60 Minutes Presents: Inside the Vatican

Scott Pelley profiles Pope Francis, a pontiff who is surprising the world by spurning tradition; and, Morley Safer gets a rare look inside the Vatican Library

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The following is a script of "60 Minutes Presents: Inside the Vatican" hosted by Scott Pelley on Dec. 28, 2014.

Good evening. I'm Scott Pelley. Welcome to "60 Minutes Presents." Tonight, we take you inside the Vatican, where Morley Safer explores some of the treasures, secrets and surprises of the Vatican Library.

But we'll begin with Pope Francis, who made history, again, this month helping the United States and Cuba establish diplomatic relations for the first time in more than 50 years.

"Francis"

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Pope Francis greets the crowd at St Peter's Square on April 13, 2014 Getty Images

The pope has a talent for bringing people together. You can see it even in how he signs his name. Popes have a special way -- the name, followed by "p-p," short for papa, and the appropriate roman numeral. But this pope writes, "Francis," just Francis. Humility has made the former Jorge Bergoglio a star and a lot of his fans aren't even Catholic.

But don't mistake humility for weakness. "Just plain Francis" is also being signed on orders to transform institutions fossilized by tradition and stained by corruption. Last spring, when we first reported this story, we talked with some of the people who know Francis best. But don't ask them what he's likely to do next because, God only knows.

In St. Peter's Square, March 2013, 100,000 faithful waited for a light to split the curtain. They'd adjusted their eyes to what they were accustomed to seeing, regal robes and a gold cross around the neck of a European. Instead they saw an emissary from the New World with a world of new ide

Robert Mickens: And he was just dressed so simply. There was no cape. There was no fur. There was no-- and he was just standing there. And in a simple silver cross, evidently the one that he wore when he was in Buenos Aires.

Robert Mickens was among the believers in disbelief. He's an American journalist covering the Vatican.

Robert Mickens: And then he started with by saying....

[Pope Francis: Buona sera.]

Robert Mickens: "Buona sera," "Good evening." Popes don't do that. They'd say, "Laudetur iesus christus," or something like that. But the biggest thing was when he asked the people in the square to pray over him. Everybody keeps saying pray for me but that's not what he said, he said, "Let's pause for your prayer over me-- that's a blessing." And he put his head down. You could have heard a pin drop.

For Francis and the Vatican that was the last quiet moment.

Since then, the halls of St. Peter's have been ringing with commands, insiders out, outsiders in. Priests ordered from their cathedrals and into the streets. For pope number 266 there are a lot of firsts.

Robert Mickens: Nobody's ever taken the name Francis. I mean that's an extremely challenging program just in the name.

Scott Pelley: What did it mean to the Church?

Robert Mickens: He took the name Francis from Francis of Assisi, who is probably the most beloved saint you know among Catholics and especially non-Catholics. And you know had this great love for the poor, God's creation, nature, peace. And what we've seen is that he lives very radically, very simply rather than some monarch prince or king or monarch pope.

"Nobody's ever taken the name Francis. I mean that's an extremely challenging program just in the name."

His most radical decision came on his second day. He toured his 16th century palace, looking like a homebuyer whose realtor just didn't get it. In here, he'd be kept behind a barrier of minders and schedulers. So he chose freedom in a Vatican hotel where he lives and dines with everyone else. His room "201" is a key to the world. This leader of a billion Catholics demands to be in touch.

Elisabetta Pique: I knew that he would phone me. But I didn't expect that he phone me so quick.

He phoned Elisabetta Pique 12 hours after his election. She's an old friend--an Argentinian journalist. And her children were baptized by Bergoglio.

Elisabetta Pique: And two days later was my birthday and he phoned again so-- but in that sense we have here the scandal of normality because he's a normal man.

Scott Pelley: The scandal of normality?

Scandalous, checking out of a hotel, posing for a papal selfie, standing in the rain.

Elisabetta Pique: We see the scandal almost every day. Ten days ago when he went for a retreat, he wanted to go in the bus like the others and he didn't want to go by helicopter or in his own car. This is why people love him, I think.

They loved him in a simple car last year in July but it was frightening when Brazil's 130 million Catholics seemed to show up all at once. Francis responded by rolling down the window.

Elisabetta Pique: A lot of people was afraid. He asked specially that he didn't want so much security. And he explain it very well. "If I go to visit you to your house, do I go with in a box, glass box? No. If I go to your house to visit you, I want to be with you, near you and I want to touch you." And he said, "I know that someone, there always can be a crazy one that would do something. But I prefer this craziness to have this risk that there would be a barrier between me and the people."

That's physical courage in the tradition of the pope's religious order, the Jesuits, who call themselves soldiers of God. These days, Jesuits are also known for intellectual courage--battling over ideas.

Abraham Skorka: I know him very, very well. That he's a revolutionary. And he's not a person who likes to go in the middle way, no, in the extremes.

To know the leader of the Catholic world it's helpful to talk to a rabbi. Abraham Skorka of Argentina is an old, close friend.

Scott Pelley: You are the pope's rabbi?

Abraham Skorka: Let us say so.

They met debating one of the greatest of all human conflicts -- Argentinian soccer. Skorka's team often chokes in the clutch--so the fans have a nickname.

Abraham Skorka: We receive the name of chickens.

Scott Pelley: The chickens.

Abraham Skorka: The chickens. Why? Not a lion, not a tiger, but a chicken.

Francis is a card-carrying member of a rival team, this is his actual membership card. His holiness couldn't resist temptation though when he said this to Skorka.

Abraham Skorka: "I guess that this year we are going to eat chicken soup." Ohhh, I received that as an aggression, as a real aggression. But, I understood that behind the joke was a message, "Look, we can joke together. We can speak on the same level."

They did speak on the level, in a TV series and a book they wrote together. After all, "pontiff," is Latin for "bridge builder."

Scott Pelley: You learned that there could be conversation, common ground among the faiths?

Abraham Skorka: Yes.

Scott Pelley: But soccer, no?

Abraham Skorka: No. Never!

Jorge Bergoglio took his vows to heaven as Argentina went to hell. In the 1970s, many thousands vanished in the dictatorship's mill of torture and death. Bergoglio helped hide opponents of the government. Still, Rabbi Skorka told us that Francis is troubled, like many in his generation, over whether he could have done more.

Scott Pelley: The pope keeps telling everyone who will listen that he is a sinner. Chief among sinners. Why does he say that?

Abraham Skorka: Because he's showing a way. One of the great sins of the leaders throughout the world is that they used to appear before their people as perfect persons and perfect leaders. He's teaching what a real leader must be.

We saw that lesson when the pope met an Argentinian adversary, President Cristina Kirchner once called him "medieval" for opposing her plan for gay adoption and same-sex marriage. Watch what happens. She'll touch him and recoil, thinking it's not allowed. See how he reacts. It seems Francis has kissed the past goodbye.

Scott Pelley: To my eye, when you see photographs of Bergoglio as archbishop in Buenos Aires, he looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He looks like a man who is tired. And now you see pictures of him as pope, when he does have the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he is smiling and light. Help me understand that.

"One of the great sins of the leaders throughout the world is that they used to appear before their people as perfect persons and perfect leaders. He's teaching what a real leader must be."

Abraham Skorka: He understood very, very well that his image must be an image of hope.

Scott Pelley: He understood how important it was that a tired old man didn't shuffle out onto that balcony?

Abraham Skorka: Yes. That's true. He changed.

He's changing many things including the ancient ritual of washing feet on Holy Thursday as Jesus did with his disciples. With popes they're almost always the feet of priests. But Francis cleansed and kissed teenagers in a criminal detention center. Two were women -- unheard of -- and two in the group were Muslim. When traditions like that wash away so easily, people begin to talk and there are some incredible Francis stories.

There's the one about the pope sneaking out of the Vatican at night behind the wheel of a beat up old car to minister to the poor in Rome. And one of him driving the same car to the airport to pick up an old friend. The trouble is those stories and all of their variations not true. The people who work closely with the pope tell us that what he does do is pick up the phone and call a lot of people.

It's a desk phone not a cell phone. His emails and tweets, we're told, are sent by the staff.

Scott Pelley: Did he want to be pope in your estimation?

Elisabetta Pique: Well he himself-- when he met one day people from Jesuit school and there was a little girl that ask him "Did you want to be a pope?" And he said, "You have to be crazy to want to be a pope."

It is all consuming. At 78, he rises to every public audience: the blind, the deaf, the poor, the sick, the dying. Crazy or maybe just an old Jesuit soldier embracing his final orders.

When we come back, we'll hear from President Obama about his time last March with the pope in Rome.

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President Barack Obama and Pope Francis meet at the Vatican Gabriel Bouys, AP

Last spring, when we first reported this story, Pope Francis was reading a prepared script about children and families, when he stopped and did something a pope has never done. Off the cuff, he took personal responsibility for the rape and abuse of children by priests. He said, "I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil...to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage... done..." It was another advance from a pope of "firsts." First from the Americas, first Jesuit.

Before Francis was elected many expected the cardinals to select a younger man for the job. But after nearly two years, it appears the 78-year-old Francis is equal to the task.

Scott Pelley: What did he inherit in the Vatican?

Robert Mickens: Oh, he inherited a mess.

Robert Mickens is an American journalist who has been covering the Vatican for more than 25 years.

Robert Mickens: He came in at a time when there was a great scandal. There were documents being leaked in the press about financial corruption, cronyism. There were even some sexual misconduct that was in these documents that were leaked. He had a very clear mandate from the cardinals that elected him. "Clean up the house."

He's cleaning with committees of cardinals and lay people, investigating sex abuse, the Vatican bank and reform of the ancient bureaucracy of the Church itself--starting with the executive offices at headquarters known as the Roman Curia--Latin for court.

Robert Mickens: He set up a council, a privy council of eight cardinals from around the world to advise him on reforming the Curia and governing the universal church. Really? Governing the universal church? Most people overlooked that they thought he was going to come in an clean up the Vatican and reform the Roman Curia instead what Francis has embarked upon is a reform of the governing structure of the Church.

Scott Pelley: And the Church that he dreams of looks like what?

Robert Mickens: A missionary church, a missionary church that shows the mercy of God, a church that's not wagging its finger at people, not scolding people, but is inviting people, walking with people, befriending people, he uses the word synodal, synod, synod means walking with not just for the Church but it's for all humanity. He's called the Church a field hospital after a battle.

The battlefield wounded that Francis speaks of are Catholics harmed by the Church and the wider world of the dispossessed. He said this about the media and public attention.

"This is what gets through today. If investments in the banks and elsewhere drop a little, 'Oh, tragedy!' 'What can we do?' But if people die of hunger...if they're sick, no! [none of that] gets through."

Gerald Lacroix: We're a sleeping giant, we are, the Church is a sleeping giant.

To understand Francis we went to one of the people he handpicked. The career of Gerald Lacroix of Quebec City is similar to the pope's, leading through the slums of Latin America. The pope has faith in Lacroix and so made him one of his first, new cardinals--although Francis didn't mention that to Lacroix before the announcement.

Gerald Lacroix: Most of the time, I guess, from what I've heard, one or two or three days ahead of time they get a heads up. You know, get ready, the pope will announce such and such a day. But this time, Francis decided to do things differently.

Scott Pelley: He seems to decide to do a lot of things differently.

Gerald Lacroix: Yeah, yeah, it's challenging but it's wonderful, it keeps us on our toes.

Lacroix found out about his elevation in a divine message written on a tablet -- his iPad woke him, dinging with notes of congratulations. Later, he got a letter from the pope.

Gerald Lacroix: The letter said this, "Now you being named a cardinal Gerald is not a promotion, it's not an honor and it's not a decoration, it is a call to widen your spirit and a call to serve."

Scott Pelley: The pope has graced the covers of many magazines. There's even a magazine dedicated just to him now, but he has described all of this attention as quote "offensive." Why do you think so?

Gerald Lacroix: I think maybe it's in a way, a way to tell us, "It's not about me." Of course, he's very popular. He's very attractive. He's such a joyful man. That, in itself, makes him a star. But what he's telling us down deep is, "It's not about me. Turn to the Lord."

And turn to the people. One of the first things Francis asked Lacroix to do was administer a questionnaire to the parishes. The pope wanted to know what people thought about same sex marriage, contraception and divorce.

Gerald Lacroix: We need to look at reality. We need to look where people are at. And we need to look at the Gospel and the teaching of our Church and see how we can help people from where they're at, to grow.

Scott Pelley: You are abundantly aware of the urgent concerns that many Catholics have about the sex abuse scandals, about financial scandals at the Vatican. About the role of women in the church. What are we going to see in your estimation from this pope on those very important matters?

Gerald Lacroix: Just mentioning the sex scandal excuse me, always touches me because of lack of coherence and because of sin, so many people have been hurt in the United States, in Canada, in many other parts of the world. And that is absolutely scandalous, inacceptable. You talked about difficulties in economics, in the way we handle money, properties, he was, right from day one, very, very involved in making sure that those things change.

The pope surprised people in a news conference when he said, "If someone is gay and searching for the Lord and has goodwill, then who am I to judge him?" The pope has written, that then Church has a false sense of security with - quote -- "rules that make us harsh judges." He asked whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act?

Robert Mickens: This upsets a lot of very conservative Catholics because he's the one supposed to judge, you know? What he has done is he's opened up discussion in the Church. There had been no discussion on issues like birth control, about premarital sex, about divorced and remarried Catholics. None whatsoever. There's been no discussion for the last probably 35 years on that. He's getting them to speak about it over the next two years. The pope says, "If there's opposition if there, people disagree, that's not a problem. We want discussion." That's something very, very new.

But on a couple of old controversies, Francis has closed discussion. Opposition to abortion will remain firm. He says the right to life is linked to every other human right. And the priesthood will remain male.

Scott Pelley: What are Francis' limitations?

Robert Mickens: He's gotta do some more with women. Because they are more than half the Church. And they are the ones that are effectively keeping the Church, you know, up and running. But they are not at the heart of decision-making.

Francis' roadmap for the Church is in the first thing he wrote as pope called "Joy of the Gospel," emphasis on "joy." He writes "an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral."

Scott Pelley: Does he get a perverse pleasure out of tweaking all the protocols of the Vatican and breaking all the rules?

"[Pope Francis has] gotta do some more with women. Because they are more than half the Church. And they are the ones that are effectively keeping the Church, you know, up and running. But they are not at the heart of decision-making."

Robert Mickens: I wonder, I mean, I do. I think a lot of us do. He's just being himself. I remember about a month into the pontificate a priest friend of his from Buenos Aires gave an interview and said, "'You know I talked to him on the phone and I said to him Jorge, this is not a problem that you're not living in the palace and not wearing the red shoes?' And he said to me, he said, 'Pepe if I did that I would look ridiculous, that's not me.'"

Truth is, the pope loves a joke. And his holiness has a devilish wit. You can see it in the eyes after the "gotcha" punch line. And the mightier the audience the sweeter the punch. In March, after meeting the pope for the first time, President Obama spoke with us at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Rome. He told us that Francis joked that for two men of great power it was really young people who ordered them around.

Scott Pelley: Can you give me a sense of what it's like to be in the presence of Pope Francis?

President Obama: He is a wonderful man. He projects the kind of humility and kindness that is consistent with my understanding at least of Jesus' teachings. His simplicity and his belief in the power of the spiritual over the material reflects itself in everything that he says and does. And I suspect my sense is that he's a little bit uncomfortable with all the trappings of being pope.

Scott Pelley: Embarrassed by them?

President Obama: Well, he-- you know, that's not his style. And that is part of why I think he has been so embraced around the world. Because people get a sense that first and foremost he sees himself as a priest and as a disciple of Christ and as somebody who is concerned with, you know, the least of these.

Scott Pelley: What did the pope say to you in that meeting that inspired you?

President Obama: Well we spent a bulk of our conversation around issues of poverty and inequality, themes that he has been talking about quite a bit. And obviously issues that I care about deeply. The very poor finding fewer and fewer ladders to get into the middle class. Youth unemployment high. You know, these are chronic problems. And, you know, what the pope's able to do in a way that no politician can do is to shake people's conscience and to shine a light on the problem. It's our job to come up with policies to do something. What the pope can do is to help mobilize public opinion.

Scott Pelley: But how practical is that? Stalin once said of the power of the papacy, "How many divisions does the pope have?"

President Obama: I'm a big believer in the power of conscience, the power of faith, the power of a message of hope. I think over time that's what moves history. Tanks and divisions and dollars and cents, you know, all those things obviously make a difference. But ideas are the most powerful thing on Earth.

The power of the papacy comes laden with eight official titles. They start with the grand "bishop of Rome," "vicar of Christ," etc., etc., but the last title is the most modest, "servant of the servants of God." Maybe in titles, Francis looks to the book of Matthew, "let the last, be the first."

Robert Mickens: One man in one little tiny place in the center of the city of Rome can't do everything. And no one should expect him to. But he is there as an icon, as the captain of the ship, in a sense. And now it's-- you know, it's up to the rest of the Church to get with this very challenging program. And any Christian that's not challenged, whatever you are, right, left, center, conservative, progressive, if you're not challenged by Pope Francis, as one of my colleagues recently said, you're not listening.

"The Library"

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Vatican Library CBS News

We are about to visit a place few people have seen firsthand: the Vatican Library, a vast collection of historic treasures beyond compare. Founded over five centuries ago when Europe was coming out of the Dark Ages; a period of so-called humanism when the Catholic Church was open to new ideas in philosophy, science and the human spirit. It's the pope's library, but it contains much more than just church documents.

As Morley Safer reported three years ago, there are manuscripts going back nearly 2,000 years on music and math, warfare and exploration: even cookbooks and love letters. The library is closed to the public: a place for scholars only. But the Vatican agreed to let Morley in to see some of the priceless artifacts of our collective past.

Welcome to the 15th century. In Rome, turn a corner and you bump into antiquity. A delicious mixed salad of present and past. We arrived at the Vatican to find a medieval costume parade in progress. What better way to begin a trek through history.

Timothy Janz: There's about two million printed books...

Morley Safer: Two million printed books.

And inside the library, the past surrounded us again, as we were shown the magnificent building and its riches.

Janz: This is the Urbino Bible...

For instance, this spectacular Bible, commissioned in 1476 by the Duke of Urbino.

Janz: ...who wanted to have a very fancy Bible.

Safer: There you go.

Janz: And this is what he got.

Library curator Timothy Janz tells us the Bible took years to make by hand: letter by letter, picture by picture.

Janz: Decorated with real gold.

It's just one of the library's 80,000 handwritten manuscripts from the ages before the printing press. Add to that: those two million or so printed books, Christian and pagan, sacred and profane, in virtually every language known to man. There are thousands of prints and drawings - windows on the past - and a huge collection of ancient coins.

This was the money of Palestine 2,000 years ago. Including the kind of silver coins Judas was said to have been paid to betray Christ. Here is a map of the world, drawn 50 years before Columbus: at its edge, the towers of paradise. And an immediate best seller, Columbus' description of his voyage to the new world, published in 1493.

Safer: In a certain way, the library is kind of the attic of Western civilization.

Father Michael Collins: It's so true. And it's like many attics, you know? You put things up all the time. You keep on pushing over boxes to make space for more things.

Father Michael Collins is an Irish priest who's written extensively about the Vatican. Where the library's shelves - if you put them end to end - would stretch for 31 miles.

Safer: Is there anyone, any single person who really knows what the library holds?

Collins: Nobody knows exactly what's there. Because it will be impossible for the human brain to understand, to remember the titles, who wrote it, when they were written.

Msgr. Cesare Pasini: It is quite a treasure of humanity that you have here.

Monsignor Cesare Pasini presides over the library. Its great hall - essentially unchanged over the centuries - is a picture gallery of antiquity. Saints, philosophers, and depictions of the great libraries of the pre-Christian world: Babylon. Athens. Alexandria. A shrine to learning and to books.

Safer: There's one person who can actually take a book out of the library, correct?

Pasini: Yes, the pope can have every book in the library.

If Saint Peter's Basilica represents the splendor of the church writ large - the library nearby is a testament to the monks and scribes who made magnificent miniatures in times past. Here, some devotional music commissioned by Pope Leo X. And the text of the Christmas Mass, used at the altar by Alexander VI. Both manuscripts five centuries old: written on parchment, treated animal skin.

Christopher Celenza: You will often see the skin of sheep being used, sometimes goats...

Christopher Celenza is a scholar who's often used the library. He says that writing on parchment was not only tedious but expensive.

Celenza: If a monastery wanted to produce a Bible that perhaps had 400 pages it might cost you 400 sheep. It's an investment.

Safer: Beyond the academic work, did you ever just come here to hang out and flip through stuff, and see what you might discover?

Celenza: I think all of us have come here at one time or another with the hope of discovering something, having a general direction in which we're going, but not quite knowing where we'll wind up.

You might find, as curator Adalbert Roth showed us, drawings of a German jousting tournament in 1481.

Or an old cookbook, telling us that Roman foodies in the fourth century dined on chicken, veal, seafood, pancakes in milk and whipped pear cake.

Janz: How to hack away at your enemy's wall...

Or from an 11th century treatise on the art of war: a Byzantine soldier brandishing a flame-thrower, something the Greeks invented 1,500 years earlier.

Or Henry VIII's love letters to Anne Boleyn.

Collins: The letters are certainly among the most bizarre and unusual that you'd expect to find in the pope's archives.

There are 17 of them. Handwritten by the king of England to the woman he would make the second of his six wives, and later have beheaded.

Adalbert Roth: There's the little heart..."

Henry signs his name with a heart, like a smitten schoolboy. He tells of his "fervents of love", his great loneliness without her. "Wishing myself," he says, "in my sweetheart's arms, whose pretty dukkys i trust shortly to kiss." Dukkys being a term in Henry's day for well, use your imagination.

Safer: What is that doing in the Vatican Library?

Collins: We don't know how they ended up here in the Vatican. It may be that some spy maybe one of my priestly predecessors may have stolen these letters and brought them to Rome to present in the case if a trial was made for Henry's request for a divorce.

But the church refused to let Henry divorce from Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne. He married her anyway, broke with Rome and took control of the church of England. The country was largely converted to the Protestant faith.

Celenza: This is one of the moments in the 16th century that leads to the fracturing of Christianity and to much of the bloodshed and the wars that, especially, the later 16th century was known for.

As man explored the planet, a scientific revolution was also underway. By the mid 17th century, navigators had mapped much of the world in remarkable detail.

[Adalbert Roth: Rio de Janiero. Cuzco. Mexico City...]

Galileo turned his eyes and his telescope on the heavens. Here - from 1612 - are his drawings of sunspots. For his insistence that the sun is the center of the universe and the earth moves around it, the church branded him a heretic.

Collins: The pope at that time, Pope Urban VIII, was a very good friend of Galileo. Said to him 'Look, you know, I agree with you. You're right. But I can't approve of this because I'm the pope. And if I go against this it looks as if I'm going against the Bible. And I'm going to shake to the foundation the belief of the world, and the world's Christians, not just Catholics.

Just 380 years later - in 1992 - Pope John Paul II apologized for the Galileo affair. His successor Benedict XVI has sought middle ground in the centuries-old skirmishes between the church and science. In a sermon he said even the Big Bang Theory of the creation of the universe is not in conflict with faith because God's mind was behind it.

And backstage at the pope's library, science is brought to bear on crumbling books, as restoration workers deal with water damage, mold and the ravages of time.

Safer: It seems endless, this work, yes?

Angela Nunez Gaetan: It's endless, yes, obviously.

Angela Gaetan and the others go inch-by-inch: patching and strengthening ancient pages. Scratching off paste put on by well-meaning restorers centuries ago - paste that's turning acid, eating away at the page. Mario Tiburzi seldom reads what he's repairing, it's too distracting. Especially if the writer happens to be Michelangelo.

Mario Tiburzi: When I work on the Michelangelo papers it was the same that I work on Mickey Mouse paper.

Safer: Mickey Mouse, eh?

A difficult job may take months or even years. But consider the result.

Angela Nunez Gaetan: One thousand years after us, I hope that they can read the same thing that we are reading now.

The library's most valued documents go back almost 2,000 years, nearly to the time of Saint Peter - the first pope - whose tomb lies beneath the basilica that bears his name.

His letters to the faithful make up two books of the New Testament. And here is a copy - written in Greek on papyrus by one of Peter's disciples around the year 200, a mere century or so after his death.

Cesare Pasini: In the beginning was the word and the word was God.

And from the same period: the gospel of Luke and part of the Gospel of John, also written on papyrus. Venerated by early Christians in Egypt, preserved for centuries in a desert monastery.

Pasini: "The bread for today give us..."

They contain the oldest known copy of "The Lord's Prayer". So fragile we were only allowed to see replicas.

Pasini: That great treasure of papyrus I think, is the most important treasure of Christianity.

With our tour nearly over, it seemed as if the library's collection had come to life in the streets of the eternal city: the centurions and crusaders, the centuries of faith and folly, time present and time past. Leaving the library we thought: there's something, something almost magical to be immersed in this place, to breathe the air, and touch the hand of history.

"Saving History" Update

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Colosseum, Rome CBS News

Now, an update on still another story from Rome, which we called, "Saving History." In October, Morley Safer told us how Italy's fashion industry funds the preservation of the city's ancient buildings, including the Colosseum, something the Italian government is too broke and bureaucratic to do.

Morley Safer: Six million tourists a year visit here, snapping selfies and posing with rent-a-gladiators who pass the time with cigarettes and cell phones. The place has survived fires and earthquakes over the centuries. Now there's a new crisis: finding the money to manage the crowds and keep up with basic maintenance.

The $35 million cleanup is funded by the CEO of Tod's, the leather goods company. The Trevi Fountain is being repaired by the heir of the House of Fendi. And now, the Italian bank Unicredit will spend $17-and-a-half million to restore Verona's Roman amphitheater, the Arena.

I'm Scott Pelley. We'll be back next in 2015 with another edition of 60 Minutes.