October 4, 1979 – With economic news looking pessimistic to most Americans, Pope John-Paul II was in the middle of a massive and whirlwind tour of the U.S.
On this day it was Philadelphia’s turn. A Mass the previous night drew crowds which many estimated climbed upwards to 1 million. It was the largest crowd the Pontiff had seen so far in America. In his Homily, the Pope placed special emphasis on human sexuality; he reasserted the obligation of priests to remain celibate and not to refrain from the “true moral order”. In a mass conducted this morning, the Pope restated the Church’s traditional opposition to Women priests. The Pope said that “God himself has decreed that only Men should be priests, and he added that it wasn’t a question of human rights. From Philadelphia he was headed to Des Moines, Iowa, the Western-most point in the Pope’s tour and by far the smallest city he would be visiting. Thousands of visitors from the Western United were expected to descend on the Iowa town. City officials were worried that they weren’t equipped to handle such huge crowds. Catholic officials were worried that not enough people were going to show up. From there, the Pontiff was expected to head to Chicago where he was to spend two days.
In other news – The issue of the Soviet military presence in Cuba was still hanging fire this day in Washington. But Chairman Frank Church of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he was working on a formula that he thought would ultimately end the roadblock to the ratification of the SALT II treaty. Washington’s concern over the issue didn’t seem to be mirrored in the immediate area.
And that’s only a small slice of what went on, this October 4, 1979 as reported via The CBS World News Roundup and The World Tonight.