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tv   Pope The Most Powerful Man in History  CNN  March 11, 2018 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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we must labor on. >> they've made a lot more enemies than friends. some of those enemies are truly dangerous. >> with the kennedys, it's always tragedy and triumph mixed together. ♪ >> one of the most powerful men on earth holds a position that has existed for nearly 2,000 years. as the world changes and faith evolves, his authority remains. what began with one apostle has become 1.2 billion followers under one man. he's the head of the catholic church, the pope. and this is his path to power. ♪
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♪ >> in this episode, never before seen artifacts from the earliest days of christianity show how a small group of rebels turn an illegal movement into the largest religion on the planet. of how, against all odds, the papacy endures.
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[ bells ringing ] ♪ >> this is something that has never happened before. the vatican this morning publicly displayed what's believed to be bone fragments from st. peter, an apostle of jesus christ, and the world's first pope. >> pope francis is the 266th leader of the catholic church. for the last 2,000 years, despite an ever-changing world, catholics have looked to the pope as a beacon of faith, morality, and divine guidance. but who is this figure that means so much to so many? and how did he come to become one of the most powerful men on
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earth? >> people look to the pope to have something to say on almost everything. >> he transcends the catholic church. >> i don't think there's any other religious figure that people recognize as much as they recognize the pope. >> but before the pope had the ear of 1.2 billion followers worldwide, he was a philosopher, a leader of an underground movement. and an outlaw. >> peter was one of the 12 apostles. he has walked with jesus essentially. so he's an important figure for that reason alone. >> when the apostles go fishing in galilee, he is told, you are peter, which means rock.
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and on this rock i will build my church and i will give to you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. >> and jesus christ said to peter, who do you say i am? and peter said, tur christ, the son of xwgod. >> peter voiced the confession and becomes the symbol of the unwavering faith that jesus is the son of god, which is then the center of the christian church. >> though the word pope is not used for hundreds of years, the foundation of the sacred office is entwined in peter's legacy. >> the pope's likely inheritance of the apostolic generation. >> it's this idea of the papacy being the rock, a source of permanence in an age of anxiety that people know is steady. >> peter preaches that jesus christ died for the sins of man
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and accepting that truth is the key to salvation. others teach different variations of that message, but regardless of interpretation, in the first century, any follower of christ is seen as a threat to the roman emperor and hunted for his beliefs. >> when you think about the beginning of the christian movement, it's astonishing that it went anywhere. people are being arrested, tortured, killed in public. you see competition between different disciples, different versions of the message of jesus. >> all of christ's followers spread throughout the mediterranean preaching his message. but the apostles are the men who walked with jesus himself. >> they were all of these different cities that had healthy churches in them. but the only one that had an
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apostle at its head is the church in rome, which is where peter was centered. >> rome is a giant empire, if you're a christian, you're saying you believe in a man, jesus, who is the king above all kings and the roman king and you are putting yourself in opposition to the roman empire. that becomes a really dangerous situation for early christians. >> despite the dangers facing christians in rome, peter holds secret gatherings where he preaches the word of christ. >> rome is a society which is 75% to 80% slaves. slaves are not human. they can't marry. they can be bought and sold. they can be whipped and rape. so suddenly there's a person saying you are a person of dignity, created in the image of god and that makes you worthwhile. so that's part of the power of this christian movement. >> christ's message strikes a
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chord with the most downtrodden members of roman society. and peter's meetings become more and more popular. inevitably, he catches the eye of one of the cruellest and most sadistic rulers in roman history, emperor nero. in the summer of 64 a.d., a raging fire burns rome for six days, destroying 2/3 of the city. >> people said nero started the fire to advance his own building projects. >> some of rome needed to catch on fire to build the temples of things he wanted to honor himself. >> rumors that nero started the fire himself begin to fly. and he needs a scapegoat. >> people are already asking a lot of questions about his
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sanity, his capacity to rule and so on. he looks around for a bunch of people that other people don't like. >> the most convenient people to blame it on were the christians. >> nero says, these are the people who are the problem. they the ones who set the place on fire. let's do terrible things to them. >> nero orders his soldiers to round up as many christians as they can find. >> nero had them hung to poles and burned alive in his gardens. he had some of them torn up by wild animals. >> it isn't long before peter is swept up in the raids. he's convicted of insurrection and sentenced to die on the cross. >> he's crucified upside down, which is a really horrible way
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to die. he says that he does not want to die the same way his lord and savior dies. he wants to die upside down because he's not worthy to die the same way jesus died. >> peter's death is a devastating loss to the early christian community. but dying in the name of his god makes him a martyr, and secures his legacy as the first true leader of the church that will one day become the most powerful force on the planet. history names peter the first pope. mitzi: psoriatic arthritis tries to get in my way? watch me. ( ♪ ) mike: i've tried lots of things for my joint pain. now? watch me. ( ♪ )
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after peter's violent death, christians realized they must organize their movement if they have any hope of survival this the face of roman tyranny. >> they thought rather like the american revolutionaries, as one of them said, we all have to hang together, or we shall hang separately. >> they created an agreement with a set of rules. >> in jerusalem lives the 2,000-year-old document that outlines the first cohesive guidelines of christianity. it's called the dedicay. >> this presents the information
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of the church in its primitive state. >> this sacred test was lost until 1883, when a greek transhaitian frtran translation from the 11th century was found. out of fear of theft or desecration, it's never before been seen on camera, until now. >> you don't have a bible back then. how do you transmit the faith? how do you tell them how to behave? how do you tell them what to do in a service? this does all of that for you. >> but outlining the rules is only the first step. christians also need an infrastructure to enforce those behaviors. >> we tend to think about christianity as being all of these basilicas around the world. but before that, what you had were house churches. and if you had a series of small house churches, you needed
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somebody to be over that. >> christians were trying to sep up an organized community, so people would recognize who the members oh of that church were. a model of the roman army. >> bishop of means the most senior church in that particular city. >> because rome is the capital and the center of the empire, the bishop of rome becomes the leader of the other bishops. a position that will eventually become known as pope. the 200 years after peter's crucifixion, bishops and their followers continued to be persecuted and executed by roman emperors. until an unlikely hero emerges. >> constantine was a great military commander. when it was his turn to become a junior emperor, he decided to
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fight his competition. >> constantine, the pagan commander of rome's western army, declares war on the commander of the east to decide who will be sole emperor of rome. on the day before the battle, he has a startling vision. >> he looks up and he sees the sign of the cross. >> and he thought it was a promise from jesus that he would win the battle. >> constantine does win the battle, and the new emperor is forever changed by his vision. >> he decides to be a christian. >> one of his first official acts as the first christian emperor of rome is to issue the edict of milan. this not only makes christianity legal, but favored.
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>> this is the big one. for the first time, a roman emperor decided to ally with the church. that meant the whole of the known world was at the disposal of the church. >> as constantine moves christianity from outlaw to exalted, church and state become intertwined. >> he saw in christianity a way to unite the empire. a new ideology that would give everybody the same god, the same moral values. >> constantine, by legalizing christianity, opened up a space where the bishop of rome could become a permanent fixture on the spiritual and political scene. >> what constantine did is take the bishops who had been persecuted and make them his agent. he treated them like members of his administration. so now he would take the bishop of egypt and the bishop of jerusalem and athens and state power would go through them.
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>> bishops become important people in the local community. if people have disputes with each other, they are as likely to go to a bishop to get it sorted out. >> you had to go to him to get the food supply. that made him enormously wealthy and influential. >> constantine gives romans a political and financial incentive to convert to christianity. he gives christians tax breaks and makes churches tax exempt. >> constantine is the reason why churches are now in the u.s. tax free spiti entities. >> from the time of constantine, the church had been the sxwral l -- ally of the emperor. there was no feeling that there should be a separation between church and state. church and state worked together. >> to honor his new-found faith,
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constantine commissioned spectacular building projects in christ's name throughout the empire. among the most famous of them, the church of the holy speepulce in jerusalem. >> it's one of the holiest places in christiandom. the slab on the floor is the place they say jesus was buried. >> but almost as soon as christians were free from roman persecution, they begin fighting with each other. >> the biggest problem was doctrine. in some people's eyes, jesus was born of a woman, he can't be divine. there's big questions whether is jesus human, divine, both? >> you would think this is hair splitting difference here, but some people were willing to kill you for that. so christians willing to kill other christians for those
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differences. >> to unite the emperor, he must father his bishops under one church, or risk having the christian empire he's built come crashing down. where you will find great deals on award-winning suvs, that are sure to make you smile. with over 40 standard features and with america's best bumper-to-bumper transferable limited warranty. during the volkswagen spring sales event you can't help, but smile. do you know them? uh-uh. do you know them? uh-uh. it's the volkswagen "smile, it's spring" sales event. during the volkswagen "smile, it's spring" sales event you can get $1000 bonus on new 2018 atlas or tiguan models. were great at being human.
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gone from an outlawed sect to the ruling force of the western world. >> constantine was both the head of the state and the head of the church. he was still a roman, and in the old roman religion, the emperor was the chief priest. constantine definitely took that approach to his faith rather than what we would now think of as more of a separation of powers. >> despite christianity's new political advantage, after centuries of being persecuted for not believing in the roman gods, christians are now killing each other in disputes over church doctrine. >> constantine needed a way to bind this empire together. he conquered it, but it was crumbling. >> he was angry, and he said look, these things we're quarrelling about are trivial. i stopped the persecutions, you should be grateful. so he called the council to unify the church.
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>> the council of nicea is the first time you bring all of the bishops together to have them start to talk to each other. >> council marks the first meeting of senior church leaders, the foundation of the pope's college of cardinals today. >> the bishops were commissioned to write what a christian should believe. >> constantine gets the bishop to agree on one statement of faith, still used to unify christians today. >> the creed says we believe in jesus christ, maker of heaven and earth, and the counsel decides that jesus is fully human and divine. >> if you sign it, you're a christian and part of it. if you don't, you're ex-communicated, you're out and will probably go to hell. so this became the battle cry for catholics throughout the world.
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>> with the church unified after nicea, constantine looks to further stabilize the foundation of his empire. he establishes a second hub of church power in the east and names the new capital after himself, and calls it constantinople. >> there's a back and forth between rome and constantinople. >> the christians in the east look at the christians in the west as barbarians. they would say that christians in the west baptized their children in wolf saliva. christians in the west looked at christians in the east as not strong. >> the hierarchy of bishops had been working well.
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but now with constantinople acting as a capital, there's a second bishop that believes he should be in charge. >> there were disputes. each saw himself as a very powerful leader, and each one was competing with the others for authority. >> despite constantine's best efforts to unify his empire under one church, the east and west remain at odds. seven years after the council of nicea, constantine dies, leaving the church still divided and rome without a strong military leader. for over 100 years following constantine's death, rome is under attack from pagan barbarians to the north.
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after a series of invasions and bloody clashes, the barbarians overthrow the last emperor of rome. the eternal city, once home to 2 million people, is reduced to less than 30,000. once the political and spiritual center of the empire, rome is now almost abandoned and stays that way for nearly 200 years. >> rome in the 6th century was muddier and messier and perhaps less efficiently governed than if it had been in the time of constantine. >> rome is not a good place to live. it's very dangerous. the standard of living is very low. >> rome was virtually gone. the church's center was in
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constantinople. >> as rome falls and constantinople flourishes, much of the church's terminology becomes greek instead of latin. the bishop becomes known as papas, or pope. during this period of barbarian invasions, there is no centralized government left in rome. the church is the only institution capable of addressing the needs of its suffering community. >> this is a time when the pope is not just the head of the church but the ruler of rome. >> the people of rome depended on the church as a state, not as a church that oversaw the relationship between god and man but as a church that oversaw food, water, safety. >> but powerful pagan families looking to control the fallen city see an opportunity.
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>> the lumbers are one of the invaders of the barbarian peninsula. they seek to conquer rome and take over the territory being ruled by the papacy. >> during an easter procession, they attack pope leo iii. >> their faction wrestles him to the ground and cut off his tongue. but he lives through it. >> pope leo iii realizes that he needs protection, and with no army of his own, he must make an alliance. he chooses the most powerful king in the western empire,
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charles the great of france, better known as charlemagne. on christmas day in the year 800, pope leo iii calls charlemagne to rome where he grants him holy roman emperor. >> charlemagne took on himself the role of defender of the faith. >> the moment that leo iii cr n crowned charlemagne is important, because it puts the church back together with the empire. if you have the pope crowning a king, that means the pope is giving that earthly king temperal and divine power. >> pope leo iii's decision to crown charlemagne as holy roman emperor marks the pivot away from the eastern church. >> the relations between rome and eastern christians had not been good for a while. >> charlemagne, in his view, he
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was now the only legitimate christian emperor left. as he grew in power, developed a stand-offish relationship with the ruler of constantinople. >> that really is the start of the schism between the orthodox church and the catholic church. >> in the two centuries after charlemagne and pope leo iii unite western europe under the papacy of rome, the eastern part of the empire breaks off and begins to call itself the greek orthodox church under the patriarch of constantinople. >> the word catholic meant universal. until the 11th century, there was just the one church. it wasn't until the church in consta constantinople broke off that we saw references to the roman catholic church, meaning the
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church is no longer universal. >> 200 years after the historic alliance between charlemagne and pope leo iii, pope urban ii rules the second empire from rome. and the patriarch reigns over the east from constantinople. until constantinople finds itself facing a threat. >> islam is the super power of medieval period. if i was betting at the time, i would have bet that islam and the islamic empires were the wave of the future. >> muslim armies had been making their way through the arabian peninsula, conquering new lands and uniting them under islam. they had long since conquered jerusalem and were headed for the next christian stronghold. >> muslims had swept through
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what we would now say is modern turkey, and really getting fairly close to constantinople itself. >> you could almost see muslims across the water, so it's time to find the christians left to help you. >> emperor alexis i writes to the pope in rome pleading for aid against the muslims. >> he's asking a few hundred knights to help him defend his city. what he gets is something entirely different. as the leader of the church, he's looking to improve the spiritual well-being of his people. but he's also a politician.
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>> seeing an opportunity to unite eastern and western christians and solidify his place as their leader, pope urban ii calls an emergency gathering of clergy, knights, and townspeople. >> it was probably the most famous speech made during the middle ages. urban told about the plight of christians in the east who had their lands concurred, horrible mutilations of nuns and clergy and pilgrims. what he did was rather than just ask them to go and fight for the east, he also asked them to go all the way to jerusalem to restore the landing that had been taken by muslims. >> the response is amazing. people shout "god wills it." this is the most the crusading begins across western europe. >> pope urban was an example of
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a new pinldz kind of pope. austere, the papacy rallying, purifying, inspiring force, calling on the people that to do something extraordinary for god, and it had enormous imaginative power. >> for the first time, the pope, a religious leader, once at the mercy of barbarians and dependant upon kings for protection, raises an army and commands a war. to everyone else, i look like
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appointments available now. in 1089 the eastern church calls the pope in the west to help him fight off the incoming islamic armies. he sees this as an opportunity to reunite christians and restore the reign of the roman catholic church. >> there's a tribal aspect of this that our tribe is being attacked, just as we still do today. 9/11, people attacks the united states, people are lined up at induction centers to go and
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fight. >> the pope solidifies his role as a world power. >> the pope is no longer just a spiritual guide, but a commander at the helm of an army. a zealous fleet of nearly 40,000 starts the long march east towards jerusalem. >> the crusades were first and foremost an act of piety. the crusades are the only case in human history which you have thousands of warriors marching thousands of miles, deep into enemy territory, for no good strategic reason. >> the warriors begin their crusade through the rhineland in what will become modern day germany. christ is waged against all non-believers in their path. >> one of the terrible things
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that this group does is they attack the jews of the rhineland. they decide that the jews are the people who are responsible for the killing of christ, and that if they are going to act against the enemies of the church, they will do so at home before they do so abroad. >> the rhineland massacres are only the beginning of what will become a century of religious warfare at the command of the pope. >> once the first crusade gets into asia minor, it's in muslim held territory. the crusaders manage to capture the town of nicea, and fight a great battle against the muslims and they capture antioch. >> emboldened by their string of unlikely victories, the crusaders are now convinced beyond all doubt that god is on their side. as they prepare to deliver the crown jewel of christianity back
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to their pope. jerusalem. >> their lord jesus christ had had his lands taken. a and it was the crusader's responsibility to come to his aid to restore those lands. >> the crusaders were extremely violent. they would attack people in their homes. they would mass rape, killing of children. they would set fire to entire residential neighborhoods. it was horrible. >> they succeeded in liberating the city of jerusalem from the hands of the muslims. and this, for generations, will be hailed and recognized. >> after 400 years as a muslim temple, the crusaders replace the crescent atop the sacred
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dome of the rock with a cross and turn it into a church. >> partly motivated by religious zeal, partly by conquest, the christians were exclusionary. muslims were not allowed to live in christian areas. >> jerusalem remains in christian lands until 1187, when the hero of islam draws together the muslims in the near east to recover the holy land. >> as the muslims close in on jerusalem once again, pope urban iii realizes in his predecessor's quest to defend christianity, he may have invited its demise. how pure can pure be? for a future full of possibilities, our 12-step process provides 100% pure, quality water. nestle pure life.
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pope urban ii called for violence in the name of one world under one catholic church. pope francis is still working to heal the wounds his predecessor inflicted almost 1,000 years earlier. >> religion produced such varied emotions. there's tragedy, there are crimes. it's a story of 2,000 years of such things. and the popes have been part of that story right from the start. >> in 1187, after only 88 years under christian rule, saladin's muslim army defeats the crusaders and reclaims the holy land for islam. well salah din recovers
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jerusalem, some of his people suggest he should destroy the holy sepulcher. it is christ's tomb. and he says, no, let's let it survive. saladin is a man very much aware of the power of mercy. >> his rule was very different from that of the crusaders. >> saladin was motivated by the belief that christians, muslims and jews should be able to live together peacefully. >> he entrusts the key of the church to the holy sepulchre to a muslim family. even today it's a muslim's responsibility to let christian worshipers in and out of the holiest church in christendom. pope urban iii is forced to surrender the notion that christianity must rule the world and negotiate new relationships with other faiths. >> the recognition that it's a christian space that has to be protected by its muslim rulers not in the sense of actually preventing people from coming
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in, but protecting christians' rights to worship. to t holiest christian site oors in jerusalem has been the responsibility of man for eight centuries. >> we are protecting the church. since 1187 until now. >> saladin's gesture has come to symbolize much of what the modern papacy represents. divine leadership in the face of warring religions. >> when i came every morning to opening the church, standing in front of the gate, i see my father and i see my grandfather and i also see saladin ayyudi waiting to open the church. this is an honor.
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there's no word to explain how -- it's amazing. >> today, over a thousand years after the first crusade, the temple mount area of the old city of jerusalem is still one of the most contested places on earth. a fragile peace holds. and the site seeks to become a shining example of three different belief systems' ability to coexist. >> it is the only place for everyone. you have the dome of the rock and you have the wailing wall, and we have the holy sepulcher church. we are looking for peace. we want to live together here like brothers.
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>> throughout history, the pope has played an integral role in the ongoing clash of the devout. thousands of years passed, millions of lives lost. but calls to battle and prayers for peace still endure. >> human beings constantly face a challenge of trying to live in peace and harmony with people different from them. we've seen this throughout history. >> the worlds of urban ii and francis are very different, but their plight remains the same. both men are tasked with leading the faithful in a world dominated by conflicting beliefs. >> the tremendous weight of taking on this shepherding of the great tradition and retranslating it for our time, it's an impossible burden to imagine, but isn't that also the beauty and simplicity of the church? >> people look to him because he's a voice of conscience, and
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it's a voice that has an authenticity to it because it doesn't speak for a political party. it doesn't speak for a national interest. it's a voice of integrity, and he calls us to be the best we can be. >> in march of 2000, pope john paul ii apologizes for the crusades and the violent campaigns of his predecessors. >> translator: we are asking forgiveness for the use of violence in the name of truth and for the attitudes of indifference and hostility taken towards other religions. >> modern popes choose to follow the example of saladin and preach coexistence unlike pope urban ii who chose war. >> the pope is where you look towards for an example to how to live your life as a catholic. >> but despite being a religious leader, the pope's reach extends
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far beyond the spiritual faith. >> the pope survives because it continues to speak to the deepest needs that people have. they need to know that someone is looking out for them. and all earthly institutions are flawed. but to have an institution which is dedicated to looking out in a fatherly manner for people who are lost and astray and suffering, that need will never go away. >> jesus said to peter, you are the rock and upon this rock i will build my church. the rock doesn't move. it's permanent. so for faithful catholics, there seems to be a myerious y real depth of apeciation for the stability and permanency of this ideal of the papacy. >> against all odds, in the face of all that has threatened his reign, 2,000 years after the
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death of st. peter, the pope remains at the head of one of the most powerful institutions on earth. the white house unveils its proposals to curb gun violence in schools, raising the legal age to buy a rifle is not one of them, but arming some teachers is. now that u.s. president donald trump has agreed to meet north korean leader kim jong-un, south korea is getting busy selling the meeting to its neighbors. plus the tiger woods comeback. it looks like it could be happening. the superstar golfer couldn't quite seal the deal on sunday at the valspar championship, but he seems to be on top of his game once again. it is great to have you with us today. i'm cyril vanier here at cnn headquarters in atlanta.

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