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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  May 1, 2011 4:00am-5:00am EDT

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john paul ii was a pilgrim pope, visiting more than 100 countries, a political pope, standing firm against communism, a personal pope who touched millions with his magnetism. now the church declares him a blessed pope, one step from sainthood. live from the vatican, the beatification of john paul ii. john paul ii was one of the extraordinary men of our era, a voice of conscious and a
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magnetic figure who drew millions every time he traveled. he has drawn millions to rome today to see him move one step closer to sainthood. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. the crowds in rome are marking this day in the minutes ahead. the beatification mass of john paul ii. he reigned as hope from 1978 until his death in age 84 in 2005. he is soon to be be atrophied and recognized as blessed in a mass led by a man who knew him well and seceded him as pope, john paul xvi. does that mean that he with stands all criticism, that his guidance of the church is without fault? officially, the vatican assists that be atrophying and
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cannonizing a pope is not everything. despite everything else that can be is it said about him and his church, pope john paul ii was nevertheless a holy man. today, he will be officially recognized as blessed. we are watching live pictures from the vatican. joining us, jim bitterman and vatican analyst john allen. gentlemen, good to have you with us. a remarkable day. jim bitterman, what are we going to see? >> well, i think we're going to see a lengthy mass, quite an exciting mass for the people that are here. something over a million, certainly more than they expected. part of that must be due to the good weather, but it might be -- skoou extremely popular as far as the church is concerned.
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right now, up to the beginning of the mass, there will be a small musical interlude with a number of crowds. then they're going to go straight into the rite of beatification. i think that's the moment most people will be waiting for. and takes place when the working mass agains. we'll see that, i would say, within the next 15 to 20 minutes. john, you know, we talked about this earlier. what do you think breaks people out for an event like this? why do you think so many people have turned out today? >> part offite, the pop, whoever it is, is a big deal. making saints is always a big deal. destroegz saints is a huge tradition in catholicism. on top of that is the old john paul magic. we're talking about a special ability to connect with people. he took mover than 100 people
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around the world and you would get millions and millions to see him. certainly his big public event necessary rome were magnets for humanity. and that status he had as a rock star and the popular imagination, that's on display here today. >> do you get the feeling that perhaps they're longing for a little of that to return in the sense that benedict the xvi doesn't command the same figure that john pope ii did. yes. and we're talking also back seat a church that has been badly demoralized with the pressure of the youth crisis and other opportunities. >> we're going to look at some of the pictures of benedict xvi going through the crowd. >> this is the opening
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procession of mass. he will make his way through the crowd. >> you're watching live coverage from the vatican at the beatification mass of pope john paul ii gets under way and there is pope benedict xvi. the mass celebrates his predecessor, but draws our attention to this pope, as well. he is 84 years old, six years into his pontificate. i think it's fair to say that he has never seen a crowd like this, a crowd that has come to show its devotion. ben detective xvi is a different kind of figure. he was a theological, a
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professor, white hair, soft spoken, a very, very different leader for the church. as we watch this, it will be interesting to watch him. his own private secretary calls him a pope of the word. john paul ii was the pope of great images. ben detective xvi is the pope of the word within of the force of words, more than a man of gestures. but today, an enormous gesture on behalf of his predecessor, the man who brought him to rome to serve there, the man who inducted him into the college of cardinals, the man who paved the way for his election of pope, benedict xvi.
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>> our senior vatican analyst and john bitterman are with us today. john, we are going to see an extraordinary thing, but the pictures already speak vol. the volume speaks volumes. this is an enormous celebration of john paul's memory, isn't it? >> yeah, that's right, john. i mean, this is -- on one level, this is a holy rite. it's the declaration of a new rite. but at another level, you can think of this almost like a high school pep rally on steroids. this is a massive celebration of a figure who, of course, in addition to being the pope of the catholic church is ultimately a loving and holy man all around the world. and what you've been seeing today is one of those massive rivers of humanity that john paul always seems to generate. we're expecting more than a million people. in addition, there are something like five or six royal families
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represented here today, 16 heads of state, official delegation. this is going to be a remarkable day in a city, of course, that has seen quite a few remarkable days over the years. >> john, i want you to help us with something very basic. millions of people are watching this around the world. of course, many of them are catholics, but many of them are not. so what is pope benedict xvi about to proclaim about john paul ii. are catholics now to pray to john paul ii? does he become a figure of worship? >> well, according to official catholic theology, catholics tot make saints, they venerate them. the idea is that saints are people in heaven with god and under the idea of the communion of saints, they're people you can talk to in prayer and take care of your worries, your
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problems, you can ask them to intercede on your behalf with god. so essentially, after today, you have a new friend in prison. john paul ii was more like an old friend they loved over the years and this is an opportunity to get together next to him one more time. >> as we watch this, we watch, as well, in a sense, the next step in a remarkable relationship, a remarkable friendship between these two men, pope benedict xvi is the first pope in memory to be atrophy his immediate predecessor. many of the senior clerics involved in this process knew john paul ii personally. jim bitterman, as you watch all of this unfold, how personal is this? >> well, the two men worked together for something like 27 years in the vatican. and pope john paul personally --
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the vatican who head up one of the more important congregations in the vatican. so the fact is that the two of them worked together quite closely. and maybe if john could comment on this a little more, but there were many things that john paul ii did in the time years of his papers to establish sort of a smooth transition to a cardinal. he made his the spokesman during the funeral and that did held cardinal ratinger achieve what he achieved. >> sure. cardinal ratzinger was -- which meant that when the cardinals gathered for those meetings in rome leading up to the conclave, he was the one providing. it also meant when john paul's funeral mass was celebrated,
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so some estimate more than 5 million people were on hand, it was cardinal ratzinger who delivered that homely. and there is no doubt that that generated momentum. but when the conclave opened on april 19th, it seemed to the cardinals they had a clear front-runner in joseph ratzinger. >> was that something that you think he probably never expressed himself that way, that the cardinals don't even express their feelings, but was there a sense that perhaps by giving cardinal rats z i ratzinger tha? >> i think john paul ii was a man of faith and i think he believed that the church would
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end up with the right guy. but if you're asking was he disapointed? no. joseph ratzinger was the intellectual architect, one of his closest collaborators for more than two decades. there is no doubt that joseph ratzinger would have been benedict xvi. >> have you been surprised at all or given what we do at the funeral mass about ratzinger and what we know about his mass, has this unfolded in the way they predicted? >> well, i think for the most part b, it's been what one might have expected in the sense that he knew this was a quieter figure, a cooler figure in some ways. it's a major surprise, though.
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with a lot of people, you'll remember when ratzinger was elected, talked about a rottweiler and german shepherd who was going to bring a massive hammer dawn. we have not seen that. there's been an effort to project a more positive image to the world. that probably has been the main take away in terms of surprise. >> if you're just joining us, you are watching an extraordinary event unfold in rome, a crowd estimated at praps perhaps a million people. although i expect even more has gathered for the beatification mass of pope john paul ii. john paul, who served as pope for nearly 27 years haas has been declear eed venerable and blessed and at that point will be one step away from sainthood. just within the hours after his death, within the first minutes,
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in fact, a crowd that gathered there in st. peter's square proclaimed, they screamed out santo scubios, sainthood immediately. and that ground swell of devotion six years ago brings us to where we are today. you're watching now as benedict xvi makes his way to the beatification mass which will start in just a few moments. remarkably, we will also see the coffin of john paul ii which has been taken from the underground broughtel beneath the basilica. we will also see -- and this is an extraordinary thing if you're not in the catholic tradition, we will see vials of the late pope's blood, blood that was taken from him during his lifetime for use in transfusions
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which were ultimately not performed. that blood now a holy relic which will also be presented on this day of devotion to the memory of john paul ii. ♪ >> st. sylvia berlusconi. there are many nations represented and an enormous contingent from pollland. you can see their red and white banners identifying their city and their hometowns. john paul ii is the first italian pope in nearly five centuries embraced by the people
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of italy, embraced by the people of rome, embraced by catholics around the world. in many senses, the church controls the process of beatification, but it responds to the faithful and the faithful have embraced pope john paul ii in a very, very profound way. our senior vatican analyst john allen is watching along with jim bitterman. john, there are extraordinary procedures for all of this and it would seem that leading up to today, the vatican has tried to push, bend, work through just about every one of them to try and do this quickly and to make it possible for catholics around the world to respond to john paul in a way other beatified catholics have not. >> but in this case, only a little over six years passed from the death of john paul ii
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to his beatification. now, you said it yourself a moment ago, this was a response to popular demand. the chants of sainthood. but the cardinals actually signed a petition asking the next hope to speed this one. there's a saying this week and it's a pun saying this is an imposed saint hood. this is one that came from the grassroots rather than top down. >> i think, john, it's fair to point out that one of the things they said, it takes a lot less time these days for things to happen. absolutely everybody recognize these pope. he was supposed in such a way that he was one of the most recognizable figures on the planet. as such, the idea of getting
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acclaimed by catholics, it is a procedure these days because of the internet, because of all those communication tools that we have that takes a lot less time than may have done 50, 100 years ago. >> certainly. the whole world was faster. sainthood is supposed to be a fame of sanitity. now, if you're a doorman in a country off the beaten track, it may take centuries of the wider catholic world to wake up to the fact that this was an extraordinary life. but john paul was a media icon of his age. i'm not sure you had to wait a century for his personal holiness to make a public debut. >> and they said last night, look, if you see the saintly qualities, why wait? >> yeah. and certainly the turnout today
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is that in your standard is a grassroots issue, they're certainly right over our shoulder. but that's the case. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ >> an enormous crowd gathers in st. peter's square, a million catholic romans in rome this day watching as pope benedict xvi leads them in prayer and begins the beatification mass for john paul ii.
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[ speaking in foreign language ]. >> much of what we will see in the minutes and hours to come will resemble a mass. but now, the beginning of the beatification rite. [ speaking in foreign language ].
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this is, i take it, the formal request that the beatification of john paul ii will proceed. john allen and jim bitterman are watching along with us. so i have that right, this is the start of the process on the day? >> that's right. why does the of rome have an important position in this? >> a blessed as oppose dollars to saint is technically being be at beatified for a specific church. so it is the head of the church of rome who is formally presenting the request for john paul to be beatified. >> a request which i'm sure is going to be -- >> we're operating on the assumption that the benedict is going to say yes, that's correct.
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>> this is a very special moment, of course. this is a very special day. but special doesn't do it justice. this is a day when pope ben duct xvi, the church as a whole, recognizes a miracle, a miraculous event, the intercession of the late john paul ii to save a woman from an incurable disease. that was a crucial element advancing all-paul ii to this stage of the process. >> john, can you tell us what the miracle was? >> sure, john. it's the heal of the 19-year-old french none who in 2001 was diagnosed with a form of
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parkinson's decent, the same disease as john paul ii himself suffered from. in 2005, after the pope died for marie and her community praised the late pope for help. she reports on the night of june 2nd, 2005, she went to bed believing she was going to spend the rest of her life confined to a wheelchair and unl able to work. in the morning, she reported waking up and going to the church to pray and going to a doctor's visit and was proclaimed to be rid of the disease ever since. the miracle has to be complete, and scientifically inexplicable. they have a board of 66 doctors in the congregation. they have a panel of thee lolo n
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theologians. they all signed off on that. the sister is here in rome for this beatification. she spoke last night and she is here at the beatification mass. >> and, in fact, she's evidence of something the clerics have said to be beatified is to be a role model around the world. at least one miracle whats to be attributed to someone and now a second miracle will be required after this beatification ceremony in order to suggest to the vatican that god has approved of the beatification. that second miracle after beatification is one of the necessary steps towards sainthood. but as we watch this, jim
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bitterman, is there any question in that crowd, in anyone's mind that john paul ii will before long be recognized as a saint? >> i don't think there's any question in anybody's mind. it's really a question of how long it's going to take. having said that, one of the things we saw is that she has got to the point of being blessed and that second miracle has not yet appeared. it has to meet the standards as john outlined. and it's not just anybody walking in and saying, look, i've been miraculously healed. the idea is that you have someone sitting at the hand of god who can intercede with you on your behalf. so the proof of that, of course, is to have it security. we really know that the person,
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the saint is up there right at the hand of god. >> you're right on the money. the only footnote is the miracles do not have to be healings. in theory, it could be any divine intervention. in fact, when john paul beatified a nun in 2002, her miracle was that she played over him as his subwas sinking and he was able to save 22 crewmen. so it could be anything. but in the vast majority of cases, they are healing. >> the standard for a saint who is a martyr is -- >> well, that's right. a martyr does not need a miracle. so it's sort of like, don't pass go, don't collect $200. you move straight to beatification. but for any other kind of saint known as a confessor, you need miracles. >> john.
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>> once again, if you're just joining us, a remarkable day in rome, a remarkable day at the vatican. more than a million people have arrived as pilgrim toes witness and be part of the history of their church. john paul ii is to be beatified. you're watching the beatification mass as the story of his life is read out. in principle, this is now a request to pope benedict xvi to proceed with the beatification. obviously, the pope has been involved very closely for many of this process, a process that has moved with just about remarkable speed. john paul ii died just six years ago and a process that can take centuries and frequently does has been speeded up, the fastest beatification in modern history, the first time a pope is taking the extraordinary step of
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beatifying his predecessor, a man he knew very well from their long years together at the vatican. you can see the flags there from poland. there are, of course,.countless poll e poles there. there are heads of state, members of the royal families of the world. it is the biggest crowd we have seen at the vatican since the funeral of john paul ii six years ago. he is being recognized as a blessed figure within the church, the third of four steps towards sainthood, a process that began with a close study of his life, his proclamation as a servant of god, then as a venerables man and now as a blessed one. certainly there's no doubt in the minds of his millions of his
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followers and the million or so people who have come to rome today. >> as we watch the victor general of the dioceses of rome, we can refer back to one of the people who knew john paul ii the best. he was the latest pontiff's spokeman and he talked about the speed which john paul ii has traveled the path of sainthood. >> some people asked me a question from a historical point of view. this is not a historical judgment. one, it's clear. why wait? the historical judgment is
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different. it might take centuries, but they -- to be aware, to know where they increased in values in his life is now clear. >> now, there has been some strange choreography in the days leading up to this. the coffin of pope john paul ii was removed from its marble tomb in the underground kript crypt be neat st. peter's basilica. it's been moved and placed in front of the main altar or it will be shortly so that thousands of people that travel to st. basilica will be able to see it. the remains of 15th century pope innocent will be removed from the chapel to make way for john paul ii. never before has the body of one pope been removed to make way for another.
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meanwhile, the large tombstone which coughed the late pope's grave for the past six years is to be taken to poland where it will be placed in a new church dedicated to the blessed, as he will be known, john paul ii. we're watching live now the beatification ceremony under way in rome. jim bitterman and john allen are watching along with us. and once again, one is struck by the devotion. you know, dhurch fathers have said, this is not about john paul the pope -- >> i didn't hear the question. would you repeat that? >> church fathers say this isn't about john paul, the pope. this is about the man. what kind of man was he? >> do you want to tackle that one, john? >> well, john, jim, of course, obviously, john paul was pope for almost 27 years. there's a healthy debate about whether he resolved all of those issues correctly or not.
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beneath that, though, i think there was a near universal conviction that this was a mist, a real, authentic human being with a fantastic sense of humor who had a great love of life and a great capacity for friendship. you will remember almost every day, anybody who was in rome who had anything interesting to see, at night, he would have the rolling graduate seminars. i think his idea of original sin was to walk into a room and not greet every person in that room. this was just a guy who had a kind of that people responded to whether they agreed with him or not. >> the fact is, on those trips, and i wrote about this on my blog on cnn, the fact is that he traveled an enormous distance. this is a man who grew up under no, sirzies, under communism, not under freedom at all. and his ability to reach out to
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learn things, to be educated, to go on a seminary, even, it was an underground seminary, his ability to just sort of improve himself was something that is incredible when you see the difference that he has gone, from his moral, poor town in poland in the 30s to the point where he was fit to become the head of a church of 1 billion people. it's a pretty extraordinary journey and i think that says a lot about the man, too. >> yeah, jim. that's practically right. one biography of john paul ii referred to him as the man of the century. not in the sense that he was necessarily the best human being of that century, but rather that his biography cut across every moment in the 25th century from the collapse of the empire, his father was a lieutenant in the hapsberg army from the first world war to the rise of naziism
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and communism, flash forward to 9/11, the response of the vatican, the rise of china as a global super power, there isn't a single issue in which john paul isn't intrinsically connected. that's what makes him such a figure. >> as we remember him on this day, never's memory, catholic or not, was the image of john paul ii and his decline in old age, he was a man who suffered enormously. he suffered from parkinson's disease. he was shot by a would-be assassin and he suffered terribly as a result of that. and his suffering is very much remembered by the catholic faithful. it's been one of the themes leading up to his beatification, hasn't it, john? >> absolutely. and i think we're right at the
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point in the beatification where we're going to have the actual beatification itself. [ speaking foreign language ]. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ >> beatification of john paul ii
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is complete and now we see the nun, cured of parkinson's disease it is said by the incide intercession of the late john ii carrying a relic of the vial of john paul ii's blood that was ultimately never performed, but blood that has been saved, at least in part, with the vision of a day like this, be venerated by the very many pilgrims, a million who are crowding into rome on this day. jim, we are going to see a more traditional celebration of the mass for catholics. >> yes.
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basically, the order of mass as it happens every sunday in most catholic churches around the world. the fact that it would normally go by 2 and a half hours, i have a feeling it will go about 2 1/2 hours or more. one thing about the veneration of the relic of the vial of blood, there's also going to be -- once this choreography has taken place we talked about earlier, we going to be a veneration of john paul himself and the casket will be much more accessible for the people that would like to see john paul's casket, it will be on display from here on. isn't that right? >> yes, that's correct. in the middle ages, villages would actually go to war over
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who got to control the bones of the saints. catholics like to have a tactile relationship with their saints. so being able to pray in front of the body, connect with it is very important. one of those will be here in st. peter a's basilica. another is in poland dedicated to john paul's favorite theme and a couple will be held by -- so that seems to be the physical connection with john paul. the whole thing about the mass today, we should note, is that the mass for pope ben detective 16 gives the homely with his
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connection to the bible reading and perhaps even his personal memories of this man he served for so long in the vatican. >> it should be quite exceptional in nature, i think, because of the exceptional nature of today's mass. >> and once again, just to make this point for viewers who may just be joining us who are watching, this is live from the vatican, the beatification of john paul ii who on this day is considered blessed by the roman catholic church. a moment ago, we were staring at the vial of his blood. we're calling on a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of the church, the veneration of relics of the holy, john paul ii's blood has been brought out so that the crowd can be physically close to it and john paul's remains will be available to programs inside st. peter's basilica who may
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approach it in the hours to come. [ speaking foreign language ]. [ speaking foreign language ]. >> in order to participate more fruitfully in this eucharistic celebration. from this moment, therefore, it is kindly asked that we refrain
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from applause and from waving banners. [ speaking foreign language ].
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♪ ♪
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>> now we're seeing from a moment ago the unveiling of a portrait of john paul ii. this tapestry was based on a photograph taken in 1995 when you could see the pope was still in full health. he was robust, he was relatively young. our image of john paul ii is so colored by his later years of suffering from parkinson's disease. but on this day, we're reminded of his youth and of his death six years ago and the enormous, enormous power that he continues to hold over the faith and imaginations of so many catholics around the world. we're going to go back now to the live picture. his remains have been exhumed from beneath st. peter's basilica and they line them near the basilica itself, the main
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altar, where many will be invited to approach his coffin and it will lie that until the very last of the faithful have had a chance. jim bittermann, senior vatican analyst john allen are watching with us. and it almost seems difficult to pierce this moment, this mass. it's an extraordinary day in the vatican. but for so many catholics, something remarkable about pope john paul ii has been recognized and he is now one step closer to sainthood. >> you know, john, one of the things that john said to me just as we were watching what happened here, it was the ben benedict xvi's turn who stop celebrating, stop applauding, go back to the calm, more dig phied
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order of the mass. under john paul ii, and i think we saw it in some of his travels, there were masses with dancing and all sorts of native music which some people say went too far. i can what we saw today was a benedict xvi moment. >> it's an act of devotion and a pep rally, sometimes a broadway musical. part of that was just the emotions of john paul shares with the people. a lot of times applauding and chanting, come on, but this way it leads you.
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as part of this humility, he will be on the mass, not on his own person. in any event, it will be that kind of timing. >> so we'll watch the traditional mass here now as that unfolds. >> john allen, jim bittermann, as we watch this live from st. peter's square, i would remind people something that you remember very well, both of you. it took a miracle to bring john paul ii to this stage, to this beatification. and it's particularly res nant because he believed that his own life had been saved in st. peter's square by a miracle, by the interception of a saint. and it was that day back in 1981 when he was nearly killed by an
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assassin. and he really believed that on that day there was a miracle to save his life. can you tell us about that? >> yeah. a gunman shot at john paul ii -- the great devotee of our lady of fadam. he believed on that day they the bullet in order to save his life and preserve him in office. the events of his life were not just part of human history, but they're also part of divine history. it's worth adding that two years later in december 1983, all-pawn ii went to rebebia prison here in rome where alachka was
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serving his italian sentence where he embraced him and gave him his forgiveness and i think that was one of his iconic moments that gave him a reference for the entire world. they saw an utterly spontaneous act of forgiveness and reconciliation offered by the pope to the man who had tried to kill him. i think that is one of those moments that cemented john paul as an icon. >> it's worth note b, whatever happened to his would-be assassin, he served his time in prison and went to turkey and he served prison time there, as well, and then he was released. he may be watching right now as a free man, a man now free.
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[ speaking foreign language ]. >> if you're just joining us, you're now watching the celebration of mass in st. peter's square in the vatican, maybe a million people, maybe more. who gathered for an stroit extraordinary event we just saw a short time ago, the beatification of john paul ii. the late pope has moved one step closer to sainthood, just one step away on the basis of so much faith, so much devotion, so much support within the church, but also the atry bugz of a miracle. you think you'll see in the videotape that we were watching a moment ago, the nun who leaves, that is sister marie
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simon-pierre who believes that the interception of john paul ii saved her life, cured her of incurable parkinson's disease. she not ohm testified to that fact, she not only proclaimer hesitate believe that she was shared by a miracle, but she was seen on this day presenting a relic of john paul ii's blood to pope benedict xvi after he declared the beatification. i am still struck by that. that blood is part of what makes this, i think, to many people outside the catholic church such a unique, i daresay exotic process. the element of the magical, the mystical, the veneration of the relic of the late pope's blood, the veneration of his body which
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has been exhumed and the coffin put on display. >> well, i should say, john, that, in fact, it's pretty common throughout the catholic church just down the street from my home in paris. we're very close to the church of the miraculous metal and there are two nuns' bodies that are inventovenerated there and part of making the church tangib tangible, yes? >> yes. and we actually have a classification system. there are relics of the first class which are relics of the saints' body and the relics of the other class and the relics of the third class would be anything that has physically touch relics of the first or second class. obviously, the blood we are seeing is the prime example of the relics of the first class. but you're right, this is a
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sacramental tradition which means visible things of this world are relics of the supernatural. and many writers talk about the beatification, we need more than just stuff, we need physical attributes to see what this is all about. >> tell us more about what is going to happen to his remains, because they have also been removed. >> as we understand it, the remains, the casket itself will be in the chapel in st. peter's, which is just off to the right side. it's close


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