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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 April, 2005, 21:47 GMT 22:47 UK
Reporters' log: Mourning the Pope

Reading of Pope's death in newspapers outside the Vatican
Pilgrims gathered outside the Vatican read of the Pope's death

Following the death of Pope John Paul II, thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's square. Services of remembrance are taking place at Catholic churches throughout the world too.

BBC correspondents report on reaction from across the globe.


Sunday 3 April

Stephen Gibbs : Havana, Cuba : 2158GMT

Cuba has begun three days of national mourning to mark the death of John Paul the Second. Flags in the communist state, which until 1992 was officially atheist, are being flown at half-mast.

Play-offs in the national baseball league have been postponed and many bars are closed. President Fidel Castro has sent a letter of condolence to the Vatican in which he recalled his fond memories of the visit the Pope made to Cuba in 1998.

Steve Kingstone : Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1944GMT

Sao Paulo Cathedral holds eight-thousand people. It was packed as a mass in memory of the Pope began. An auxiliary bishop called John Paul II "the people's Pope", the Pope of the poor and, above all, a Pope of the family. This was a reference to his strict adherence to family values, which often brought him into conflict with more liberal elements of Brazilian society, especially the gay community and those promoting the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV.

Notably absent from the service was the Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who was said to be sick with flu. The cardinal has been spoken of as a possible successor to John Paul II, should the next Pope come from the developing world.

Latin America is home to nearly half the world's Catholics. The Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has said a Pope from this region would have a deeper understanding of its social problems.

Jill McGivering : Rome, Italy : 1825GMT

Rome is already racing to keep up with fast-growing demand. In St Peter's Square, banks of new stands are being built for the world's media.

Many surrounding roads have been closed to traffic. And police and ambulance workers are an increasingly visible presence.

Sports grounds are being turned into makeshift shelters where visitors can stay overnight. Hotels and guesthouses are already full.

Jennifer Glasse : Sao Vicente, Cape Verde : 1715GMT

The people of Cape Verde say Pope John Paul II was the most influential and important international figure to have ever visited this group of islands about 500km off the coast of Senegal in West Africa.

They say his choice to come helped support and unify an already devout Catholic community.

Here on Sao Vicente, the giant cross constructed for the Pope's Mass stands on a hill overlooking the main port, in commemoration of a papal visit most Cape Verdeans remember - and now of a pope they mourn.

Emma Jane Kirby : Rome, Italy : 1628GMT

Many expected the number of gatherers in St Peter's Square to dwindle tonight, but thousands continue to arrive.

Two million more are expected over the next four days.

Campsites have been set up around Rome and the Olympic Stadium has been made into a makeshift camp for those without accommodation.

Preparations are also under way for the massive security operation involved with the arrival of so many heads of state.

Simon Lister : Rome, Italy : 1602GMT

Outside the Vatican they are building for the Pope's funeral with scaffolding being erected.

Inside the Vatican they are building for the Church's future with more cardinals arriving every hour.

Amongst the people gathered in St Peter's Square it appears as though some of the grief of last night has been replaced by expectation for the events of the week ahead.

James Helm : Dublin, Ireland : 1558GMT

There had been tentative plans for Pope John Paul to visit Ireland later this year.

In recent days many here have recalled the extraordinary reaction to his visit back in 1979, only his third as Pope.

Then vast crowds attended an outdoor mass in Dublin and others elsewhere, and he made an emotional plea for peace in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, who was amongst those who attended the mass in Dublin in 1979, described the Pope as 'a towering figure in the story of our time'.

A full Requiem Mass for Pope John Paul will be held in Dublin on Tuesday.

Duncan Kennedy : Rome, Italy : 1457GMT

The Vatican has released details from the Pope's death certificate.

The official cause of the Pope's death was septic shock and irreversible heart failure.

Doctors used an electrocardiograph machine for twenty minutes before pronouncing him dead.

James Simpson : Krakow, Poland : 1410GMT

The Pope single-handedly created this country. It is what it is today, as a wealthy nation in the EU, because of having a Polish Pope.

On a wider scale, amongst the critics of the war on Iraq he was the most prominent.

He was a great spokesman against the notion that people were just numbers and it was his great moral certitude that was behind that.

Anna Borzello : Lagos, Nigeria : 1357GMT

Thousands of people walked through the streets of central Lagos to commemorate the life of Pope John Paul II.

The bells tolled and worshippers carried candles to honour a man many referred to as their father.

One elderly woman had brought along a picture of herself kneeling before the Pope. "He loved everybody," she said.

"I don't just think he cared about Africa - I know he did."

Pope John Paul twice visited Nigeria. Many in the crowd spoke of his goodness and of his concern for the underdog.

And in a country where Muslim-Christian conflict has claimed thousands of lives, he will be remembered for trying to unite different faiths.

Church leaders say they will continue to hold special services dedicated to the Pope over the coming days.

Jane Little : Rome, Italy : 1301GMT

Officials have been filing past the body of Pope John Paul II, which is lying on display in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

The event was broadcast live on Italian state television.

Cardinals paid their personal respects in full view of the television cameras, which showed the first images of the deceased Pope.

He was lying on a raised platform, wearing a crimson robe and a white mitre on his head.

The Cardinals, many of whom were long term friends of the Pope, prayed over his body, while Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and other dignitaries, stood silently by. It was a sombre, intimate occasion.

On Monday the Pope's body will be moved to St. Peter's Basilica, where tens of thousands will file past his open casket over the next few days.

Sarah Toms : Manila, Philippines : 1237GMT

Thousands of Filipinos gathered at the four hundred year old Manila Cathedral for prayers and memories of the Pope.

Philippine President, Gloria Arroyo, sat with her daughter in one of the front pews. The former presidents, Videl Ramos and Corazon Aquino, were also there.

But the famous church was packed mostly with ordinary Filipinos, including dozens of nuns.

The Archbishop of Manila, Gaudencio Rosales reminded the crowd that John Paul attracted five million Filipinos when he celebrated mass in a Manila park in 1995.

Church leaders here followed the Pope's lead and marshalled huge protests that toppled President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and President Joseph Astrada in 2001.

The Pontiff was a source of strength of this country while he was alive, and millions are in mourning at his death.

Ray Furlong : Krakow, Poland : 1204GMT

It was standing room only as Poles turned out to mourn the passing of their favourite son at the Dominican church.

Crowds are also gathering at the Archbishop's Palace where there are piles of flowers and cardboard placards.

One reads "Dear God, please don't take John Paul away, we love him".

Mourning is nationwide with football matches and concerts cancelled and theatres and cinemas closed.

Badges are being handed out on the streets of Krakow showing the city's coat of arms wearing a black sash.

John Leyne : Amman, Jordan : 1151GMT

The Pope's death is being reported and mourned across the Muslim world.

Amongst those to offer their condolences are the President of Iran - a country that is ninety-nine per cent Muslim - and one of the senior Imams in Lebanon, Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.

In the Arab and the Muslim world, the Pope has been remembered above all for his support for the rights of Palestinians. His opposition to the war in Iraq won him widespread support amongst Muslims.

But Pope John Paul is also praised for his work to promote dialogue between the different faiths.

He was the first Pope to pay an official visit a mosque. In the year 2000, the Pope entered a mosque in the Syrian capital Damascus. (The mosque also contains the tomb of the Christian saint John the Baptist).

A leading cleric in Malaysia said he hoped Pope John Paul's successor would follow in his footsteps to increase understanding between Muslims and Christians.

David Willey : Rome, Italy : 1128GMT

Cardinal Angelo Sodano has referred to the Pope as "John Paul the Great", implying that he may already be considered to be a saint.

He then read the words that had been written by the Pope for today's mass during this morning's service.

The Pope's body has been taken to the Vatican where he lies in state but the public will not be able to pay their respects tomorrow when he is taken to the St Peter's Basilica.

Colin Blane : Edinburgh, Scotland : 1109GMT

In Scotland there are mixed feelings about the passing of the Pope, sadness at his passing but relief that his suffering is over.

There are normal church services going on this morning, including one I was at where there were baptisms carried out.

At the mass the children had the death explained to them. They were told that although it is a sad time they should be happy that he was journeying from this life to the next.

Politicians from all parties have paid tribute and Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell described him as a man of humility and compassion.

The Pope did visit here in 1982, an occasion I covered as a young reporter. I remember trying to decide where to stand and decided to stand near the children. Sure enough, he came over to them.

There will be a service by Cardinal Keith O'Brien today and a commemoration tomorrow evening at Edinburgh Cathedral that will be attended by political and religious leaders.

Jon Sopel : Vatican City, Italy : 1102GMT

We are seeing the Pope now lying in state in the Vatican. He is dressed in red robes and has a crook resting along side.

Cardinals with their red caps, bishops in pink robes and members of the Vatican civil service are now passing the Pope's body and paying their respects.

Members of the public will be able to file past the Pope's body and say farewell to him in coming days.

Lucy Wilkins : Westminster Cathedral, London : 1050GMT

The requiem Mass has ended with a solemn procession by the Cardinal, 14 red robed archbishops, bishops and senior priests through Westminster Cathedral.

The church was filled to capacity. As more than 3,000 people gathered inside for the Mass, 1,500 more listened to the hour long service outside in the courtyard.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor called Pope John Paul II "a great man, a great Christian, and a great Pope."

It was the first of nine masses traditionally said for the repose of the soul of a Pope.

Barbara Plett : Jerusalem, Israel : 0938GMT

Christians are holding special prayer services in Bethlehem and Nazareth to commemorate the Pope's death.

He was determined to visit such biblical sites as part of a personal pilgrimage five years ago.

But both Israelis and Palestinians remember his efforts to reach out to them during his landmark trip.

For Israeli Jews he was the true hero of Christian and Jewish reconciliation, praying at their holy sites and apologising for Christian sins against the Jews.

The Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, called the Pope a friend of the Jewish people.

Israel's Chief Rabbi said his death was a great loss to humanity.

Palestinians saw the Pope as a supporter of their cause, noting his opposition to Israel's occupation of their land and his call for justice, during a visit to a refugee camp.

The Palestinian President, Mahmud Abbas, praised the Pope as a man devoted to freedom and peace.

The Islamic movement, Hamas, said it remembered his statements on the rights of the Palestinians.

Kevin Connolly : Armagh, Northern Ireland : 0928GMT

The normal Sunday masses have become masses of mourning and reflection, there is a sombre mood here.

Combination feelings, grief and loss on one hand and a sense of relief that there has been a release of suffering for the Pope.

There is a spectrum of reaction here, it would be foolish to deny that there are Protestants who are immensely hostile to the Papacy, to the Catholic church. As I drove here this morning I saw in one loyalist area fresh graffiti rather taunting about the Pope.

You do have that aspect within the Protestant community here but there are many more responsible figures in the Protestant community, leaders within the Protestant church who have been expressing their condolences and sympathy.

There is a much greater sense of ecumenism here now than ever before and part of that came from the Pope's own deep desire to see the Christian churches coming together.

Jane Little : Rome, Italy : 0914GMT

St. Peter's Square is still filling up with thousands of people who've come to pray for the soul of the deceased Pope.

At the start of the mass, white robed Cardinals filed in solemn procession on to the steps of the Basilica, overlooking the vast numbers of faithful who've gathered from all over the world.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano is leading the Requiem Mass, the first of many over the coming days.

He was the Vatican's Secretary of State or Prime Minister, but lost his job, along with nearly top officials, on the death of Pope John Paul.

James Helm : Dublin, Ireland : 0843GMT

Across Ireland today, as in the last few days, church congregations will be much larger than usual, as prayers are said for Pope John Paul. A special mass is being celebrated at Dublin's main Roman Catholic cathedral, where, two days ago, large crowds also gathered.

The mood is one of sadness, as well as fond remembrance. The Irish President, Mary McAleese, called Pope John Paul 'a pillar of modern life'. Many here have been speaking of their own memories of the Papal visit to Ireland in 1979.

Then the Pope called for an end to violence in Northern Ireland, making an emotional plea for those involved to put down their weapons.

In a young, and still predominantly Catholic country, a large section of the population have known no other Pope. The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, described Pope John Paul as 'a towering figure in the story of our time'.

Lucy Wilkins : Westminster Cathedral, London : 0826GMT

Hundreds of Catholics have gathered at Westminster Cathedral for the regular early morning Sunday mass, but thousands more are expected to fill the 3,000 seat church for the requiem mass led by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor in an hours time.

A handful of bouquets have been laid at the steps of the altar, near a large photo of a smiling, waving Pope.

Instead of closing overnight the cathedral doors have been open for the public continuously, since the announcement of the Pope's death.

A steady stream of people is arriving as crowd barriers are positioned and public address speakers tested in the courtyard.

Jill McGivering : Vatican City, Rome : 0740GMT

There's a gentleness about St Peter's Square this morning as thousands of people stand quietly together here in the soft morning light.

The candles and portraits of the Pope strewn across the cobblestones are physical reminders of the emotional scenes we saw through the night when the crowd swelled to about a hundred thousand. Then the mood was a mixture of shock and sadness.

People of all ages and all faiths tried to come to terms with the end of the longest papacy in living memory. Many young people said this was the only Pope they'd ever known. Not everyone we spoke to supported his staunchly conservative social views. But there was agreement on his warmth and charisma.

Today promises to be a day of reflection, starting with a special open air mass in the square and, later, prayer services. After the initial shock, many here are coming simply to say goodbye.

Sarah Toms : Manila, Philippines : 0724GMT

The President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, has declared a period of national mourning starting on Monday, until the Pope is laid to rest.

Across the nation government offices have been instructed to fly the Philippine flag at half mast. The Philippines shared a close bond with the Pontiff, strictly adhering to his policies against abortion, contraception and divorce.

He visited the country twice, drawing a crowd of more than five million in 1995. Seen as an inspiration while he was alive, Filipinos are remembering his legacy as they mourn his death.

David Willey : Rome, Italy : 0711GMT

It's a strange feeling suddenly to have a rudderless Vatican, a church without a Pope.

Only a week ago on Easter Sunday we saw a very sick, completely silent Pope, struggling and failing to speak from his window high above St Peter's Square. Now he lies dead inside the apostolic palace.

Later today the first of a series of requiem masses for the repose of his soul will be celebrated before a huge congregation of people from all nationalities and walks of life.

They've spent the night praying and remembering a man who they feel sure will go down in history as one of the great popes of all time. Pope John Paul died surrounded by his closest friends and collaborators from his native Poland.

One of the priests present at his death bed said his last word was a whispered amen.

Robert Pigott : London : 0651GMT

Preparations are being made for the Pope's funeral now ahead of the cardinals meeting to choose a new pope.

There will be intense activity in the Vatican during the next 15 to 20 days before the conclave begins to elect a successor.

Cardinals will be thinking about who there first choice and even their second choice will be for this role.

It was a huge surprise when John Paul II was elected, a Polish priest from behind the Iron Curtain.

This opened the way for lots of exciting possibilities, including a pope from Africa or from Latin America.

Barbara Plett : Jerusalem : 0632GMT

The big mass here to remember the Pope will be held here during the week and it will be open not just to Catholics but to anyone who wants to attend and pay their respects.

There will be a procession today to the Garden of Gethsemane, to remember him and there will be a special mass in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born and in Nazareth where Jesus is believed to have grown up.

One of the Pope's dreams he had was to visit the holy sites in Jerusalem and that dream came true for him in 2000 during his visit.

He was well known for calling on both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to end the violence here and to work for peace.

Ray Furlong : Krakow, Poland : 0548GMT

Large crowds turned out at morning masses in Krakow to hear prayers for the pope. His death is being mourned with special intensity in the city where he spent almost his entire adult life before being elected pope in 1978.

All night long, vigils were held at churches across the city. Crowds came to pray, sing and reflect at the archbishop's palace, the focal point for mourning.

The small park opposite the palace is now filled with candles and bouquets of flowers are piled up in the gateway. Many people here feel they've lost more than a pope. John Paul II was a national hero respected for his principled stand against communism and regarded as a moral authority.

Jill McGivering : Vatican City, Rome : 0515GMT

Through the night, workmen rushed to build stands for the world's media. Huge crowds will gather again this morning for a special open air mass. The influx of pilgrims, many from Poland, the Pope's homeland, is expected to build steadily as the days pass.

Many will come to pay their final respects to the Pope when his body is moved to St Peter's to lie in state there. Yet more will come for the funeral, possibly on Thursday.

Rome may struggle to cope. Hotels are already fully booked. Several sports grounds are now being commandeered to house new arrivals. Pope John Paul II, sometimes controversial, always charismatic, redefined the papacy. Now the world is flocking to Rome to say goodbye.

June Kelly : Westminster Cathedral, London : 0512GMT

Sunday is day when Catholics traditionally gather and today the catholic family will gather to remember their Holy Father.

Westminster Cathedral stayed open all night to allow people to come and pray and reflect on the passing of John Paul II.

The normal 1030 mass here has been turned into a requiem mass for the Pope. It is open to everyone but I think people will have to get here early to get a seat. This is a very busy church and a focus for Catholics from all over the capital.

Today is a day for the faithful here at Westminster Cathedral.

Dermot Murnaghan : Vatican City, Rome : 05025GMT

I'm overlooking St Peter's Square in Rome where all night people have been reflecting on the life of a much loved spiritual leader. Pilgrims are continuing to arrive to pay their respects.

Adam Easton : Krakow, Poland : 0445GMT

Thousands of people have been gathering outside the Pope's old home, the archbishop's palace, to say goodbye. All eyes were focused on the Pope's window, where Karol Wojtyla used to speak to the people of his beloved Krakow.

Many people could not hold back the tears. Couples supported each other and listened in silent contemplation to the mass broadcast on loud speakers. Small candles flickered in the darkness in front of the floral tributes and cards. One read: "We love you Holy Father, we are with you always." The writer, Adam Schoskievitch, summed up what many felt.

Francis Markus : Shanghai, China : 0441GMT

China's terse reporting of what for the rest of the world is the top news story is likely to set the tone for a muted reaction to the pontiff's death, in public at least. Notices of the pope's death were posted in at least some state sanctioned Catholic churches, with church officials saying that prayers were said and special masses were planned later.

But for China, the pope's status is a sensitive issue. Politically, China's state-backed Catholic church doesn't recognise the Vatican's authority, although it regards the pope as a spiritual leader while the Holy See still has diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Michael Peschardt : Sydney, Australia : 0417GMT

The Prime Minister and politicians from all political parties in Australia have been paying tribute the Pope John Paul II. The news came through here very early in the morning and throughout the day thousands of people have been gathering at the Catholic cathedral, St Mary's, to pay their respects.

Sarah Toms : Manila, Philippines : 0333GMT

Prayers of hope in the Philippines turn to sorrow as Filipinos awoke to the news of the pope's death. The rich and the poor of this country of 65 million Catholics is united in grief. Both at home and in public at special masses and candlelit vigils, thousands of Filipinos shed tears for the pope.

Many who refused to give up hope even near the very end were shocked and would not believe the news. President Gloria Arroyo led the nation in prayer. She expressed a deep sense of grief and loss. The country has embraced the pontiff's policies against abortion, contraception, divorce and homosexuality.

At early morning mass people were finding out about the death and some were too choked with emotion to talk about it. Some had been praying for a miracle right to the very end.

Stephen Gibbs : Havana, Cuba : 0135GMT

Cuba appears to be making it clear that its atheist past is well behind it as it pays its respects to John Paul II. News of his death led the main evening news.

Along with three days of mourning, the national flag is to be flown at half-mast.

The Cuban government, once criticised for persecuting Catholics, is offering its condolences to believers around the world. It also says it will be sending a high level delegation to the Pope's funeral.

The late Pope is viewed with real affection by many Cubans and not just the 5% of the population who are practising Catholics. When he came here in 1998, hundreds of thousands flocked to see him. His visit resulted in Christmas being reinstated as an official national holiday.

Steve Kingstone : Sao Paulo : 0050GMT

News of the Pope's death filtered through just as prayers were being said for him at a mass in Sao Paulo cathedral.

"Has this been confirmed?" the archbishop asked reporters as the service ended.

He then called John Paul II a great pope, one of the greatest ever, a man who felt the pain of the world's poor.

In a statement, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the pope's three visits to Brazil would be remembered with great emotion. He praised the pontiff's unshakeable determination in the face of physical suffering.

John Paul II was not universally loved here. Some detested his strict stance on abortion and homosexuality. Others say he was wrong to distance the church from politics during Latin America's years of military dictatorship.

But as the bells of Sao Paulo cathedral sound the end of this pontificate, the overwhelming feeling is one of sadness, as the world's largest Catholic population grieves.





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