GEORGE W. CORNELL (1921-1994) is the man behind one of the best-known bylines of the Associated Press. As AP religion writer, he has covered papal conclaves and other historic events, monitoring the heartbeat of religion in this country and abroad for almost four decades. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Cornell reported for the Daily Oklahoman and served in the Army before joining the AP in New York in 1947. He began specializing in news of religion in 1951. His reporting, his two weekly columns and his half dozen books have earned for him virtually every award offered for journalistic excellence in the religion field.