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Pope Benedict XVI Resigns; Widow Honors American Sniper; 4,200 People Getting a Tow to Shore; Band Fun. Rocks the Grammys

Aired February 11, 2013 - 15:29   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's return to the pope now and the surprise announcement that Benedict XVI will resign the papacy on the last day of this month. His is the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years. The pope cited his advancing age. He's 85 going on 86 here in a couple of months. Still the news comes as a shock, even to high-ranking Catholics.


CARDINAL DONALD WUERL, ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON: Not that long ago I was in Rome and the Holy Father made no indication at all, not that he would have, of this intention.

ARCHBISHOP TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK: I was very startled. I don't know what to say. I myself am waiting for information, for instruction.


BALDWIN: You heard the word he used, startling, startling news for the one billion Catholics around the world.

In fact, I want you to take a look at this with me. Did you know this? Brazil is the most populous Catholic country in the world at 134 million Catholics? Under that, you see Mexico, the Philippines, the United States, and then Italy here.

And if you look at this, joining me now from Washington is conservative Catholic author Raymond Arroyo. He's news director of Eternal World Television Network, and from New York, Father Tomas Del Valle-Reyes.

Father, welcome. And I want to begin with you.

With all the growth of the Catholic Church, specifically in the Latin world, should the next pope be Latino?

FATHER TOMAS DEL VALLE-REYES, CATHOLIC PRIEST: It's probably we because we have a few candidates, especially in Brazil. We have a few cardinals in Rio and also cardinals working right now in Rome. That's one of the possibilities. This country has 19 cardinals, going to the conclave. So one of them, a few of them are Latinos from Latin America, from Spain, but who knows?

BALDWIN: Who knows is right. Raymond Arroyo, to you. We've heard a lot of Catholics saying today that they respect, they admire the work of Benedict XVI saying he is a good Pope. But they are saying maybe it's time to move forward.

I want you to listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My grandparents and stuff, I feel -- I think of the whole church, like, a little bit differently than my generation does. And I feel like we could use somebody, maybe a little more younger that -- yes, has a -- the generation of a new perspective.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First of all, I was shocked. And absolutely pleasantly surprised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why pleasantly surprised?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I really think we have to look at our church and see how it should go, going forward.


BALDWIN: Raymond Arroyo, you heard the young woman saying maybe of a different generation, maybe younger.


BALDWIN: What do you think about that?

ARROYO: Well, I think Pope Benedict is clearly appraising and he said, look, I've search my conscience before God many times and I felt I could no longer continue this office. He felt he didn't have the physical strength, maybe the mental strength, who knows.

It seems to me there's some malady here, Brooke, whether it's of lethal diagnosis, who knows.

BALDWIN: We don't know.

ARROYO: But something is clearly impelling him to do this now. And he clearly believes a more vibrant Pope, a vigorous Pope, is needed. But let me caution everybody. That doesn't mean, and I think you're fooling yourself if you think that a new Pope is going to overturn established doctrine. If that's where people are going --

BALDWIN: No matter the age.

ARROYO: No matter the age. I mean, there is established doctrine. The Pope is sort of tethered to protect that doctrine of faith. This isn't a presidential election. You don't get a new Pope and suddenly, you know, all the rules change. It's just not the way it works. BALDWIN: It's a great -- it's a great point.

ARROYO: But no doubt there'll be a younger Pope and one I imagine who can communicate on the world stage in a way that Pope Benedict feels at this point he can't any longer.

BALDWIN: Father Tomas, I heard something interesting, this Catholic priest invoking the memory of Benedict's predecessor, John Paul II. Have a listen to this.


REV. EDWARD BECK, AUTHOR, "SOUL PROVIDER": And people said, look, if anyone should have resigned, it was he. Parkinson's, couldn't even get around. I think it is the image, the visual image of a man incapacitated. People say, well, how much is he really doing that? How much does he have his hands on the pulse of what's happening?


BALDWIN: There he was speaking to Chris Cuomo this morning.

Father, do you think -- just straight up do you think his successors might find wisdom in the notion of, you know, hanging it up early, maybe set a precedent here?

DEL VALLE-REYES: I agree with the -- with the quotations of the priest. We need a person, a leader, a real leader with good health, a wise man, continuing to train and I agreed with -- with Benedict XVI and he has few guideline (INAUDIBLE) resign two years ago in the -- in the interview -- very clear, if I don't have the health, spirituality, mentality, and everything, I will resign. And it's simple for us.

The doctrine is continuing to be the same doctrine. No matter if it's John Paul II, it's (INAUDIBLE). It's the same. And I think it's an excellent example for everybody, of the leader, especially the church continuing. It's much better. Resign now. That see the other John Paul II.

BALDWIN: Had Italian Popes, think of Polish, currently German. I mean, looking at just the statistics and the numbers from Brazil, imagine having a Pope who speaks Portuguese. It's all I can think about today.

Father Thomas Del Valle-Reyes and Raymond Arroyo, thank you, both. Appreciate it.

ARROYO: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Pope Benedict XVI is a man of firsts. Not only is he the first Pope in almost 600 years to leave -- pick up and leave to resign here, two months ago he joined the Twitter-verse, ushering in a Catholic Church for the digital age, with this tweet.

Quote, "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."

What else makes him special? Take a look. Here we go. The shoes. The red shoes, rocking his trademark red loafers. And Pope Benedict didn't even break a sweat as his security teams took down the so-called Pope jumpers. Look at this. Remember this? The guy hopping the barricade as the Popemobile rolled through the streets of Vatican City.

And then this woman in red, here, here she is lunging at the Pope at Christmas midnight mass. That was 2009. His brief but eventual tenure also saw him head to the Big Apple. Here he was, remember this Popemobile, this was April of 2008, parading down of all places Fifth Avenue.

And this one, he and U.S. President George Bush exchanging pleasantries during the visit. President Bush telling him, and I quote, "Your Eminence, you're looking good."

Let's go live to Ali Velshi here for a different angle of the Pope story, the Pope's pocketbook.

Hey, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brooke. Well, while the Pope is the spiritual head of 1.2 billion Catholics around the world, he also oversees the vast finances of the Holy See, as the office of the Pope is known, and the Vatican City, which is considered a sovereign state.

Now Pope Benedict initiated issued moves to make the Vatican more transparent after allegations of corruption, mismanagement even money laundering surfaced in Rome. But with his reign coming to this abrupt end, his legacy, Brooke, is going to be incomplete when it comes to questions about financial transparency.

Critics including Jeffrey Robinson who wrote the book "The Laundry Men" say that the whole thing has been window dressing.


JEFFREY ROBINSON, AUTHOR, THE LAUNDRYMEN: We know that the Vatican bank has assets of roughly at about $7.5 billion. That's not the point. It's not how much money it holds. It's what does it do with this money? Because it's not accountable to anybody. The idea of having the most secretive bank in the world means you can do the most secretive things in the world.


VELSHI: All right. So the biggest part of the Catholic Church financially is what you can see. The churches and the land on which they set. The Catholic Church is estimated to be the world's third biggest landowner, 177 million acres under its stewardship. Those churches collect money from the flock. Hundreds of millions of dollars every year in the U.S. alone, the exact amount, though, Brooke, is not released by the church. What we do know about the church are its public finances in Rome. And frankly, they don't even tell a fraction of the story.

Let's talk about Vatican City itself, which takes in money from tourists and visitors. The Vatican holds some of Europe's most important art work. In 2011, it took in $308 million in revenue. Those are the latest numbers we have. It spent more than that. It spent $326 million. The Holy See gets a big chunk of its revenues from the museums that take in about five million visitors a year.

Now the Pope's office also takes in contributions to fund charitable projects that the Pope designates. In 2011, the Pope received $66 million in those types of contributions. But the big money is how much the faithful contribute. And to figure that out is anybody's guess.


ROBINSON: I think it's fair to assume that the Catholic Church as a business is probably the richest business in the world because of land holdings, because of the art, because -- I mean, what price do you put on the Sistine Chapel?


VELSHI: It's a good question, Brooke. What price do you put on the Sistine Chapel and how much money actually comes into the church? It's very typical, Brooke, to not know that about religious organizations. So for all of those conspiracy theorists out there who think it's a particular peculiarity of the Catholic Church, it's not. Religious organizations tend to keep their finances pretty close to the vest -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK. And hey, Ali Velshi, the last time we spoke was in the wee hours Saturday morning. Can I just say you did a fantastic job? And I'm so glad you survived the punishing winds and rains --

VELSHI: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: -- and snow on the Cape.

VELSHI: Glad to be back in the warmth.


BALDWIN: Thank you. Ali Velshi, thank you so much today.

And now an outpouring of emotions and support for this former Navy SEAL sniper killed at a gun range in Texas. Chris Kyle completed four tours of duty in Iraq. Today, thousands showed up at public memorial to honor his service.

These are live pictures coming in from Dallas. Next, his wife plays an emotional tribute to her husband and fallen hero.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TAYA KYLE, CHRIS KYLE'S WIDOW: I stand before you, a broken woman, but I am now and always will be the wife of a man who's a warrior both on and off the battlefield.

Some people along the way have told Chris that through it all he was lucky I stayed with him. I'm standing before you now to set the record straight. Remember this, I am the one who is literally, in every sense of the word, blessed that Chris stayed with me.



BALDWIN: A Navy SEAL sniper is being remembered at a huge memorial today in Texas. By now you know his name, Chris Kyle. Perhaps the deadliest sniper in American military history. He was shot and killed allegedly by another Iraq war vet nine days ago. He wrote a best-selling book about his life as a sniper.

I want to take you inside this Dallas Cowboys stadium where thousands of people have been gathering. Randy Travis here paying tribute musically. But we have -- heard now from his widow. Remembering his life and what she's lost.


KYLE: I feel compelled to tell you that I am not a fan of people romanticizing their loved ones in death. I don't need to romanticize Chris because our reality is messy, passionate, full of every extreme emotion known to man, including fear, compassion, anger, pain, laughing so hard we doubled over and hugged it out, laughing when we were irritated with each other, and laughing when we were so in love it felt like someone hung the moon for only us.

All of it, the messy, painful, constantly changing, crazy ride was rolled up into the deepest most soul changing experience that only one man, Chris Kyle, could bring. Chris was all in, no matter what he did in life. He loved you, and I mean really loved you, he did it without judgment. One of my clearest memories I'll relate to you now in an attempt to explain how he put me and others in his life at ease.

The back story is that Chris and I fell in love quickly. He was like a kid in a candy store and jumped into loving me with both feet and no looking back. It made me feel like pure gold because I thought he was the most uniquely idealistic, fun, loving, intelligent, intuitive and sensitive man I had ever met.



BALDWIN: Thirty-one hundred people went from willing cruise passengers to trapped vacation survivors. A fire in the engine room of the Carnival Triumph left them and more than a thousand crew members stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. These are the photos from the Coast Guard whose vessel is tugging the Triumph to Progresso, Mexico, where Carnival will then fly passengers back to the U.S. and get them home.

Carnival officials say at no time did passengers lack electricity. The emergency generators kicked in. But -- here's the but -- relatives of those on board have a much different story and one of them is on the phone with me now from Weimar, Texas. Toby Barlow's wife Ann is on the Carnival Triumph.

Toby, welcome to you. Tell me last time you talked to your wife and what exactly did she tell you?

TOBY BARLOW, HUSBAND OF STRANDED CRUISE PASSENGER: I talked to her yesterday at 5:41. She just basically made it short and quick. The other ship was alongside of us so we could probably call her right now. She said basically they're -- excuse me, they're just a little scared, just basically running on backup generators that they were able to contain the fire and that basically that most of the water, you know, the water systems on the boat, they weren't usable.

But they were able -- they saw it shooting water and that the other ship was close by next to them, and basically we had two phone calls yesterday from Carnival, just kind of letting us know, but most of us have just kind of talked to each other and kind of filled in the pieces that we've heard from, you know, our significant others.

BALDWIN: So what's been the most frustrating part about this whole thing for her? Has it been, like, as she is saying, although Carnival sort of says differently, the lack of water, the lack of sewage issues, and we'll leave it there, or the lack of communication from the cruise line?

BARLOW: I think it is pretty much the lack of communication because, you know, we really don't know what's going on. We had two automated phone messes. One -- early yesterday afternoon, that was -- that was a fire on the ship. And that it was contained. There were no injured. And then it rattled off like two fast numbers. And then that was it. It just hung up.

And then we had another phone call later on that afternoon to basically let us know what the plan of action was as far as towing them to Progresso. And now we've kind of found out that there's I think four tug boats there and then the Coast Guard is there. So that's comforting to know.

BALDWIN: Yes. They're being towed right now from what I can understand. So you get your wife back in a couple of days.

But, Toby, final question, I know -- you know, Carnival is providing this make good, that they plan to reimburse your wife for the fare. I hear you laughing. Plus, you know, credit her for another cruise. I'm going to guess at the laughing she will not be cruising in the future?

BARLOW: I don't think so. I think -- I think the consensus among myself and the other two husbands is just get them home. We don't care about money backs and guarantees. Just get them home, get them home safe, and that's just the biggest concern. We don't really care about anything else. Just -- like I said, just get them home. Hopefully for Valentine's Day at least.

BALDWIN: Oh, such the romantic, Toby Barlow. Thank you so much for calling in. We wish your wife and your other friends' wife best travels simply getting home and maybe not cruising -- there he goes -- in the future.

Folks from north to south dealing with some wild weather. More than three feet of snow in Connecticut. One town has the dubious honor of having the 40 inches. And a major tornado in Mississippi.

Coming up next, we're taking you to the areas hardest hit by these storms.


BALDWIN: Let's talk now about some of this crazy weather we've experienced here. Fifteen tornadoes. Look at this. Can you imagine looking out your window and seeing this? Fifteen tornadoes have flattened homes in seven Mississippi counties. This is iReport shows the size of the biggest one as it left this trail of destruction in Hattiesburg. More than 60 injuries have bee reported across that state.

And the tornadoes happening down south, just as huge, huge blizzards, slamming the northeast. This, shovel central. This is Hamden, Connecticut. One of our iReporters saying streets there have been transformed into white soft blankets of snow.

And we mentioned the 40-inch mark. We're waiting to see. Where in the northeast would we get the 40-inch record breaking snowfall. It is Hamden, Connecticut. Some folks there say they can't even find their cars. Imagine that.

The music industry's biggest night is over and the band Fun. walked away as one of the big winners.

If the band doesn't sound familiar, it should. I got -- a chance to talk to them about a year ago, before their rise to stardom, before they collected a single Grammy trophy.

Fun period revealed their secret behind the success, next.


BALDWIN: How about a little music on a Monday for you today? Let's talk Grammy Awards. I was on Twitter right there with you as we were watching the show together. A couple of my highlights, Justin Timberlake is back. Brought out Jay-Z there on stage. Love the black and white there. Also loved Levon Helm tribute at the very end. Elton John, Mumford and Sons performing together, and the Lumineers performing "Ho Hey." And if you watch the show enough, you know I'm a bit of a music geek, having interviewed several of the bands who were nominated and then won last night including these guys.

Fun., winners for Best New Artist and Song of the Year, "We Are Young." And I chatted with the band last year right around springtime in Austin, Texas, at South by Southwest. We talked about their Grammy nominated album "Some Nights" and how they get their funky and electric sound. And they will also remind you as they did quickly with me here, it's not just Fun, it's Fun period.


BALDWIN: This second album "Some Nights," it's like something happened and, I mean, what was the magic ingredient do you think?

NATE RUESS, LEAD SINGER, FUN.: I think it was just changing it up a little bit. It was -- the band had kind of a retro vibe in the past and I think that we wanted to embrace music that's happening in the future but still hold on to those things that we love. Our parents' -- like, our parents' albums, and like that classic style of song writing but incorporating so many amazing things in modern music.

BALDWIN: Like electronic, hugely influenced by hip-hop. Right?


BALDWIN: And then also like '70s pop. Is that all like an accumulation of all of your musical interests? How did that all merging happened?

RUESS: I was trying all these different, like, things that I thought maybe I -- we could incorporate to make the album feel a little more progressive but eventually we just started listening to a lot of hip-hop and falling in love with that style.


BALDWIN: They were great. By the way, I said well, why Fun period? And they said because fun is already taken.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. Let's take you to Washington and Wolf Blitzer.

Hey, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much.