updated 4/8/2005 1:17:39 PM ET 2005-04-08T17:17:39

Guest: John Meacham

BILL FITZGERALD, CO-ANCHOR:  The world descends on Vatican City as you look at one of the most beautiful squares in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, all there from all walks of life, gathering to pay respect to the man who has led the Catholic Church for the last 26 ½ years. 

Hello and welcome, everyone.  I‘m Bill Fitzgerald. 

NATALIE ALLEN, CO-ANCHOR:  And I‘m Natalie Allen.  We were just seeing some of the leaders, obviously from Saudi Arabia, coming in there to attend the funeral.  And we thank you for being with us.

The funeral mass for Pope John Paul II is scheduled to begin just about an hour and a half from now.  NBC‘s Jim Maceda is live in Rome where millions are gathering for this event.  He joins us now live.

Good morning to you, Jim.  Good afternoon.

JIM MACEDA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hi there, Natalie. 

Well, I‘m coming to you from the Via Conciliazione.  This is one of the main roads, the main boulevard leading into Vatican City.  We‘re on the edge of Rome, if you will, and on the edge of the St. Peter‘s Basilica. 

Now, it looks pretty close.  I can tell you.  I‘m going to move out of the way and ask my cameraman to push in there to show the distance.  It looks relatively close, but I can guarantee you that walking, as I did the other day with the pilgrims who had packed this particular street here, it took us about 6 ½ to seven hours to do this distance.  That‘s how many people are in the streets.  And it‘s still filling up by the hundreds from various arteries coming into this—this main boulevard here. 

Mostly we‘re seeing flags, Polish flags.  There were a lot of Poles from all over Poland, of course.  They came by train and by bus.  They are still coming in, in fact, into the outskirts of Rome and walking from the outskirts of Rome here. 

There are also a tremendous number of Polish Americans.  We ran into quite a few on the line, the part of the line I was on as we meandered 13 hours from our point two miles away into—two miles away from the St. Peter‘s Basilica into, eventually, the basilica to glimpse for just 30 seconds the deceased pontiff. 

Now, you mentioned the three-hour funeral.  That will commence at 4 a.m.  Eastern.  Of course, this is a huge security concern for Roman and Vatican officials.  To give you just a few of the statistics to give you an idea of how and for what they are bracing, some 15,000 police are going to be out in the streets, almost 7,000 Italian armed forces, as well.  They are enforcing, as of now, a no-fly zone over central Roman air space, and there‘s an AWACS from NATO on loan, as well, over the skies. 

Obviously, thousands of special guests and world leaders will be watching, and seated in those seats outside of the basilica on St. Peter‘s Square including President Bush, who has been here since Wednesday; Bush Sr., his father; and former president, Bill Clinton, as well. 

There are also some interesting mix—there‘s an interesting mix of guests, is that Iran‘s president, Mohammad Khatami, is here.  Syrian president Bashar Assad is also here.  It‘s an indication of just how much this icon of a whole century transcended politics. 

Now, John Paul, we know, is going to be buried after this three-hour ceremony in the crypt in below St. Peter‘s Basilica.  It‘s called the Tomb of the Popes.  They will then commence nine days of official mourning, after which, on April 18, will begin the so-called conclave when the College of Cardinals begins its business of electing a new pope. 

But today is John Paul II‘s day.  It‘s all about his memory.  It‘s all about the love of millions of people who have come from around the world, and it‘s all about his legacy. 

Natalie, back to you. 

ALLEN:  All right.  Thanks so much, Jim Maceda.  Eight-thirty in the morning.  Thank you so much, Jim.  Now to Bill.

FITZGERALD:  Pope John Paul II‘s influence was hardly confined to Rome.  It was felt around the world.  And one area where he had a significant impact improving relations, between Catholics and Jews.  Today, hundreds will come to a very special place in Jerusalem to witness the pope‘s funeral. 

NBC‘s Tom Aspell is in Jerusalem with more.

Good morning to you, Tom. 

TOM ASPELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Good morning, Bill.

I‘m in an auditorium at the Notre Dame Jerusalem Center.  Now, this was opened by the pope during his historic visit to the holy land in March of the year 2000. 

And people have been invited here.  They‘ll start coming within the next hour or so, priests and nuns from Jerusalem, perhaps even pilgrims visiting the holy land at this time.  They are invited to come into this quiet auditorium and watch funeral proceedings for the Pope John Paul on the big screen behind me.  That will be brought in by satellite for them to see. 

There are no formal organized ceremonies here in Jerusalem.  It‘s going to be a place of quiet contemplation for those who wish to watch the incoming feed and be alone with their thoughts or their prayers during the services. 

Now, as I say, the center here was named after Pope John Paul II.  He opened it on March 28, 2000, when he visited Jerusalem and the holy land for millennium celebrations. 

He made a special point to go to the Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem during his visit.  He went to the Wailing Wall.  He went to Yad Yashem, the monument to the Holocaust of World War II.  He was in the Jordan Valley.  He was in, of course, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ and in Nazareth and in Jerusalem itself for talks with Israeli leaders. 

There are signs now that the Israelis are paying particular attention to the mourning period of the pope and looking forward to the conclave to see who his successor will be.  The holy land, of course, almost as important as Rome to a pope and, particularly, the Israelis in this moment of turbulent times down here. 

So, many people expected to come and watch on the big screen here.  There‘s no formal officials expected here.  It will just be pilgrims, people who want to be alone with their thoughts while watching the funeral go on in Rome—Bill. 

FITZGERALD:  And Tom, in a country where only two percent of the population is Christian, we have been talking a lot about John Paul‘s legacy.  Is there any thing plan afoot in Israel to commemorate the pontiff in some other way?

ASPELL:  Well, just in the last few days, the chief rabbis of Israel have been talking about declaring Pope John Paul II to be a righteous Gentile.  Now, this is an accolade that they afford to non-Jews from time to time, particularly those who have helped the Jews in times of need. 

Now, it‘s not a sure thing at the moment.  It‘s just being discussed by the rabbis, but that would put Pope John Paul alongside people, for example, who saved Jews during Nazi times during the Holocaust, who saved the lives of Jew.  They go out of their way to be especially grateful to people who helped them during times of need, and they are considering Pope John Paul II to be in that league, as well—Bill. 

FITZGERALD:  Wow.  Fascinating stuff.  Thanks so much, NBC‘s Tom Aspell in Jerusalem. 

ALLEN:  And stay tuned to MSNBC right here for special coverage of Pope John Paul II‘s funeral.  MSNBC‘s Chris Matthews and Chris Jansing will lead our coverage of this history event, live from Vatican City.  And their coverage begins in just under an hour right here at 3:30 Eastern.

MSNBC‘s coverage of the final preparations for the funeral of Pope John Paul II continues right here after a short break. 

FITZGERALD:  And then straight ahead we will get more from Rome as thousands continue to file into St. Peter‘s Square. 

ALLEN:  And millions are in Rome right now.  How are the authorities there dealing with security concerns?  We‘ll get some answers right after this short break. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FITZGERALD:  Mecca, Saudi Arabia, January of this year more than two and a half million people arrived in that holy city for the annual Muslim pilgrimage known as the Hajj. 

Today, the city of Rome expects they could have twice that many people for the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

But in Saudi Arabia, the Hajj happens every year.  In Rome, they‘ve only had a few days to prepare for this historic event, as you take a live look at the Via Conciliazione that leads to the St. Peter‘s Square, jam packed with pilgrims, many of whom will not get beyond those last colonnades that you can barely see at the end of that street. 

We also take a live look at some of the clerical figures now arriving near the altar area at the head of St. Peter‘s, just beneath the basilica.  Other dignitaries from many different countries, some 70 presidents and prime ministers, four kings, a number of princes, truly a global happening. 

And one of the major issues, of course, for everyone, security.  Well, now we can get some analysis on the strain that security issues pose in Rome.  I‘m joined now by Dan Goure, MSNBC analyst and defense policy expert at the Lexington Institute. 

Thank you for joining us at this early hour.  We appreciate it.

Security.  We‘ve got heads of state.  We‘ve got several different jurisdictions, Vatican City, after all, but a postage stamp in the side of Rome, a separate country, so to speak. 

What are some of the paramount security issues that they face?

DAN GOURE, MSNBC ANALYST:  Well, one, of course, is to manage the visit of the major dignitaries, including the president of the United States, presidents and senior leaders from most of the world: Nelson Mandela, a whole group of those people. 

Not only to make sure that they‘re secure but also to manage the presence of their security details, who are technically not supposed to go armed within the Vatican City, but apparently that‘s going to be a rule honored in the breach, as long as no one takes Uzis into—into the basilica. 

The second problem, of course, is the crowds.  You‘re talking about millions of people far beyond even what‘s normal, if I can call it that, for major events in the Vatican.  So it‘s managing crowds.

And then thirdly, it‘s managing the potential problem of unknowns, of terrorists, of nut cases, of people who might simply want to start something for the publicity that it would create. 

FITZGERALD:  Would you imagine that the Vatican City and Rome itself presents something of a logistical nightmare?  When you mentioned all these different security teams.  We also, of course, have seen millions, literally millions of people in that small area. 

We‘re used to seeing presidential motorcades shut down major boulevards, but here you‘ve got cobblestone streets.  You do, obviously, have major thoroughfares in Rome, of course.  But would you imagine that there‘s been a lot of advanced planning in these last 72 to 96 hours?  Is it a nightmare?

GOURE:  There has been as much planning as you can do in just that limited amount of time.  But they‘re taking some major steps.  For example, movement of cars is going to be banned in the city of Rome, which if you think about it, is a stunning idea. 

That is not only for managing the crowds but also for security.  You don‘t have to worry about the vans and all the cars and a bomb.  It makes your life simpler. 

They‘re shutting the airports down, as well as putting aircraft overhead in AWACS planes and the like for surveillance. 

So, it‘s not only managing the nightmare of just the local situation in the Vatican, or the situation in the city of Rome, local police.  You‘re talking about affecting, essentially, the country of Italy.  A major part of its international transportation, the movement of goods, the movement of people, aircraft.  That‘s a huge problem. 

You have a ripple effect for perhaps as long as a week now, where you try to put everything back together, whether it‘s flight schedules or just the ability to move things around.  You‘ll have a build-up of stockpiles, for example, of food that couldn‘t get into the city for two days, or fuel that will now have to be moved in in a hurry. 

All of that‘s a big problem. 

FITZGERALD:  With so many not just commoners but obviously, kings and leaders, heads of state, would you imagine that something like this, albeit it a very solemn ritual, could pose a target for terrorists?  Would that be an inviting target?

GOURE:  Well, one has to assume that it is an inviting target.  One of the advantages, of course, is that relatively speaking, it is a target of opportunity.  That it‘s not something where it was known six months ago that this was going to happen.  It would happen at some point. 

And therefore, what—what you really fear is that there‘s a terrorist group that already was in a major plot, that is already preparing for some action in Italy or in Rome itself and now can divert from attacking the airport or attacking the government buildings or doing a Madrid style bombing to doing this. 

FITZGERALD:  As we watch Vicente Fox, the president of Mexico arriving. 

Finally, is it something that—we mentioned we had a limited time to plan for.  Was there any question about heads of state even attending, simply because of that security concern?  Would you imagine that some people are staying away because of it?

GOURE:  I don‘t think anybody‘s staying away, but it was clearly a nightmare for their security services.  This is the kind of situation that, in effect, they all dread because it‘s crowded.  They are too many competing security services.  They‘re competing or at least multiple political jurisdictions and police jurisdictions among the Italian security services. 

So if you‘re the head of the security detail for the FBI, for the president of the United States, you‘re pulling your hair out and crossing your fingers.  And that‘s you can do at this point.

FITZGERALD:  So as we watch the multiple attitudes down the Via Conciliazione, we know that there‘s an awful lot going on behind-the-scenes there.

GOURE:  Absolutely.

FITZGERALD:  Dan Goure, MSNBC analyst and defense policy expert at the Lexington Institute, thank you so much for your time. 

GOURE:  My pleasure.

FITZGERALD:  Natalie. 

ALLEN:  Well, it‘s truly a royal scene in Rome this morning.  Take a look.  Attending the pope‘s funeral you have, as Bill has mentioned, four kings, five queens and at least 70 presidents and prime ministers of various countries from around the world.  And about two million regular folks, the faithful, gathered, as well.

Well, one of those presidents, former President Bill Clinton, sat down with NBC‘s Brian Williams for an exclusive interview.  He spoke about the man he came to Rome to mourn. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  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 and a child of God.  That‘s what made him great.

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

CLINTON:  When I was with the pope I—and in the Vatican, I had the feeling that, you know, 2,000 years of history 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 of through it?

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 have, you know, a slightly different take on it. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN:  That was NBC‘s Brian Williams‘ exclusive interview with former President Clinton. 

Well, in just over one hour the funeral for Pope John Paul II will begin. 

FITZGERALD:  And thousands are still filing into St. Peter‘s Square.  You‘re looking at live pictures from the Vatican right now.  Coming up, we‘ll get a feel for what it‘s like to wait in line for hours on end just to be part of history. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALLEN:  You have seen the unending lines of people who have waited to see the pope these past few days. 

FITZGERALD:  And sometimes those lines have been cut off, but for two Americans now living in Rome, waiting 14 hours for a 20-second viewing they say was something they had to do.  They describe what it was like waiting in those endless lines, in their own words.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  As the hours progressed we started to realize it was going to be a bit of a journey.  But in the end it was one of the most amazing things of my life. 

MICHAEL WRIGHT, DIRECTOR, DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY:  There were lots of times when pilgrims were singing, and many times that we were getting to know our neighbor, whether people were speaking, whatever language they were speaking, whether they were speaking in English or Italian or Polish. 

Just people getting to know each other, offering water to each other, helping out the people that were fainting.  And it just seemed to a pretty helpful environment. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  When I first walked in there were just so many people and it was a very group event, which had been nice all along.  It had been a family event all along, but at that point I needed something a little more personal.  I needed to understand why I personally had come on this journey, especially because I‘m not Catholic.  Yet the pope has played such an important role in my life. 

So when I stood before him, when I stood before John Paul II, and I saw this frail body, which was so small and looked so weak.  And you could tell—you could just see the suffering on his face.  And he was human, but he meant so much more than that to everyone. 

And that was when I rejoined the crowd in that sense, because I was seeing these people.  And I myself, the tears began to just stream, and I didn‘t even know where they were coming from. 

WRIGHT:  I didn‘t realize how sore I was.  I didn‘t realize how tired I was.  I just didn‘t realize how much emotion had built up during these 14 hours of waiting to see him for 20 seconds. 

And I guess it was just then that I really realized that, even though I really suffered a lot during this day, that I really didn‘t suffer anything in comparison to what he did. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN:  From their perspective.

FITZGERALD:  Very moving. 

ALLEN:  Fourteen hours in line.  That‘s amazing.  Just two voices of the millions who traveled so far to pay their respects. 

FITZGERALD:  And coming up we‘ll go back to the Vatican and the crowds.  You‘re watching live now.  The funeral for Pope John Paul II gets under way in just about an hour. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHOIR SINGS, LATIN, MALE SOLOIST)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A reading from the letter of Paul to the Philippians.

As you well know we have our citizenship in heaven.  It is from there that we eagerly await the coming of our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will give a new form to this lowly body or ours and remake it according to the pattern of his glorified body, by his power to subject everything to himself.

For these reasons, my brothers, you, whom I so love and long for, you, who are my joy and my crown, continue my dear ones to stand firm in the Lord.

(MALE SOLOIST, CHOIR SINGS)

ARCHBISHOP JOHN FOLEY, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR SOC COMM.:  The master of ceremonies with Deacon Moss is Monsignor William Millay (ph) of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, an official in the secretariat of State and one of the members of the group of masters of ceremonies for papal events.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (SINGING IN LATIN, FOLEY TRANSLATES):  The Lord be with you in spirit, to all of you with your spirit. 

And also with you.

When they had finished breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?  

He said to him, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.” 

He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

Then he said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

He said to him, “Yes, Lord.  You know that I love you.”

He said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” 

Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?”  And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything.  You know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

“Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted.  But when you grew old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will dress you, and lead you where you don‘t want to go.” 

He said this by signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.  And when he had said this he said, “Follow me.”

(CHOIR SINGS)

CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER, DELIVERS HOMILY, (FOLEY TRANSLATES):  Follow me, the risen Lord says these words to Peter.  They are his last words to his disciple, chosen to shepherd his flock.  “Follow me.”

This lapidary saying of Christ can be taken as the key to understanding the message which comes to us from the life of our late, beloved Pope John Paul II.  Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality.  Our hearts are full of sadness, and at the same time they are full of joyful hope and profound gratitude. 

FOLEY:  The people applaud indicating their gratitude to Pope John Paul II.

RATZINGER (FOLEY TRANSLATING):  These are the sentiments that inspire us, brothers and sisters in Christ, present here in St. Peter‘s Square and neighboring streets and in other locations within the city of Rome.  Where an immense crowd, silently praying, has gathered over the last few days. 

I greet all of you from my heart.  In the name of the College of Cardinals, I also which to express my respects to the heads of state, heads of government, and the delegations from various countries. 

I greet the authorities and officials representatives of other churches and Christian communities, and of different religions. 

Next I greet the archbishops, bishops, priests, religious men and women and the faithful who have come here from every continent, especially the young.

FOLEY:  Many young people present applaud.

RATZINGER (FOLEY TRANSLATING):  Especially the young, whom Pope John Paul II liked to call the future and hope of the church. 

My greetings extended, moreover, to all those throughout the world, who are united with us through radio and television, in this solemn celebration of our beloved Holy Father‘s funeral. 

Follow me.  As a young student Karol Wojtyla was thrilled by literature, the theater, poetry.  Working in a chemical plant—

(APPLAUSE)

Working in a chemical factory surrounded and threatened by the Nazi terror, he heard the voice of the Lord, “Follow me.”  In this extraordinary setting he began to read books of philosophy and theology.  And then he entered the clandestine seminary established by Cardinal Sapieha. 

After the war, he was able to complete his studies in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University of Krakow.  How often, in his letters to priests and in his autobiographical books, has he spoken to us about his priesthood, to which he was ordained on November 1, 1946. 

In these texts he interprets his priesthood with particular reference to three sayings of the Lord.  First, “You did not choose me, but I choose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit.  Fruit that will last.”

The second word is, “The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”  And finally, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Abide in my love.”

In these three sayings we see the heart and soul of our Holy Father. 

He really went everywhere, untiringly, in order to bear fruit, fruit that lasts.  “Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way” is the title of his next to last book.  “Rise, let us be on our way,” with these words he rouses us from a lethargic fate, from a sleep of the disciples of both yesterday and today. 

Rise, let us be on our way, continues to say to us, even today, the Holy Father was a priest to the last, for he offered his life to God, for his flock, and for the entire human family, and a daily self-oblation for the service of the church, especially amid the sufferings of his final months.  And in this way he became one with Christ. 

(APPLAUSE)

He became one with Christ, the good shepherd, who loves his sheep. 

Finally, “Abide in my love.”  The pope who tried to meet everyone, who had an ability to forgive and to open his heart to all, shows us once again, today, that these words of the Lord, that by abiding in the love of Christ, we learn, at the school of Christ, the art of true love.  Follow me.

In July 1958, the young priest, Karol Wojtyla, began a new stage in his journey with the Lord and in the footsteps of the Lord.  Karol had gone to the Mazuri Lakes, for his usual vacation, along with a group of young people who loved canoeing.  But he brought with him a letter inviting him to call on the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Wyszynski.  He could guess the purpose of the meeting.  He was to be appointed as the auxiliary bishop of Krakow. 

Leaving the academic world, leaving this challenging engagement with young people, leaving the great intellectual endeavor of striving to understand and interpret the mystery of that creature, which is man, and of communicating to today‘s world the Christian interpretation of our being, all of this must have seemed to him like losing his very self.  Losing what had become the very human identity of this young priest. 

Follow me.  Karol Wojtyla accepted the appointment, for he heard in the church‘s call the voice of Christ.  And then he realized how true are the Lord‘s words.  Those who try to make their life secure will lose it.  But those who lose their life will keep it. 

Our pope, and we all know this, never wanted to make his own life secure, to keep it for himself.  He wanted to give of himself unreservedly, till the very last moment. 

(APPLAUSE)

He wanted to give of himself for Christ, and also for us.  And thus he came to experience how everything, which he had given over, into the Lord‘s hands, came back to him in a new way.  His love of words, of poetry, of literature, became and essential part of his pastoral mission.  And it gave new vitality, new urgency, new attractiveness to the preaching of the Gospel, even when the Gospel is a sign of contradiction.

Follow me.  In October 1978, Cardinal Wojtyla once again heard the voice of the Lord; once more there took place that dialogue with Peter, reported in the Gospel of this mass. 

“Simon, son of John, do you love me? Feed my sheep.”

To the Lord‘s question, “Karol, do you love me?”  The archbishop of Krakow answered from the depths of his heart, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”  The love of Christ was the dominant force in the life -- 

(APPLAUSE)

The love of Christ was the dominant force in the life of our beloved Holy Father.  Anyone who ever saw him pray, who ever heard him preach, knows that.  Thanks to his being profoundly rooted in Christ, he was able to bear a burden which transcends merely human abilities, that of being the shepherd of Christ‘s flock, his Universal Church.

This is not the time to speak of the specific content of this rich pontificate.  I would like to read, only two passages of today‘s liturgy which reflects central elements of this message. 

In the first reading, St. Peter says, and with St. Peter, the pope himself, “I truly understand that God chose no partiality.  But in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right, is acceptable to him.  You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ.  He is Lord of all.”

And in the second reading, St. Paul, and with St. Paul, our late pope, exhorts us, crying out, “My brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.  Follow me.”

(APPLAUSE)

Together, with a command to feed his flock, Christ proclaimed to Peter that he would die a martyr‘s death.  With those words, which conclude and sum up the dialogue on love and on the mandate of the universal shepherd, the Lord recalls another dialogue, which took place during The Last Supper.  

There Jesus had said, “Where I am going, you cannot come.”  Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?”  Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now.  But you will follow me afterward.” 

Jesus, from the Supper, when toward the cross, went toward his resurrection, he entered into the pastoral mystery.  And Peter could not yet follow him.  Now, after the resurrection comes the time, comes this afterwards, by feeding the flock of Christ, Peter enters into the pastoral mystery.  He goes toward the Cross and the resurrection. 

The Lord says this, in these words, when you were younger, you used to go wherever you wished.  But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hand and someone else will fasten a belt around you, and take you where you don‘t wish to go.

In the first years of his pontificate, still young and full of energy, the Holy Father went to the very ends of the Earth, guided by Christ, but afterward, he increasingly entered into the communion of Christ‘s sufferings.  Increasingly he understood the truth of the words, “someone else will fasten a belt around you.”

And this very communion with the suffering Lord, tirelessly and with renewed intensity, he proclaimed the Gospel, the mystery of that love, which goes to the end.  He interpreted for us the pastoral mystery as a mystery of divine mercy. 

In his last book, he wrote, “The limit imposed upon evil is ultimately divine mercy.”

And reflecting on the assassination attempt, he said, “In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order, the order of love.  It is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with a flame of love and draws forth even from sin, a great flowering of good.”

Impelled by this vision, the pope suffered and loved in communion with Christ.  And that is why the message of his suffering and his silence proved so eloquent and so fruitful.  Divine Mercy --   

(APPLAUSE)

Divine Mercy, the Holy Father found the purest reflection of God‘s mercy in the Mother of God.  He who at an early age had lost his own mother loved his Divine Mother all the more. 

He heard the words of the crucified Lord as addressed personally to him:  “Behold your mother.”  So he did as the beloved disciples did.  He took her into his own home, and pulled (ph) her (ph) to us, all yours, and from the Mother he learned to conform himself to Christ. 

(APPLAUSE)

None of us can ever forget how on that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time, gave his blessing, Urbi et Orbi, to the City and the World.

We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing this day at the window of the Father‘s house, that he sees us and blesses us. 

(APPLAUSE)

RATZINGER (through translator):   We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the father‘s house, that he sees us and blesses us.  He sees us and blesses us.  Yes, bless us Holy Father.  We entrust your dear soul to   the mother of God, your mother.  Who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the eternal glory of her son, our lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That was a well-received Homily, wasn‘t it Monsignor?

MSGR. JOHN STRYNKOWSKI, RECTOR, ST JAMES CATHEDRAL:  Beautifully so, Chris.  I think that what made it so moving was the response of the people in the square to the words of Cardinal Ratzinger.  That I think that tell us what they consider to be the most important aspects of the pope‘s life.  So for instance, when the pope mentioned the young people, greeted the young people there was applause. 

When the Cardinal Ratzinger mentioned the pope‘s involvement in literature and theater and working in the factory, there was applause.  You can hear the tremendous applause now.  A wonderful tribute to the pope.

When Cardinal Ratzinger mentioned the words of Jesus, as the father has loved me, so I have loved you, abide in my love.  Applause and several times when Cardinal Ratzinger  mentioned the pope‘s sacrifice of himself and suffering to the very end, applause, several times.  And then, of course, the beautiful finish.  (INAUDIBLE)  Applause. 

STEVEN WEEKE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  On that last one, the applause was the strongest because Ratzinger made a good metaphor for the pope.  He said that last Easter Sunday, which was just the week before he died, he said he appeared at the window and he blessed the spirit and the world. 

And then the cardinal says and now I  believe he is at the window of   the house of the Holy Father and he is looking down at us now and he‘s blessing us.  So that picture of the pope, yet again the hereafter looking down doing the traditional blessing that  everybody is used to seeing  that, white man in the window  kind of got a big response from the people. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you, Steven Weeke. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, (through translator):  Brothers and sisters, we pray to God, our Father, who today  has guided us to celebrate the paschal   mystery of his only begotten son.  With the funeral Right (ph) for the Pastor of the Universal Church.  So that you welcome him in peace,  and offer abundant good to the church of the world.

And the refrain is from the people we beseech you, hear us, O Lord.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, (through translator):  For our deceased Pope John Paul, so that Christ, the supreme pastor (ph), who lives always to intercede for us may receive him   kindly in his kingdom of light   and of peace, we pray to the   lord. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That prayer was read by (INAUDIBLE) in French.  (INAUDIBLE)  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, (through translator):  For the Holy Church of God, so that in being faithful to its mandate, it is a (INAUDIBLE) of  renewal of  the family and Christ, we pray   to the lord.  That was read by (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, (through translator):  For the peoples of all  nations with respect to justice they form one family the peace, and that they may be reunited with sentiments of  fellowship, we pray to the lord.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In polish.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator):  For the souls of the deceased (INAUDIBLE) and all those in the church who proclaimed the gospel in carrying out their priestly ministries so that they may be their participants in the heavenly (INAUDIBLE), we pray  to the lord. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In German.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator):   For the deceased faithful so   that they may enter into the   heavenly kingdom, we pray to the lord.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Portuguese.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator):  For all of us gathered here   so that after having celebrated  these holy mysteries, we may one day be called by Christ into his glorious kingdom, we pray to the lord.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The last three recessions (ph) were done by (INAUDIBLE) in Polish, Peter Marts (ph) in German, (INAUDIBLE) in Portuguese.

STRYNKOWSKI (through translator):  Oh, God, our salvation, hear our prayers together with all the saints,  and receive in the presence of your chosen ones the soul of your servant and our pope, John Paul, who trusted in the prayer of the church, through Christ our Lord.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  While the other prayers of the  mass are in Latin this Prayer of the faithful is in   various languages and Cardinal Ratzinger introduced and closed it in Italian.

                UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT:  What you‘re watching is the offering of the gifts.  This is something that takes   place at every mass and every church around America.  But of   course as with so many things  today it has special   significance with people  specially chosen, Steven to have this honor. 

                WEEKE:  That‘s right.  There were 14 people that were chosen   to bring up the bread and the wine which is what the basic offertory is that will then be consecrated in the Eucharist to become the blood and body of Christ.

The people who brought things up, the first was from Kenya.  And then a person from (INAUDIBLE).  Then a couple from Korea.  And then a pair from Mexico.  And then a family from Wadowice.  Wadowice is the pope‘s hometown in Poland about an hour from (INAUDIBLE).  And then two Italians and then a French person.  And the last person was a nun from Jordan. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Monsignor, give people an overview of the Eucharistic liturgy so they understand what they are going to see. 

                STRYNKOWSKI:  Right now, Cardinal Ratzinger have offered the bread   and wine as gifts to God that  will become then the blood and body of Christ.  He now is going to (INAUDIBLE) the gifts and the alter.  Then will say a prayer over the gifts.  Then he will introduce the Eucharistic prayer.

                The Eucharistic prayer is the heart of the liturgy.  And during the Eucharistic  prayer he will remember what   Jesus did at the last supper,   taking bread and saying this is  my body.  Taking a cup of wine and saying, this is a cup of my blood.  And then he will offer prayers in the name of the church by which this sacrifice of Christ is offered to God.

And then pray also for the church itself remembering that we are part of the entire community of saints.  And then it will conclude with a prayer of glory to God, giving glory to the trinity.  At which point, then the Eucharistic prayer concludes.  And then that is followed by the “Our Father”, which will be sung in Latin, the (INAUDIBLE) the sign of peace.

                And then the actual distribution of communion.  And that will bring to an end the Eucharistic liturgy.  And then at the final end of the mass will of course be the final prayer.  And  then the commendation of the pope‘s   body. 

                UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT:  We also saw the use of incense, something that is very infrequently used   now in the daily or Sunday American   masses but it does have great spiritual connotation.

STRYNKOWSKI:  It does.  In a sense it represents the making holy of the gifts.  It has mystical spiritual symbolism.  It also represents the raising up of our prayers to God.  As the incense rises so do our prayers.

Also it has a sweet odor to it.  It‘s like a perfume.  And so it remind us that the gifts of the holy spirit are like a sweet odor for us that‘s represented through the use of prism.  But also the incense reminds us of the presence of spirit of the spirit in our lives.

So it has many different   meanings,  and so is something that   is a beautiful symbol, especially used at a liturgy like this.

CARDINAL RATZINGER (through translator):  Lord, for your faithful people, life is changed, not ended.  When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in Heaven.  And so with all the choirs of angels in Heaven, we proclaim  your glory and join in an unending hymn of praise.  And the choir since “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator):  May the lord your people,   especially those for whom we  now pray, remember all of us gathered here before you.  You know how firmly we believe in you, and (INAUDIBLE) ourselves to you.  We offer you this sacrifice of praise for ourselves and those are dear to us.  We pray to you our living and true God for our well-being and redemption.  

This is the patriarch of the (INAUDIBLE).  In union with the whole church, we honor Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God.  We honor Joseph, her husband.  The apostles and (INAUDIBLE), Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Phillip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude. 

We honor Litus (ph), Cletus,  Clemens, (INAUDIBLE), Cornelius, (INAUDIBLE),  John and Paul, (INAUDIBLE) and all the saints.  May their merits and prayers gain us your constant help and protection. 

Father, accept this offering from your whole family.  Grant us your peace in this life, save us from final damnation and count us among those you have chosen.  Bless and approve our offering, make it acceptable to you, our offering in spirit and in truth.  Let it become for us the body and blood of Jesus Christ, your only son, our Lord. 

                The day before he suffered, he   took bread in his sacred hands.  And in looking up to heaven, to you, his almighty father, he gave you thanks and praise.  He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said, take   this, all of you and eat it.  This is my body which will be given up for you and the cardinal elevates the host, the consecrated host for the (INAUDIBLE)  of the crowd and he then he genuflects (INAUDIBLE) . 

                When supper was ended he took the cup.  Again, he gave you thanks and praise.  He gave the cup to his disciples and said, take this, all of you and drink from it.  This is the cup of my blood, the blood of a new and ever lasting covenant.  It will be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven.  Do this in memory of me. 

                Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.  The people pray, savior, of the world, save us.  Through your cross and   resurrection, you have freed   us.  Father, we celebrate the memory of Christ your son.  We, your people, and your ministers, recall his passion and his resurrection from the dead and his ascension into the glory. 

                And from the many gifts you have given us, we offer you God of glory and majesty this holy and perfect sacrifice.  The bread of life, and the cup of eternal salvation.  Look with favor on these   offerings, and accept them as ones who accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of   Abraham, our father in faith. 

There is Cardinal (INAUDIBLE) in the background. 

And the bread and wine offered by your priest, (INAUDIBLE).  Almighty God,  we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven.  Then as we receive from this altar, the sacred body, and bread of your son, let us be filled with every grace and blessing. 

ARCHBISHOP JOHN FOLEY, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL COMM. (through translator):  Our Pope John Paul the servant, whom today you have called from this earth.

And remember those who have died and have gone before us marked as a sign of faith, especially those for whom we now pray.  May these and all who sleep in Christ find in your presence light, happiness, and peace.

Cardinal Medina, we ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthia, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and all the saints.

Though we are sinners, we trust in your mercy and love.  Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness.  Through Christ our Lord, you give us all these gifts.  You fill them with life and goodness; you bless them and make them holy.

Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours Almighty Father, forever and ever, amen.

The four cardinals who join Cardinal Ratzinger reading the Eucharist in prayer now leading in parts—Cardinal Sodano, who had been Secretary of State to the Holy Father. 

Cardinal Stadehere (ph), the mariner Patriarch, Cardinal Kim, the former Archbishop of Seoul, and Cardinal Medina, from Chile, who had been the Prefect of the Congregation for Sacraments and Divine worship.

Cardinal Ratzinger invites all present to join in the Lord‘s Prayer.  The Our Father.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

(CHOIR SINGS)

And now the priests are preparing -- 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  This is the point in the modern Catholic mass where people greet each other.  It‘s a very informal part of the mass, where you usually say hello to the person next to you and you shake hands.  That‘s the most common kind of greeting.  Some people kiss—husband and wife will often do that in church.

And the priest, of course, leads that off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (SPEAKING IN LATIN)

ARCHBISHOP FOLEY, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL COMM.:  This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.  Happy are those who are called to his supper, and the people say together with the cardinal, Lord, I am not worthy to receive you.  But only say the word and I shall be healed.

The Cardinal prays quietly, may the body of Christ bring me to everlasting—

(CHOIR SINGS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And you‘re watching this solemn part of the mass.  This is communion; 320 priests and deacons from around the world, including many Americans, invited here to help give communion to so many people.

And what you‘re hearing is Psalm 129 and the antiphon, Monsignor?

MSGNR. STRYNKOWSKI, RECTOR, ST. JAMES CATHEDRAL:  Yes, the antiphon is, “Let eternal light shine upon him, Oh Lord, together with your saints in eternity because you, Oh Lord are merciful.”  So they will sing that antiphon between each verse of the Psalm.

The Psalm begins, “Out of the depths I have cried to you, Oh Lord.”  It‘s a traditional Psalm used at a funeral mass or the rite of Christian burial.  And yet at the same time, while it expresses this cry that comes out of the depths, it‘s also a Psalm that ends on a note of hopefulness, because one, the voices—one of the verses, says my soul hopes in the Lord more than the watchman waits for the dawn.

The nuns you see, I suspect, are from the pope‘s household.  They—he was cared for by a group of Polish nuns and they look familiar, they seem to be the nuns who cared for him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  In fact, Pope John Paul changed the protocol after the death of a pope.  The papal apartments are sealed, but he wanted to make sure that his long time secretary, and assistant secretary, and the Polish nuns who had come with him from Krakow were able to complete some time there.

They are obviously mourning for the loss of someone with whom they were so very close, like family, really.  And until this funeral, they were allowed to stay, allowed to take care of the few things that Pope John Paul did leave behind. 

And Stephen, I think there‘s a certain poignancy to this moment in that the last time that we saw a huge gathering on the square for a mass was, of course, Easter Sunday, and that was the next to last time we were able to see Pope John Paul alive.

STEPHEN WEEKE, NBC NEWS, THE VATICAN:  That‘s right; he appeared at the window to great anticipation from the crowd that was here, and he tried to speak and he wasn‘t able to.

The depth of silence that followed that moment when people were waiting for him to talk and he made the attempt, and it was kind of a croak, was one of the deepest silences that‘s been felt here until today‘s mass.  There‘s a solemnity in the quiet that we had surrounding these last few weeks of the pope.

And that‘s one of them.  After that Easter Sunday, he only reappeared on the Wednesday for a few minutes once again at the window.  Once again he tried to speak and couldn‘t.  And then a few days later he died.

There are so many people at this mass and in this neighborhood right now, in excess at least of half a million.  Some say it‘s a million just in the streets around us.  And also there are some very frustrated and disappointed Poles and other pilgrims that arrived too late to be close who have been redirected to other sites in suburban Rome.

One in particular where Youth Day was held in 2002 is a huge esplanade that can hold about a million and a half people.  Huge TV screens—wide screens—jumbotron-type screens have been set up in these places.  As well as also at the Circus Maximus, which is the famous racetrack from Ben Hur, St. John in Lateran Basilica, St. Paul‘s—hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people who wished to have been here are watching and following the mass at these other places.

We understand that they‘re also going to make an effort to get communion out to those people as well.  There are 320 priests giving out communion here.  That alone gives you an idea of how many people are trying to get communion in this final mass of John Paul II‘s life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And as you see these flashes of color, many of them—the red and white flags of Poland—there were busloads of people who came yesterday on line after 36 hours on a bus we met a young man who‘s father, Karol, which of course was the given name of this pope named him John Paul.

And after spending almost two days on a bus, coming to Rome, there he was standing in line wanting to pay his final respects to Pope John Paul II.  There was a couple from Bosnia who drove spontaneously, got on a ferry overnight, drove again for hours to come here and to say goodbye.

Two people who live in Rome but are Americans who we spoke with yesterday who stood in line for almost 20 hours.  One of them a Mormon, the other agnostic, who said their spiritual lives had been deeply touched by this pope.

STRYNKOWSKI:  Last night I met a family from Miami, parents and five children, who got on a plane as soon as they heard of the death of the pope and came here to pay their respects.

Another couple from Germany, they flew down, viewed the body and returned immediately to the airport to go back to Germany.  So people have traveled long distances just even for a few minutes of prayer.

STEPHEN WEEKE, NBC NEWS, THE VATICAN:  What‘s also very significant of this pope, this man you see in the shot right now was the pope‘s valet, his butler.  Who followed him his entire life and helped him with dressing and all kinds of needs toward the end.  But what‘s interesting about this pope and which we‘re seeing in the pictures is how many young people there are.

In 27 years of papacy, for a whole generation, this is the only pope they have ever known.  They don‘t remember Paul the 6th; they don‘t remember John the 23rd, despite the fact that we have a memory of the fact that popes had always been Italian before this one.

To them doesn‘t really have as much significance; these kids are all in their 20s, many of them are younger, thousands of them stayed in line to try and get to line up to go see the body.  So it shows to a certain extent how successful John Paul was in his mission to try and revive religion among the youth.

STRYNKOWSKI:  There was a shot before of Archbishop Dziwisz who has been the pope‘s secretary for 40 years.  I met Archbishop Dziwisz—he was a simple priest then in 1969 and we‘ve had a lot of contact over the years.  We‘re about the same age.  But he has worked very hard to help the Holy Father in his various responsibilities.

Archbishop Dziwisz is from the Archdiocese of Krakow.  I remember in 1975 walking with him through the old town of Krakow and he was telling me about Cardinal Boitua (ph), his boss at that time.  And he had so many wonderful things to say.

And at the end of our conversation I said, well, it seems to me that Cardinal Boitua is a very holy man.  And Monsignor Dziwisz said—he said—I would not use that word myself, he says, because we use it too easily but—what you‘re saying is true.  He indeed is a holy man.

But it is obvious that Monsignor Dziwisz had tremendous respect for Cardinal Boitua. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Andrea Mitchell, it was interesting just to see that flash of a much older Lech Walesa than we were used to seeing.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS:  Well, and it recalls how critical this pope—this late pope—was to the evolution of solidarity and to the rise of the anti-communist movement.  That first visit in 1979 was such an important factor to giving the moral heft to the church.

Of course, we know that Cardinal Boitua had been doing so many things underground from his earliest days as a priest against the Communist totalitarian regime, but it was when he went—the papacy—there we see George Herbert Walker Bush—going a little bit out of focus behind the cardinals, of course taking the holy communion.

It was such a remarkable impact on all of Eastern Europe what this pope did in—I think it was very clear from his election in 1978, the cardinals in the conclave certainly were very sophisticated about politics and diplomacy, and knew that in choosing a Polish pope, they were going to lend their strength to decades of church opposition to Bolshevik regime initially in Russia, and, of course, the spread of communism throughout Eastern Europe—Chris.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  It was amazing to read the other night as I was going to bed last night, that Leonid Breshnev, of course, the power that the strong man of the Soviet Union—the last truly strong man of the Soviet Union—of the Communist Empire—telling the Polish government back then to not let them come in the country and the Polish government basically said to the head of the Soviet Union, you must be crazy.  We can‘t possibly tell this man he can‘t come to Poland, his homeland.

And that was the beginning of the breakup.  Breshnev was right to let Wojtyla; Pope John Paul II into Poland was a signal to the people that their spiritual power would overwhelm the secular power of the communist empire of the Warsaw pact.  And then everything would begin from then on to fade away, so the last great strong man of Soviet power, Breshnev, knew what he was up against even if the Polish government of the time had so little power to stop them.

It‘s a great example; I think, in history of—maybe one of the great ones—of spiritual power overwhelming secular power.

STRYNKOWSKI:  In the 1970s, there was a movement in Poland called “Oasis,” and it involved taking young adults for two weeks to small villages and retreat houses into the mountains, and it was a course in terms of catechesis but also human dignity, human rights, and Karol Wojtyla was very supportive of this movement and I think it helped to raise consciousness about who are we as a people.

And I think that then when he came in 1979 for his first visit it was like putting a match to wood, because suddenly people‘s awareness of their dignity and their rights ignited and then emerged into the movement known as solidarity.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Stephen Weeke, as a Vatican expert, how does the diplomatic and the religious come together here in this city day after day?

STEPHEN WEEKE, NBC NEWS, THE VATICAN:  In a unique way, because the Catholic Church at the Vatican is the headquarters for a billion Catholics, and yet by virtue of being a nation state in itself, the smallest country in the world as it were, at 103 acres that it is, it maintains diplomatic relations with 170 other countries, many of which don‘t talk to each other.

So the situation we have today where in the same seating arrangement you have that—the president of Iran, who is currently in a war of words with the United States, you have President Assad of Syria who is also recently been in conflict with the U.S.—the Vatican was a crossroads for all of these various countries because they maintain the sort of moral and diplomatic neutrality.

So it is an interesting form of power because it‘s not secular in any way, there are no armies, there are no soldiers, but there is this moral voice, this moral pulpit that allows the pope to speak on a world stage and therefore is somebody that both sides of an argument or a conflict try to get on their sides.

In fact, we saw that in the buildup to the war in Iraq when from the west we had Colin Powell coming over and Tony Blair trying to talk the pope, you know, in this understanding of their reasons for wanting to go to war, and on the other hand we had Saddam sending Tariq Aziz here to try and talk the other side of it on why they weren‘t, you know, deserving to be invaded at that time, and then Kofi Annan would come here and also put in his efforts.

So the Vatican becomes a listening post for various countries and it also has an army of intelligence gatherers that is something the CIA would wish for because with millions of clergy throughout the world who are under the authority of the Vatican at any given time, the Secretary of State in the Vatican can say I need an update on something that‘s going on in the Congo or in Rwanda or something and they get nuns, you know, on the phone who are right there on the front lines and can give them information.

Right now we‘re looking at King Abdullah of Jordan with Jacques Chirac over his right shoulder.  There we have the president of Afghanistan, Karzai.  So it—just by looking at these pictures we see how many people are brought together and all of them have to pay homage and respect to this moral position.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And clearly the pope was aware of the power of his words—of his moral standing—his biographer, George Weigel said that he believed and he understood back after he became pope because of his stand on solidarity and his stand in his native Poland that he was, in effect, a target and of course he was the subject of an assassination attempt in 1981.

And in his most recent book wrote how he did not believe it was the work of a lone gunman, Mehmet Ali Agca, but in fact that there was a larger force behind it.  He also wrote in his will, which was just released in English yesterday that he believes he was saved, essentially, by the hand of God, by the intercession of the Virgin Mary from death and that it gave him the weight of continuing on as pope and leading the church into the new millennium.

STEPHEN WEEKE, NBC NEWS, THE VATICAN:  The reason for the Virgin Mary part is that the shooting occurred on the Church Day of Our Lady of Fatima, which is May 13th and recalls when the Virgin Mary appeared to three small children in Portugal and outside the town of Fatima.

The pope after he recovered from the operation, because it happened on that day of Fatima, asked for experts from the Vatican to come to his bedside in the hospital and to brief him on the secrets of Fatima because there were supposedly three secrets given out by the Virgin Mary to the children.

Two of the children died, the third one became a nun and lived until just this year into her nineties and two of the secrets of Fatima were revealed.  The third one was kept secret and that wasn‘t revealed to the public until the pope went back to Portugal a couple of years ago and at that point it was revealed what was seen.

ARCHBISHOP JOHN FOLEY, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL COMM.:  Let us pray.  Oh God, when this eucharistic banquet has made it possible for us to anticipate the delights of the eternal banquet, grant your servant and our pope, John Paul, to enter with your saint, into the full possession of the truth in which with apostolic courage, he can turn to his brothers.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

(CHOIR SINGS)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Andrea, if you want to explain some of the aspects of this incredible congregation of world leaders.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS:  Well, you know, we focus so much here in the United States on how this is the first American president to go to a funeral of a pope. 

But it‘s also the first time that you have the heads of government of many of these countries—France, alone, has been controversial because the French government, the interior minister, Dominique de Villepin ordered all flags there to be lowered to be half staff, yet France recently passed laws requiring secular behavior banning headscarves, greatly opposed by those Muslim—school girls for instance, and banning headscarves for all young children in French schools.

Sixty-two percent of the French say that they are self-identified Catholics, but only 12 percent go to mass regularly.  So it‘s become very much a controversy in the political sphere there in France.

Also in England it‘s the first time you‘ve had a member of the royal family, you see the applause there from the hundreds of thousands of people congregated there in the square and the surrounding area.

But the first time you‘ve had Tony Blair, a prime minister, and also a member of the royal family.  Some people have suggested that Henry VIII would be spinning in his Windsor grave—Chris.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  This is the news making part of this ritual; it wasn‘t expected, fully, but it was predicted by some.  You‘re hearing the crowd saying the word “Magnus,” which means “The Great” in Latin.  And they are calling for Pope John Paul to be called Pope John Paul The Great.

This is what we expected and now we‘re hearing it.

STEPHEN WEEKE, NBC NEWS, THE VATICAN:  There‘s a sign we just saw that said, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), a banner, which means “saint immediately,” calling for his immediate canonization, making him a saint right away.

JANSING:  And what may surprise a lot of people is that there is no technical process to become “The Great.”  Monsignor, this is something that is done by acclamation.

STRYNKOWSKI:  It is done by acclamation but also by recognition, eventually.  It begins slowly with acclamation by people in the church, but gradually builds up to the point where it becomes officially recognized.  So, for example, we have St. Leo the Great, and St. Gregory the Great, so that when we celebrate their feasts, we celebrate them as feasts of St. Leo the Great, and St. Gregory the Great.

Interesting to remember, also, that John Paul II, called his predecessor, Paul VI, “The Great,” on a number of occasions.

MATTHEWS:  But it didn‘t take. 

STRYNKOWSKI:  It hasn‘t taken, no.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, Monsignor, if, given modern communication—and this is the first time a Pope would be designated as The Great in the era of modern communication—would such things as New York Tabloids—and I‘m serious about this—when they say—I can imagine the New York Post tomorrow leading with The Great, would that play a role in the way this thing ferments?

STRYNKOWSKI:  Yes, absolutely, because people will become used to saying that more and more often.  And when you have that type of popular acclamation, then, of course, it rises to the top, and it would eventually get recognition by the Church officially.

MATTHEWS:  Well Observatory Romano, tomorrow, morning, will we see Magnus in the headline?

STRYNKOWSKI:  They may report on this, but they may not have it as a headline.  They may be little bit weary of that, a little cautious because, again...

MATTHEWS:  Because they‘re official.

STRYNKOWSKI:  They‘re official, that‘s right.

JANSING:  Although some of the other Italian newspapers did proclaim it immediately following his death.

MATTHEWS:  Now will the people running - will Cardinal Ratzinger allow this to continue here as an effort to instill this into the church thinking?

STRYNKOWSKI:  Well I think that there is such enthusiasm among the people for this pope, I think it‘s going to be hard for Cardinal Ratzinger to stop it.  I think he‘s got allow it to flow out.  To - he‘s got to allow it to express itself.  So there‘s not going to - I don‘t think anyone wants to stop it because the people are so appreciative of what the pope has done, and so in love with him, that it could be a little hard.

UNKNOWN:  It‘s hard to let go.  I mean we‘re about to see this presence of John Paul for the last time.  When they pick up that simple coffin and carry it back into the church at the end of this Mass, this entire people that‘s here and joined with them for this last moment, has to really let go.  And, you know, we‘re seeing how, you know, difficult that is. 

STRYNKOWSKI:  In a sense, this is also the people giving a message to the College of Cardinals in terms of who they want as the next pope.  It‘s got to be someone who, at least in some way, is able to match the deceased pope‘s charisma and gifts.

UNKNOWN:  There are 164 cardinals there in red standing to the right and left of the coffin.  Among them is the next pope.

STRYNKOWSKI:  The look on Cardinal Ratzinger‘s face says it all. 

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t think he wants to be the person to cut off this.  It‘s so interesting, because the most dramatic phenomenon of this week has been the lines of people.

STRYNKOWSKI:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  And most of them Italians and Romans, especially for those first couple of days.  And here they are again, with the new Polish allies joining them in the last couple of days.  It‘s the Italians and the Poles isn‘t it, Monsignor?

STRYNKOWSKI:  Absolutely.  And look at all of the Polish flags.  We cannot appreciate enough what John Paul II‘s election meant to the Polish people, when you consider all of the centuries of oppression and war that they had to face, and what seeing one of those sons raised to the Papacy meant. 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, We entrust to the most gentle mercy of God, the soul of our Pope John Paul, Bishop of the Catholic Church, who confirmed his brothers with believe in the resurrection.  We pray to God the Father, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit for the deceased so that ransomed from death he may be received in his peace and that his body may rise on the last day.

May our Lady of the Savior of the Roman people intercede for him.  May the Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of Apostles and Savior of the People of Rome, intercede to God for us, so that the face of Her Blessed Son may be shown to our Pope and comfort the Church with the light of resurrection. 

JANSING:  This is what is known as the Litany of Saints.  And you‘re seeing the panoramic shot of the saints who are all along the colonnade that line either side of St. Peter‘s Square. 

STRYNKOWSKI:  Yes, interesting enough, during this Litany of the Saints, they will be adding some of the saints whom the Pope canonized.  For example, St. Maximillian Kolbe, also St. Faustina Kowalska, so that this litany will not only mention the names of saints who stretch back for centuries, but also those whom the Pope himself canonized in more recent times. 

On the coffin, the red book is the Gospel.  And it‘s a windy day, so the wind has flipped it shut, but it‘s laid, initially open, on top of the coffin to symbolize how the Holy Spirit comes as a wind and flips the pages back and forth.  So it did that earlier.  Now it‘s closed.  But that‘s the only thing that‘s laid on top of the coffin is the Gospel.

Two of the saints being invoked will be St. Leo the Great, and St. Gregory the Great.  And the Latin term will be Sante Leo Magnei (ph).  The crowd was changing Magnus before.  Magnei is the evocative of Magnus.  So it‘s an invocation of great. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator):  Oh God, who gives the just reward for the workers of the Gospel, receive your servant and our Pope John Paul that he may contemplate forever the mystery of peace and of love, which he as successor of Peter, the Pastor of the Church gave faithfully to your family through Christ our Lord, Amen.

JANSING:  What you‘re watching is known as the Prayer of the Oriental Churches, or the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches.  This is something we have not seen before.  It is an innovation in the Mass of this pope who tried to bring so many disparate organizations - sections—of the church together.  And this is an emphasis of the unity of the Catholic Church, which of course, is primarily Latin Rite, but it also does include the Eastern Rite Churches, in communion with Rome.  The largest of these organizations is the Greek Catholic Church of the Ukraine.  You can see all of these rather colorfully-clad Eastern Catholic patriarchs.  And this is a series of intersessions that they are chanting—chanted in Greek, by a Deacon with the choir of Eastern Church leaders responding, Lord Have Mercy.

STRYNKOWSKI:  These, on the other hand, are leaders of the Orthodox Church.  The Catholic Rite ones, which are doing the Eastern Rite and Byzantine rite, are Catholics in that they report to the authority of the pope.  They are underneath the leadership of the pope.  The Orthodox, however are not.  They are split in the Church in the great schism almost 1,000 years ago, in which the Church of Constantinople went its own way.  And now, after all of these centuries, John Paul II put a special effort during his pontificate in trying to bridge the differences, and the gaps with the Greek Orthodox Church, and especially with the Russian Orthodox Church, but he wasn‘t very successful there, because the leader of the Orthodox Church in Russia, Alexei II, was bitterly opposed to any attempt of the Catholic Church to try and revive its religion in areas that were primarily Orthodox.  So one of the great trips that John Paul wanted to make, which was to Moscow, and for which he had an invitation from the government, from President Vladimir Putin, never came to pass because an agreement couldn‘t be reached with Alexei II.

JANSING:  That‘s one of the great parts of his legacy that has been much discussed, is how he has reached out, how he went to a mosque, how he went to a synagogue.  And in fact, in his Last Will and Testament, he names only three people his long time spiritual advisory, his long time secretary, and the Rabbi of Rome, who in the last days before John Paul died, was down with the crowds in St. Peter‘s Square, and praying for him. 

STRYNKOWSKI:  Have mercy on us, oh, God, according to your great mercy.  We pray you hear us and have mercy.  The chorus sings Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.  This prayer is also part of the Mass in the Latin Church - Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison.  The Deacon prays, we pray again for the repose of the soul of the servant of God, our father and Bishop John Paul, Pope of Rome.  That he may be pardoned of every sin voluntary or involuntary.  There‘s Archbishop James Harvey, and Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz. 

(LENGTHY PAUSE TO LISTEN)

STRYNKOWSKI:  And the prayer of the Patriarch:  Oh God of souls and all flesh who have overcome death, who have conquered the Devil and who have given life to the world, grant repose to the soul of this your deceased servant, John Paul, Pope of Rome.  In a place of light and joy, in a place ever verdant, in a place of blessedness, where there is no more suffering, no more pain, no more weeping.  Pardon every sin committed by him, in the words, deeds, thoughts, you who are a good God and a friend of man.  Because there is not a man who lives who does not sin.  You alone are in fact, without sin.  Your justice is for always, and your word is true.

Because you are the resurrection, the life, and the repose, grant repose to the soul of your servant Pope John Paul of Rome who has fallen asleep, oh Christ our God.  We acknowledge your glory and with your Father, who has no beginning, and with the Holy Spirit, good and giver of life, now and forever, Amen. 

Most merciful Father, we entrust to your mercy our Pope John Paul, whom you made successor to Peter and Pastor of the Church, a courageous witness to your word, and a faithful dispenser of your divine mysteries.  We pray that you may receive him in the sanctuary of heaven to enjoy eternal glory with all your elect.  We give you thanks, Lord, for all the benefits which in your goodness you gave him for the good of your people.  To the church deprived of its pastor, give the comfort of faith and the strength of hope.  To you, father, source of life, in the living spirit through Christ victorious over death, every honor and glory, now and forever, Amen.

(MUSIC)

(APPLAUSE)

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC NEWS:  And so the rite for the burial of the Holy Roman Pontiff is concluding.  After 26 years, the third-longest serving Pope in history, a man clearly beloved and who drew an unprecedented gathering of world leaders and pilgrims, is about to be seen for the last time. 

That is the mosaic of Madonna and Child that Pope John Paul added to the outside of the Apostolic Palace following the assassination attempt in 1981, so many times crediting the Blessed Virgin for saving his life and allowing him to continue to lead the Church until now, 2005.  And it will be a heartbreaking moment for the many millions of people who have come here and for the potentially billions who are watching on television, the cardinals, many of whom are close to him, who have known him not just for years and decades, as that simple coffin is picked up, carried into Saint Peter‘s Basilica, which we will not see.  There are no cameras.  This will be private. 

We will hear The Magnificat, which is Mary‘s canticle from the Gospel of Luke.  You hear it in the background, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”  You will hear the Psalms.  But then the coffin will be carried down to the crypt through Saint Martha‘s Door of Saint Peter‘s.

The stairs leading down there, that magnificent canopy by Bernini over the main altar which we saw so much over the last few days as two million people paid their last respects to Pope John Paul, and that will lead down to the grottos.  This is an area one level below the Basilica, low ceiling, narrow passageways.  It lies between what is the existing Basilica and the old Constantine one.  And along those corridors are several crypts holding the tombs of Popes.  And most of them are marble.  Most of them are sarcophagus.  They‘re topped by sculptures of the dead Popes. 

But in his will, Pope John Paul asked to be buried as Paul VI was, and that is in the earth (ph), a sign of humility.  His place in the Grotto will be actually the exact same place where Pope John XXIII lay before, by popular acclaim, he was brought onto the main floor of the Basilica after his beatification in 2000.  John Paul‘s tomb is going to be a simple stone slab featuring his name, the dates of his birth, and the dates of his death. 

And to applause, for one last time, we will see Pope John Paul leaving Saint Peter‘s Square.

(MUSIC)

(APPLAUSE)

JANSING:  And the bell tolling for Pope John Paul II.  His internment will be attended by just those closest to him, the hierarchy of the Church, his long-time secretary, the Polish nuns who had cared for him since he was an Archbishop in Poland.  Father Strynkowski, your thoughts at this moment?

STRYNKOWSKI:  I can‘t help but think back to October of 1978 at the end of the Mass of Inauguration, he came to the edge of the platform and waved to the same type of enthusiasm that we see now.  Flags waving, it was a marvelously sunny day, blue sky, lots of sunshine, and he walked from one side to the other.  At one point, a little boy came running out of the crowd, and he held the boy by the hand and walked with him for a bit.  But it was just a great occasion of joy, of celebration, of hope. 

And today, in a way, it‘s the same.  It‘s the same, except now it‘s so many years later.  There‘s sadness, but as I said earlier today, there‘s also great joy for all that he accomplished, all that he did for the Church, and for the world.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC NEWS:  Let‘s go right now to Jim Maceda, who‘s down in that huge crowd surrounding Saint Peter‘s Square.  Jim?

JIM MACEDA, MSNBC NEWS:  Yes, hi there.  I can‘t think of another group that I would really want to be with, observing and living through the emotion of the past two-and-a-half hours than with this group of people, almost entirely from Poland.  You get the impression at times, especially right now with this ongoing applause, of being right in the middle of a Polish rally.  Not only are there Polish flags everywhere, there are Solidadnosh (ph) - Solidarity flags, as well. 

There‘s just been an extraordinary gamut of emotion that we‘ve brought - that I have witnessed personally here from the very beginning when Pope John Paul‘s simple casket came out at 10:03 local time.  It was an extraordinary reaction.  People were literally crying; some were fainting.  Since then, however, it‘s calmed down quite a bit, and it‘s set into a more solemn sense.  However, even now, and every time that casket appeared on these huge screens - keep in mind I‘m about a kilometer away with these people from Saint Peter‘s Square - every time that casket appeared on the screen, there was this type of applause.

There‘s just such a sense of appreciation by these people, many of them extremely fatigued.  Some of these people arrived yesterday; others arrived two or three days before.  Many of them went through the arduous task of walking 12 to 24 hours on line to get to see him for one last time.  Some people, in fact, I saw asleep during this ceremony, they were so tired.

But it indicates that he had such a personal touch and effect on people that even now, you hear this chanting behind me, the ringing of toll - the tolling of bells, as well as chanting.  You hear, “Polska, Polska (ph),” and you hear, “John Paul, John Paul,” in Latin and in Polish.  Again, a sense of a rally as much as one of a funeral.  It truly is a testament to this man, particularly the visceral connection that he had to these people here - again, mostly from Poland.  Chris?

MATTHEWS:  Jim, it seemed like a lot of those people in the streets last night had nowhere to stay. 

MACEDA:  That‘s right.  They had nowhere to stay.  They came, many of them backpacking, no hotel rooms, of course.  They tried to get as close to this ceremony as possible.  And there were some scenes early this morning of many of these backpackers asleep in the streets - hundreds, if not thousands of them, who were awakened when - with the arrival of those who wanted - who were going to participate - those with tickets, if you will.  So there was that kind of commotion.

I must say that so far, we‘ve only seen one emergency incident when a phalanx of local police and Italian police opened up the crowd enough for one ambulance to take out somebody who needed emergency aid.  Otherwise, it‘s been relative - it‘s been pretty routine.  We‘re here close to ambulances, close to the Red Cross tents, and they‘ve been, luckily, very quiet. 

But that‘s right - many, many people have no place to stay.  It‘ll be interesting to see what all of these people, or most of them, are going to do now.  Two million - three million people in downtown Rome, what do they do next?  Chris?

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Jim Maceda.  Let‘s go right now to John Meacham, who‘s back in Washington.  He‘s the Managing Editor of “Newsweek Magazine.”  John Meacham, I‘m so impressed with the presence here of so many world leaders, especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, leaders of the Orthodox Church in the East, leaders of so many Muslim communities.  This seems to be where the Polish participation is so passionate, it seems like the participation of these big-shots, if you will, is almost de rigueur - they had to be here.

JOHN MEACHAM, MANAGING EDITOR, “NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE”:  Well, absolutely, and it‘s a remarkable testament to John Paul II (INAUDIBLE) to project an ecumenical vision even if at the same time he was the Roman Catholic Vicar of Christ.  He was someone who clearly believed in the power of the Gospel as an inclusive message at heart, just by whatever doctrine error (INAUDIBLE) or questions there may have been along the way.

You know, one of the most moving things I ever took from his ministry was when he visited on referring to the people of Israel, the people from whom the tribe out of which the Christian savior came, as, “our elder brothers and our sisters in God.”  And the idea that we are all God‘s children, we are all created in God‘s image was the core idea of the culture of life that he preached so eloquently and so passionately.  So that all the - to use a biblical phrase, “All of the nations, all of the kindred, all of the tongues,” have come to pay tribute to him on this day I think is a - is a gentle and fitting benediction to the life spent bearing witness, as spoke (INAUDIBLE) biographer, George Weigel said, “Bearing witness to hope,” and the simple message of this Papacy was hope.

MATTHEWS:  You know, the other thing, John, besides the religious getting together here, and we‘re watching it here in front of us - the Jewish and the Christian faiths together, but also the political antipathies that have been buried for these last three hours - Khatami of Iran sitting there not far from the Prime Minister of Israel, the President of the United States, Kabila, very controversial from The Congo, Mugabe of Zimbabwe.  What a collection of - a motley crew, you must say, of political figures in the world.

MEACHAM:  Well, you know, in a few minutes, I think, inside the Basilica there, they will read Psalm 117 over - as the Pope is interred.  And it‘s a very short Psalm.  It‘s one of the shortest in the Bible.  And it simple reads, “Oh, Praise the Lord, all ye nations!  Praise Him, all ye people!  For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and His truth - and the truth of the Lord endureth forever.”  All the nations - all the people.  And one of the strengths of Catholicism, I think, which you know well, is its universal message - the fact that the Church is there, it is the center of the religious world, but it‘s never flinched from engaging, sometimes for good and sometimes for ill, with the temporal world. 

And the fact that you have the American President there, as you say, that you have so many world leaders is a fascinating testament to the power (INAUDIBLE) as a political force.  The Vatican has no army.  The Vatican has no nuclear missiles.  All it has, frankly, are words.  And this is a very eloquent testimony, as we listen to that great bell - a very eloquent testimony to the power of the arsenal of words that - of the Roman Catholic tradition.

JANSING:  This is the end of the official service that we see here, but it is not the end of mourning.  In fact today, Steven Weeke, begins nine official days of mourning.  What will we see over that time?

WEEKE:  Well, over that period, every day at 5:00 P.M. in Saint Peter‘s, a different Cardinal will say Mass.  The Masses will have different themes, and they will have as audiences different people.  But the public is allowed to go to all of them.  And it‘s at the end of those nine days of mourning on the seventeenth of April that we will then come to the election of the new Pope on the following day on April the eighteenth, Monday.  But in these nine days, several services will be done and, you know, the entire mourning ritual for the Roman Pontiff comes to an end.

JANSING:  We so associate Sunday with the appearance of the Pope.  Will anything happen at Saint Peter‘s on Sunday?

WEEKE:  No.  That window that the Pope has always appeared from every Sunday for the noon blessing and which John Paul appeared from whenever he was here and even when he was on the road, he never missed a noon blessing.  He‘d give it from wherever he was, even without being able to speak at the end.  So, until we have a new Pope, nobody will appear at that window and there won‘t be a noon blessing.

MATTHEWS:  Let me bring in Andrea Mitchell right now.  Andrea, talk about these incredible world leaders we are looking at, and you can probably spot most of them.

ANDREA MITCHELL:  Well, you see Kofi Anaan and his wife there.  Actually they were sitting not far from George Bush.  It was the closes that Kofi Anaan has been to George Bush, because on a recent visit to Washington, he was not invited to the White House.  And in fact, as you know, there‘s been a great deal of tension there.  There‘s supposed to be a hearing today, in fact, for John Bolton (ph), the President‘s nominee to the U.N. Ambassador, but that‘s been postponed because of this funeral service until next Monday.   But great tension there between the U.N. and Washington.

But all of these world leaders - as John Meacham was saying, it‘s extraordinary that this Pope represented such a global figure, in both the spiritual and temporal sense, that he has attracted the first President to ever attend a funeral for a Pope, the first Head of the Royal Family in Great Britain, the first - many of these leaders, Tony Blair, the first Prime Minister to go to a funeral of a Pope.  So this is really an extraordinary assemblage - nothing that we‘ve ever seen before.  I recall very clearly the funeral service back in 1978, and that was hardly this kind of event.  This is really a testament to what this Pope represented. 

And when Chris Jansing was talking earlier about the outpouring of affection and emotion from this crowd, when you heard them crying out, “Magnus, Magnus!”  And there will be - very quickly, I would think, in short order a push - a movement by acclamation for him to be called “John Paul the Great,” and also for beatification.  And ironically it was he who accelerated that process by beginning it with Mother Theresa, not waiting the five-year period after her death and beginning that process.  And of course, as you know, there have to be miracles, but one of the miracles that has already been mentioned for this Pope is the miracle of him surviving that 1981 assassination attempt. 

But there‘ll be a great deal more that will be said about this in the coming weeks and years, in fact.  But there have been only three Popes in 900 years who have been canonized, and clearly there will be a great sentiment for that to happen in this case.  Chris?

MATTHEWS:  You know, I was thinking of - actually I was just reading last night about the decision of this President of ours and what a dramatic decision it was for President Bush and the First Lady to lead the American delegation this time.  The President was worried that he would be setting a precedent that future Presidents would be bound to attend future Papal funerals.  But I am so struck by the forthright and the total generosity of the President coming to this event because I think there were so many years of Protestant America being very, very, very squeamish about showing any close ties to the Vatican. 

I remember Jimmy Carter when he was President greeting this Pope when he was first in the United States and referring to him as Pope John Paul II to his face when the correct title was Holy Father.  I don‘t think you have that squeamishness anymore from American political figures to address the Pope in his proper form.

MITCHELL:  I think one of the great stories of these last six days and the death of Pope John Paul have been the extraordinary contrasts.  This man of such humble beginning being honored by more world leaders assembled than anyone can remember.  The great spontaneity of these millions of people who poured into Rome - so many that Roman officials said, “The City Center can‘t hold anymore,” contrasted with the formality, the ritual of this Mass that we just saw.  A man who grew old and infirmed before our eyes attracting tremendous crowds of youth, and someone who was alone very early in life, losing his mother, his father, his brother, a sister he never knew, by the time he was 22, now being mourned, literally, by billions around the world.

MATTHEWS:  Steven Weeke, you‘ve lived here all - so much of your life.  Is this calm that we‘ve seen here in the last week unusual?

WEEKE:  Yes, it is.  I think the situation and the importance of this is a - as a man has helped soothe the situation.  Normally you would not have crowds in Rome this well behaved for any reason.  What we‘ve seen is exceptional.  Never have so many people gathered in this town with so few incidents with such good behavior and good will.

JANSING:  Steven Weeke, Monsignor John Strynkowski, I‘m Chris Jansing along with Chris Matthews, thank you for watching.  Our coverage will continue.

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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