Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI visits America

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI arrives tomorrow for his first visit to the United States as pontiff. I added the "as pontiff" qualifier to that sentence because prior to his elevation to the papacy, Joseph Ratzinger visited the United States several times.

Much will be written about Pope Benedict XVI's visit. Instead of accepting the media interpretation of what the Pope says and does we should all listen carefully to his sermons and divine for ourselves the message being sent.

Here are several links regarding the papal visit.

We'll start with the official website. This includes the itinerary. For baseball fans, Pope Benedict XVI will be the third pope to speak at Yankee Stadium and the Yankees failed to make the playoffs the last two time (1965 and 1979). I'm just saying. . .

The American Pope from Time Magazine discusses the Pope's long affinity for America.

Alejandro Bermudez of the Catholic News Agency has a poignant column in the New York Times today titled "Pay Attention to the Pope’s Onion." Bermudez calaims that analogous to an onion The Pope's speeches will have three layers and it is the third or deepest layer that we need to actively listen to in order to fully understand the message.

Peggy Noonan (who penned a biographical remembrance of Pope John Paul II) in today's Wall Street Journal has a column titled "Something Beautiful Has Begun." Here is the key passage:
John Paul made you burst into tears. Benedict makes you think. It is more pleasurable to weep, but at the moment, perhaps it is more important to think.

A Vatican reporter last week said John Paul was the perfect pope for the television age, "a man of images." Think of the pictures of him storm-tossed, tempest-tossed, standing somewhere and leaning into a heavy wind, his robes whipping behind him, holding on to his crosier, the staff bearing the image of a crucified Christ, with both hands, for dear life, as if consciously giving Christians a picture of what it is to be alive.

Benedict, the reporter noted, is the perfect pope for the Internet age. He is a man of the word. You download the text of what he said, print it, ponder it.

In "Pope's U.S. visit could have political ripples" the LA Times considers what affect The Pope's visit may have on this years elections. My own guess is his visit will not have any impact on the election.

Newsweeks provides two perspectives on the papal visit. George Weigel has a positive outlook in "How Benedict XVI Will Make History." Lisa Miller in "Why This Pope Doesn’t Connect" uses cherry picked quotes to make the case that people couldn't care less that he is visiting. A telling sentence from the column is this: "It's not that he doesn't care about people, it's that he wants people to care more about Jesus." She says that like it is a bad thing. Maybe she is the one having difficulty connecting.



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