Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pope Visits America: News and Adequate Coverage

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, hasn't landed at Andrews Air Force Base yet, but he's on his way. American news media has been on the story for a day or so already. Here's a sampling of today's headlines and articles.
  • "Analyst: Pope likely to address sex scandal during U.S. visit"
    (CNN (April 15, 2008))
    "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI was due to arrive in the nation's capital Tuesday afternoon amid tight security on his first visit to the United States.
    "The six-day, two-city journey will take him from the White House to the halls of the United Nations.
    "Three years after succeeding Pope John Paul II, Benedict is likely to address the sex scandal within the Catholic Church, the church's relationship with other faiths, the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the upcoming U.S. presidential election, said John Allen, a CNN Vatican analyst."
  • "Pope Benedict XVI 'Deeply Ashamed' of U.S. Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal"
    (FOXNews (April 15, 2008))
    "ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday he was "deeply ashamed" of the clergy sexual abuse scandal that stained the U.S. Catholic Church and pledged to work to make sure pedophiles do not become priests."
    "Benedict was answering questions submitted in advance by reporters aboard a special Alitalia airliner as he was flying from Rome to Washington to begin his first papal pilgrimage to the United States.
    " 'It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen,' Benedict said. 'It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission ... to these children.' "
Well, one of those had a report from the Papal plane.

For me, this is a flashback to the "...former alter boy" reporting that succeeded "...Vietnam veteran" as a required descriptor for any malefactor who had grown up in a Catholic neighborhood - or been drafted during the Vietnam war.

CNN's face of Catholicism in America:
"Terri Harland shows off bumper stickers on sale at
Catholic University in advance of a
visit by Pope Benedict XVI."

I've found that one of the more effective ways for a news service to make a point, yet maintain plausible deniability, is to display a carefully-chosen photograph. Pictures don't lie, right? Back in the sixties, I learned that members of the VFW American Legion were, almost without exception:
  • Grossly obese, with enormous guts and spindle legs
  • In the habit of wearing pants with high-tension belts buckled just above the pubic area, overhung by about fifty gallons of gut
  • Only willing to be photographed in full-figure profile
I can't help but think that the lady in that photograph, who is only slightly more likely to be the next Miss Universe than I am, was selected in part for her similarity to the sophisticated New Yorker's image of a rustic Catholic. (Please, don't accuse me of sexism, racism, lookism, or whatever-ism: Terri Harland isn't the issue here; CNN's use of her image is.)

I suppose we will be hearing a great deal about the pedophilic mess in the American Catholic Church. And, I think we'll hear that the Pope said something like 'out now' or 'no blood for oil.' It's even possible that the Pope actually will make a statement like that: more formally, Benedict XVI's style being what it is. I've posted about this before ("The Pope Comes to America: A Prediction in a Very Catholic Post" (April 13, 2008)).

American news media is good at covering sports events, grass fires in suburban Los Angeles, and other topics that their editors and reporters understand.

The Holy Father, and beliefs of the Catholic Church, don't seem to be among those topics. It isn't the ignorance that bothers me. It's what they know that just ain't so. ("It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we do know that just ain't so.")

I strongly recommend that anyone who is interested in what the Pope actually says, not what an editor thinks he really meant, follow the Papal visit on "Pope Benedict XVI Apostolic Journey to the United States" (April 15 - 20, 2008), on EWTN.com. The people at EWTN do understand Catholicism, and have an established track record of high production values.

Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.
Related posts, on Islam, Christianity, Religion, Culture and the War on Terror.
The rest of this post is mostly for my benefit. I intend to follow the Pope's activities in America: and will post when something seems relevant to the War on Terror.
Day, Date Time Place Event
Tuesday, April 15Noon. (6 a.m. ET)(Rome, Washington, D.C.)Departure from Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport for Washington.

4 p.m.
Arrival at Andrews Air Force Base.

4:14 p.m.
Transfer by car to the apostolic nunciature in Washington.
Wednesday, April 16
(Washington, D.C.) Morning Mass in
private in the
chapel of the nunciature (no time given).

10:10 a.m.
Transfer by car to the White House.

10:30 a.m.
Welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. Speech by pope, followed by a courtesy visit with the president in the Oval Office.

Transfer by popemobile to the nunciature.

1 p.m.
Lunch with the U.S. cardinals, officers of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the papal entourage at the nunciature.

4:45 p.m.
4:45 p.m. Greeting representatives of Catholic charitable foundations at the nunciature.

5 p.m.
Transfer by car and then by popemobile to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

5:45 p.m.
Celebration of vespers and meeting with the bishops of the United States in the basilica. Speech by pope.

7:30 p.m.
Transfer by car to the nunciature.
Thursday, April 17 9 a.m. (Washington, D.C.) Transfer by car from the nunciature to Nationals Park.

10 a.m.
Mass in Nationals Park. Homily by pope.

12:15 p.m.
Transfer by car to the nunciature.

4:40 p.m.
Transfer by car to The Catholic University of America.

5 p.m.
Meeting with representatives of Catholic universities at The Catholic University of America. Speech by pope.

6:15 p.m.
Transfer by popemobile to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center.

6:30 p.m.
Meeting with representatives of other religions in the rotunda of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center.

7:30 p.m.
Transfer by car to the nunciature.
Friday, April 18
(Washington, D.C., New York) Morning Mass in private in the chapel of the nunciature.

7:50 a.m.
Farewell to those at the nunciature.

8 a.m.
Transfer by car to Andrews Air Force Base.

8:45 a.m.
Departure by air to New York.

9:45 a.m.
Arrival at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

10 a.m.
Transfer by helicopter to Manhattan.

10:30 a.m.
Arrival at the Wall Street heliport and transfer by car to the United Nations headquarters.

10:45 a.m.
Visit to the United Nations. Speech by the pope to the U.N. General Assembly followed by greetings to the staff and personnel.

1:45 p.m.
Transfer by car to the residence of the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations.

5:45 p.m.
Transfer by car to St. Joseph's Church in New York.

6 p.m.
Ecumenical meeting in St. Joseph's Church. Speech by pope.

7:15 p.m.
Transfer by car to the permanent observer's residence.

7:30 p.m.
Dinner with the U.S. cardinals, the officers of the U.S. bishops' conference and members of the papal entourage.
Saturday, April 19 8:45 a.m. (New York) Transfer by car to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

9:15 a.m.
Mass with priests, men and women religious in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Homily by pope.

11:30 a.m.
Transfer on foot to the residence of the archbishop of New York.

Lunch with Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York, the auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese and the papal entourage

1:15 p.m.
Transfer by popemobile to the residence of the permanent observer.

4 p.m.
Transfer by car to St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers.

4:30 p.m.
Meeting with young people and with seminarians at St. Joseph Seminary. Speech by pope.

6:30 p.m.
Transfer by car to the permanent observer's residence.
Sunday, April 20 9:10 a.m. (New York, Rome) Transfer by car to Ground Zero.

9:30 a.m.
Visit to Ground Zero. Prayer by pope.

10 a.m.
Transfer by car to the permanent observer's residence.

1:50 p.m.
Transfer by car to Yankee Stadium.

2:30 p.m.
Mass in Yankee Stadium. Homily by pope.

4:45 p.m.
Transfer by car to the permanent observer's residence.

7 p.m.
Transfer by car to the Wall Street heliport.

7:20 p.m.
Arrival at the Wall Street heliport.

7:30 p.m.
Transfer by helicopter to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

8 p.m.
Arrival at airport for farewell ceremony. Speech by pope.

8:30 p.m.
Departure for Rome.
Monday, April 21 10:45 a.m. (4:45 a.m. ET) (Rome) Arrival at Rome's Ciampino airport.
Adapted from "Itinerary: Pope Benedict XVI's U.S. Trip" FOXNews (April 15, 2008)


Anonymous said...

Not that Bush and the Chinese President are in good relations, but the Chinese President definitely has a lot more to offer than the Pope, if he chooses to; yet Bush refused to offer the Chinese President a White House dinner. What's more bizarre is the Chinese President has not taken the insult personally or officially. Has Hu no shame? Has China no shame? Is the trade with the U.S. so important that an insult is taken and forgotten? China cannot demand respect from anyone with that kind of behavior.

Brian H. Gill said...


Thank you for that comment.

Whether or not China "as a lot more to offer than the Pope," depends on what aspect of existence is considered.

It's true that the Vatican has virtually no capacity for manufacturing large quantities, lead-tainted or otherwise, of inexpensive toys, and has limited software production facilities.

However, there's more to life than consumer products. Although I have not researched the topic thoroughly, I suspect that the comparative record the Vatican and the Chinese government, regarding human rights violations, might have something to do with the dining arrangements.

If I were to advise the current leaders of China, I would suggest that they would gain greater respect by: following the British example of granting independence to conquered territories; and treating their Muslim minority as something other than alleged perpetrators of terroristic acts inside China. ("Report: China thwarts terrorist attacks" CNN (March 9, 2008))

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.