and current, leading the American delegation to Pope John Paul II‘s funeral in Vatican City, President George W. Bush, his father, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. 

Last night, former President Clinton sat down with NBC‘s Brian Williams to talked about a quality he particularly admired in the pope. 


CLINTON:  He could work a crowd.  He could build a crowd.  He could move a crowd.  And whether I agree or disagree with him, this guy is on my side.  He cares about me as a human being, as a child of God.  That‘s what made him great. 

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR:  You are a Southern Baptist.  Catholics consider their pope a representative of Christ on Earth.  You are sitting with him in his spartan apartment at the Vatican.  Do you feel an aura? 

CLINTON:  When I was with the pope in the Vatican, I had the feeling that 2,000 years of history had cascaded down and crystallized in this moment, in this man, in this place.  I was overwhelmed by it.  I thought it was—it was one of the more memorable experiences of my life. 

WILLIAMS:  Now let‘s talk about the challenge the church has. 

CLINTON:  How do you keep the faithful?  How do you serve the faithful?  And do they want these questions of how to serve the faithful in the West even answered now, or do they want to just kick the can down the road a little bit and let it germinate until they sort it through? 

I think—I think the cardinals—I don‘t envy them this choice, because it‘s a momentous one.  When I made mistakes in politics during my career, it was usually because I tried to jam too much change too fast down the system.  On the other hand, if you don‘t continue to change, then you wither and die. 

WILLIAMS (voice-over):  The president talked about the plane ride here, his first time back on Air Force One.  En route, the three presidents talked about the pope. 

CLINTON:  We each talked about what he meant to us and what we thought he meant to Americans and to Christendom and to the world.  And we all had a slightly different take on it. 

WILLIAMS:  President Clinton talked about his new friendship with the first President Bush, a relationship solidified during their tsunami disaster tour, during which President Clinton let his senior partner sleep in the only bed on their plane. 

(on camera):  Talk about your friendship with 41, President Bush. 

CLINTON:  No difference I ever had with him obscured the fact that I thought he was basically a profoundly good man, a patriotic man and a public servant overall.  I think he is terrific.  And I‘ve had the best time with him.  We have a good time together. 

WILLIAMS:  And he thought it was so kind that you let him sleep on the bed on the plane to Banda Aceh. 


CLINTON:  It was—it was fine.  I can sleep anywhere. 

WILLIAMS:  How is your health? 

CLINTON:  I think I‘m doing fine.  I‘ve had a good reaction to the second surgery.  I‘m still a little sore, still a little tired.  I think, within two weeks, I‘ll be completely back to normal.  And I can breathe again fully, which is pretty great. 

WILLIAMS:  You knew something was wrong? 

CLINTON:  Yes, I did.  I did.  It was a fluke, but I could tell, even though I was walking vigorously, I didn‘t have my color back.  And I knew something was wrong.  And it turned out I had half my breathing capacity turned off.  So, I feel great now. 


CARLSON:  Five U.S. presidents have been in office during the tenure of Pope John Paul II.  And relations between the Vatican and the U.S. were strengthened during those 26 years, even when the pope expressed strong opposition to some U.S. policies, like Bill Clinton‘s defense of legal abortion and George W. Bush‘s invasion of Iraq. 

Joining me now to talk about the pope and American politics, Deal Hudson, the executive director of the Morley Institute for Church and Culture.  He‘s the former editor of “Crisis” magazine.  Also joining me tonight is MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan. 

Welcome to you both.  Thanks.


CARLSON:  So, Pat, where—this may be sort of an unfair question , but I‘m still interested in the answer. 


CARLSON:  Where on the sort of American political spectrum would Pope John Paul II fit, do you think? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, in terms of theology and morality, he would be what you would call a Reaganite, Tucker. 

On issues I think of—if you had to ask him about social questions, foreign policy questions, I think he would be—he would be an anti-war moderate or anti-war liberal, I think if you separated that out.  Very good question, though.

I think those—he looked at things from the perspective of a Polish Catholic who grew up under Nazism and Stalinism and who saw what happened to his people and then who traveled the world and saw what was happening to the poor in Africa and the persecuted church in China.  And so I think, someone you had earlier on made a very good point.  I think he looked at America the way you would a self—I mean, a very indulgent child in a lot of ways, when you consider Roman Catholics are dying for their faith in China and, over here, we are arguing about women priests. 

CARLSON:  I just want to point out to our viewers, we‘re watching live pictures of the Vatican now as it fills up with mourners coming for the funeral, which will be in just several hours from now.

Mr. Hudson, do you think—I‘ve always noticed anyway that many American conservatives seem to overlook the pope‘s critique of capitalism, which was stout, which was definitely harsh at times.  He didn‘t, at times, anyway, seem to be a friend of the free market system.  Do you think that‘s fair? 


I think that, in his encyclical “Centesimus Annus,” he actually made a move forward in Catholic social teaching that none of the other popes had done previously, where he embraced capitalism to a moderate degree.  I mean, he didn‘t go as far as some of our neoconservative friends who are Catholics in this country.  But he certainly made an effort, through that encyclical, to explain how the free market system, I guess as exemplified in the United States, does in fact promote character.  It does in fact promote virtue in people and, if it is implemented through virtue, can be the very best economic model for society. 

BUCHANAN:  You know, Tucker, if I could comment on that, I think that‘s exactly right, what Deal said. 

You go back to “Rerum Novarum” in 1981 and then “Quadragesimo Anno” in 1931, “Centesimus Annus,” the 100th anniversary, is much more advanced in terms of its appreciation of a free market economy.  But it still holds out unbridled capitalism can bring about a lot of evils.  But it‘s quite clear that the Holy Father changed his thinking somewhat as he came along.  But it was no—as you mentioned, there was no great embrace of wide open capitalism. 

CARLSON:  Now, what—Pat, I wonder, what exactly do you think is the practical political effect of the pope‘s teachings or even of Catholic doctrine?  Here you had President Clinton vetoing a couple of times a ban on partial-birth abortion.  The pope still met with‘ him four times. 

You had the pope come out against the war in Iraq.  We still invaded Iraq.  It was still supported over—pretty strongly by the American public.  Does it matter politically, the pope‘s position on issues in America? 

BUCHANAN:  I think it does.  I think it does. 

I mean, the pope‘s—the pope‘s condemnation of abortion was 100 percent.  It is everywhere and always evil.  It is a destruction of innocent life.  And I think, in American politics, the pro-life movement has an intensity and a drive and a passion behind it which has been tremendously helpful to the Republican Party and President Bush.  That‘s why I think you see Hillary Clinton and others sort of moving to try to accommodate this sentiment. 

On the war in Iraq, you‘re right.  I think most American Catholics strongly supported it.  I disagreed with it.  I thought it was the pope‘s view that it was an unnecessary and unwise war.  He would probably say unjust.  I thought that was basically accurate.  But there is no doubt, that was not as influential, I think, as his teachings on faith and morals, where he does have a tremendous strong core of Catholics who listen and follow the Holy Father and Catholic teaching very closely on that. 

CARLSON:  Mr. Hudson, I think many viewers will be surprised to learn—I was, anyway—that this is the first American president to attend the funeral of a pope.  Is this a reflection of what, of the changing relationship between the United States and the Vatican?  Was it unacceptable, do you think, in previous generations, for presidents to do something like that?  Why is Bush the first? 

HUDSON:  I think you are exactly right.  It is a huge symbolic change. 

Go back to 1960, when Senator Kennedy, during the campaign, had to go to Houston and address a group of Protestant ministers to assure them that, if he was elected president, the Vatican would not be making policy in the United States through him as a Catholic. 

And now you go forward here, what, 45 years.  You have three presidents and a fourth, if he could have gotten on the plane, kneeling at the casket of a pontiff.  It‘s an amazing change.  And, as Pat well knows, we established an embassy at the Vatican during the tenure of President Reagan.  It‘s been a very important instrument in bringing the United States closer to an understanding of the influence of the Vatican around the world, because, in spite of the fact that it‘s a tiny, tiny little state, it has a network that is unparalleled, a political network that‘s unparalleled through all of the countries of the world. 

And I think the United States is very, very wise to keep an embassy there. 

CARLSON:  All right.

When we come back, we are going to talk about that fourth president who didn‘t make it on the plane, if you will stay there for just a moment, Deal Hudson, Pat Buchanan.

Coming up in our next hour, the millions of people who flocked to view the pope had to come from somewhere, NBC‘s Kelly O‘Donnell with a look at a pilgrimage from Poland to Rome. 



CARLSON:  We are back, talking about the relationship between Pope John Paul and U.S. presidents. 

I‘m joined again by Deal Hudson of the Morley Institute for Church and Culture and MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan.

Pat, where is Jimmy Carter?  Why isn‘t he there?

BUCHANAN:  Well, I understand that Jimmy Carter asked to be part of the delegation and they invited him.  And they said there were only five slots, however.

And Jimmy Carter apparently declined to go in one of those five slots.  And my understanding is, they probably cleared that up.  But I wish he had gone.  I think he was the first president to bring the pope to the White House. 

But, Tucker, Deal and you raised a very interesting point, and that is the relationship of presidents and the Vatican.  It used to be, even when I was growing up, there was a tremendous hostility to the idea that there would be a personal representative in the Vatican, let alone an ambassador.  The Democratic Party was tremendously divided.  Northern Catholics, of course, were very devout under Pius XII.  But Southern Baptists and Southern Protestants were—had a tremendous animus against the church and it was very sensitive right on up into the 1960s. 

CARLSON:  They may have been divided that way, but they were more united on party identification as—I think.  I mean, I think, at that point, Mr. Hudson, they were overwhelmingly, or strongly, Democrats, weren‘t they?  And now I think the majority of Catholics voted for George W. Bush in this past election.

HUDSON:  It was 52 percent, 52 percent.

CARLSON:  Is that a trend that is going to continue, do you think? 

HUDSON:  I think it will. 

If you go back to ‘96, Catholics only voted for Dole by 37 percent.  In 2000, they voted for Bush by 47 percent, in 2004, 52 percent.  And I think it will continue to go that direction if the Republican Party stays on message, if it picks a candidate that reflects the values and the message of George W. Bush, and if the Democrats never wake up and realize what‘s happened to them. 

BUCHANAN:  But, you know, Tucker, Nixon, when he ran in 1960, got 22 percent of the vote, of course, against a Catholic, Jack Kennedy.  We got 33 percent in ‘68.  In 72, we got 55 percent. 

And what brought the Catholics into the conservative movement/Republican Party was the great social, cultural, moral revolution of the 1960s, the so-called acid, amnesty, abortion issues.  And that brought those Nixon—Nixon Democrats and Reagan Democrats into the Republican Party.  And a lot of them stayed there.  They were old New Dealers when they were young. 

CARLSON:  So, what happens?  I don‘t know about acid and amnesty, but abortion is still a big issue.  And there is talk, as you know, Pat, of nominating a pro-choice, pro-legalized abortion candidate on the Republican side, say, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

HUDSON:  Will never...


HUDSON:  Never happen, Tucker.  It will never happen. 

CARLSON:  But let‘s say it—let‘s say it does.  We‘re almost out of time.

BUCHANAN:  Well, that would split it.

CARLSON:  Quickly, what happens to the Catholic vote at that point? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, it would—the traditional Catholic vote...

HUDSON:  We would lose it. 

BUCHANAN:  You would lose it. 

HUDSON:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  You would lose evangelical Christians and you would lose the election.  You would have a third-party candidate. 

HUDSON:  You would lose the—you would lose the very coalition that elected Bush twice. 

BUCHANAN:  That‘s why Giuliani, in my judgment, cannot be nominated by the Republican Party.  And if he were, you would have a three—a three-way race. 

CARLSON:  All right. 

Deal Hudson, Pat Buchanan, thank you very much.  That was interesting.

BUCHANAN:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Coming up next, a closer look at what some consider the church inside the church.  Just what is Opus Dei? 

And should the Catholic Church make changes when it comes to women‘s role, celibacy and birth control? 

MSNBC‘s live coverage continues.  Just over three hours from now, the funeral begins of Pope John Paul II.  And we will be there. 



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