The Pope And The Prince

An undated photo provided by the Vatican shows John Paul II, the Polish pontiff who led the Roman Catholic Church for more than a quarter century and became history's most-traveled pope. He died Saturday night, April 2, 2005, in his Vatican apartment. He was 84.
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.
You did not have to be Catholic to be moved by the events of these past days. You didn't even have to be religious. Just seeing the millions gathered in Rome and realizing it was the largest spontaneous gathering of human beings in the whole history of the world was enough to take your breath away. To me, the most moving scenes of all were seeing the old pope so near death insisting that he be brought to the window to bless the crowds one more time.

It was not just his love but his sense of duty to those he led that impressed me. I kept thinking about that as the week unfolded as we saw another spectacle, preparations for the wedding of Prince Charles, a man who gets paid for doing nothing, yet seems to feel put upon because he has to do it. Nothing that is. We read of his exasperation that the wedding had to be put off a day in deference to the pope's funeral and we watched him sneer at photographers who asked him to pose for some pre-wedding pictures with his sons. My heavens, what imposition will he next have to endure, a photo with his mom?

This was a week for prayer and I must admit one of mine was to give thanks that I was born in a country whose founders were among the first to recognize the silliness of the whole idea of royalty and who made sure we would never have to fool with it.

By Bob Schieffer