MANILA, Philippines -- A bomb exploded at a stadium 15 minutes before the arrival of Pope John Paul II to celebrate mass in Pakistan Monday, killing the man carrying the device. The pope later flew on to the Philippines to a tumultuous reception.
The pontiff's special DC-10 airliner touched down at Manila International Airport at 7:58 a.m. Tuesday (6:58 p.m. EST Monday) on the second leg of his 12-day, 20,500-mile journey to the Far East, his most ambitious trip to date, which will also take him to Guam, Japan and Alaska.
John Paul, 60, dressed in white vestments, looked weary during the airport arrival ceremonies in Manila, but kissed the ground after he got off the plane. He later gave a speech in which he apparently warned reform-minded priests and nuns to avoid politics and concentrate instead on their religious duties.
In a three-hour stopover in Karachi, his first destination, a bomb exploded on a stairway behind the VIP grandstand at the packed National Stadium, 30 feet from where the pope arrived 15 minutes later to celebrate a mass for Pakistani Christians.
Police said the man carrying the bomb was killed and three others injured.
Vatican spokesmen on the flight to Manila said John Paul knew nothing about the explosion.
One person reportedly was arrested in the incident, but police refused to identify the dead man or give any other details.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos provided an elaborate welcome ceremony with military overtones, complete with a review of the honor guard, a 21-gun salute and a flyover by six jetfighters.
The pontiff, anxious to prevent the church from being drawn into the ranks of anti-government forces, stressed in his arrival statement that his six-day visit was of a 'religious and pastoral nature.'
During his Philippine stay, the focus of his journey, he faced 16-hour days in tropical heat. The temperatures under sunny skies were expected to hit 90 degrees Tuesday.
Even before word of the Karachi explosion reached Manila, Philippine authorities had prepared extreme security measures to protect the pontiff from death threats by the India-based Ananda Marga, a radical spiritualist sect whose members have to perform acts of terrorism, and to shield him from anti-government protests promised by students.
Security forces went on what they described as 'red alert' to maintain order during the tumultuous welcome.
After airport arrival ceremonies, the pope traveled by motorcade down Roxas Boulevard, the capital's major bayside artery, past streamers reading 'Mabuhay,' the Philippine expression for 'Welcome.' Others adopted languages closer to Rome to proclaim 'Viva El Papa.'
Tens of thousands of Filipinos lined the motorcase route in a festive atmosphere despite the heavy security. Marcos ordered schools and government offices closed and normal life in Manila ground to an abrupt halt.
Millions of other Filipinos watched the pope's activities on nationwide live broadcasts.
The pontiff's first stop was the National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at Baclaran in southern Manila, about 10 minutes from the airport. The pope delivered an address to sisters at the church in which he urged them to respect the leadership of the church hierarchy.
This was expected to one of the main themes of the pontiff's visit, which comes amid a simmering conflict between Marcos and the Catholic church headed by Cardinal Jaime Sin.
Reform minded priests and nuns, who have helped organize sugar plantation workers, demonstrations and other anti-government activity, will be told to concern themselves more with religion and less with politics.
'You are priests and religious,' the pontiff said in an address prepared for delivery at Manila Cathedral. 'You are not social or political leaders or officials of a temporal power.'
Paul Rappaport, public affairs officer of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, said the grandstand where the bomb blew up was about 30 feet from the platform where the pope said the mass.
He said the explosion caused some panic among the more than 70,000 people who had gathered at the stadium for the mass, but authorities calmed them by saying it was due to a technical difficulty.
In a meeting with Pakistan's Moslem President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, the pope, whose plane deliberately avoided Iranian air space in the flight from Rome to Karachi, called for closer ties between Islam and Christianity.
'I pray that mutual understanding and respect between Christians and Moslems, and indeed between all religions, will continue and grow deeper, and that we will find still better ways of cooperation and collaboration for the good of all,' the pope said.
John Paul's stopover in Karachi was his second visit as pope to a predominantly Moslem nation. The first was his three-day stay in Turkey in January 1979, when he also met with Moslem leaders and stressed the Roman Catholic church's desire to forge closer links with Islam.
The pope also thanked the Pakistani people for sheltering refugees displaced by the Soviet invasion of neighboring Afghanistan.
In his mass at the stadium, John Paul told Pakistan's Catholics, who number 800,000 out the nations 80 million people, 'We have a deep longing for the reunion of all the churches. We cannot but feel a sadness at the divisions that still affect the one body of Christ -- the divisions between fellow Christians.'