Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Benedict XVI reflects on U.S. visit, recalls highlights

Vatican City, Apr 30, 2008 / 10:06 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict dedicated his reflections today to his recent apostolic journey to the United States, which, he said, in its multicultural plurality and founded on the basis of a "happy marriage" of religious principles, ethical and political rights, is an example of healthy secularism.

Recalling each stage of his journey, the Holy Father expressed gratitude for being able to announce the gospel of hope, as well as his appreciation for all those who welcomed him and for those who supported him in prayer during the journey.

After noting how the motive for his U.S. visit was the bi-centenary of the elevation of the country's first diocese, Baltimore, to the status of metropolitan archdiocese, and the foundation of the sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville, the Holy Father affirmed that his aim had been "to announce to everyone the message that 'Christ is our Hope', the phrase which was the theme of my visit".

During his meeting with President Bush at the White House, Pope Benedict said he had an opportunity to "pay tribute" to a nation where the "the religious dimension in the diversity of its expressions, is not only tolerated but valued as a ‘soul’ of the nation and the guarantee of fundamental rights and duties."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Papal Intention Focuses on Values-Based Culture

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 29, 2008 ( Benedict XVI's general prayer intention for May is for a culture that defends and promotes the values of the human person.

The Apostleship of Prayer announced the general intention chosen by the Pope, "That Christians may use literature, art and the mass media to greater advantage in order to favor a culture which defends and promotes the values of the human person.

"The Holy Father also chooses a missionary intention for each month. In May he will pray, "That the Virgin Mary, star of evangelization and queen of the apostles, may still guide today with maternal affection the missionaries, both men and women, throughout the world, just as she accompanied the apostles in the early stages of the Church."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sowing the joy of the Gospel is the mission of the Church, Pope Benedict says

Pope Benedict XVI

Vatican City, Apr 27, 2008 / 11:21 am (CNA).- Appearing in the window of his study shortly after a Mass in which he ordained 29 deacons to the priesthood, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday told the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square that the mission of the Church is to "sow in the world the joy of the Gospel."

Delivering his Regina Coeli address, the Holy Father noted the hopefulness he experienced during his visit to the United States, he greeted the Eastern churches who celebrated Easter on Sunday, and he exhorted the faithful to pray for troubled countries in Africa.

The Holy Father said the annual ordination Mass he had just completed is a moment of special grace when "renewed sap is infused into the fabric of the Church Community." He also examined the duties of priests to bring joy to the world.

"If the presence of priests is indispensable for the life of the Church, it is nevertheless valuable for everyone," he said. "In the Acts of the Apostles, [St. Luke] states that the deacon Philip brought the Gospel to a city of Samaria; people received enthusiastically his preaching, even seeing signs of the prodigious nature of the gospel in the healing of the sick, 'and there was great joy in that city'." (cf. Acts 1, 8).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Michael Novak on Pope's U.S. Visit (Part 2)

Interview With Theologian and Author

By Carrie Gress

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 23, 2008 ( With the election of Benedict XVI on the heels of Pope John Paul II's papacy, we have the best of both worlds, says Michael Novak.

Novak is a theologian, former ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights, and author of nearly 30 books, including the forthcoming "No One Sees God."

In this interview with ZENIT, Novak discusses the Pope's address at the United Nations and his relationship with youth.

Q: What was your reaction to the Pope's address to the United Nations?

Novak: Part of his statement was standard, and repetitive of past statements, but part was very original and penetrating. The Pope emphasized that what is crucial for the United Nations and the world of the future is the protection of religious liberty. Religious liberty is the most basic of all liberties because it protects the precious conscience of every person. He spoke of the need to protect religious minorities. Implicitly, he defended the concept of equality before the law, and his comments relied on the establishment of the rule of law -- and probably also, of pluralistic democracies, of the sort that respect human rights.

But he did not stop at religious liberty. The United Nations, he said, must work to create room for religious people to speak of their faith and to argue from their faith in the public square. The public square does not belong only to secular people.

These passages brought to mind his exchange of letters with then president of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera, in a volume called in English "Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam." There, the Pope pointed out that in America the separation of church and state is not negative, but positive. For example, the state does not try to control the public square, but it allows room for religious people to fully express themselves in the religious sphere. While church and state are separate in their functions, in actual life there can be no separation of religion and the political dimension of life. Each human person is at the same time a religious and a political being.

In those essays, he also distinguished the American idea of the separation of church and state from the European idea, which is very negative. What the Europeans do is give the state all the power and try to drive religion out, limiting it to the domain of private conscience. It has been rare for Europeans to see the difference between Europe and America so clearly, and at least in this one respect, to command the American side of the argument. That was the spirit that seemed to animate many of his remarks in America.

At one point at the White House, the President quoted St. Augustine and Pope Benedict. And for his part, the Holy Father quoted George Washington. It was rather nice. I don't remember a Pope analyzing an American text in such a scholarly but easily understandable way. One hasn't often heard the Vatican make such distinctions.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Michael Novak on Pope's U.S. Visit (Part 1)

Interview With Theologian and Author

By Carrie Gress

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 22, 2008 ( The United States gave a warm welcome to Benedict XVI when he arrived to the nation, and it must have been a little bit of a surprise for the Pope, says Michael Novak.

Novak is a theologian, former ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, and author of nearly 30 books, including the forthcoming "No One Sees God."

In part 1 of this interview with ZENIT, Novak discusses the Pope's reception in the United States, his comments on the sexual abuse crisis, and his address to Catholic educators.

Part 2 will appear Wednesday.

Q: What were your general impressions about the Pope's reception to the United States?

Novak: It must have surprised the Pope and his secretary and others what a tremendously warm welcome Washington and New York gave him.

You can know the Church in America abstractly, but when you compare it with other industrial nations, the people here are so religious that the churches are still full and the loyalty to the Holy See is very, very strong. 80% of Catholics in a Pew poll taken before Pope Benedict arrived said he was doing a good or a very good job. They approved him, they like him. I don't think it is like that in most of Europe.

I was at the arrival ceremony at the White House. The warmth of feeling for the Pope was tangible, and so was the good chemistry between the Pope and President George Bush. The warm feeling was very powerful. Both President and Pope looked very happy. I thought the Pope probably had never met an evangelical Protestant from Texas before, and I think he was getting a big kick out of it--the brashness, straightforwardness, and directness.

And then there is the manifest respect and love that President Bush has for the Pope. They are palpable.

President Bush has been grateful for the support of prayers from Catholics. He has done his best to soak up Catholic wisdom and Catholic ways of thinking about things. I don't think we are ever going to get a more Catholic president. Even the "Washington Post" said the other day that he is the "first Catholic president."

It seemed to me, though I don't see him everyday, that the Pope was overjoyed by the reception of the crowds. I wonder if Europeans expected this outpouring of love and affection from the people of America. People around the world portray Americans to be more secular, more detached, more modern, and perhaps more decadent. To the European mind, 'Modern' means 'secular.' But in the American case, that's false. Here, modern means religious, not secular.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Benedict XVI's US Farewell Address

"I Assure You of My Affection and Friendship in the Lord"

NEW YORK, APRIL 21, 2008 ( Here is the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday evening at the farewell ceremony of his US visit, held at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

* * *

Mr. Vice-President,
Distinguished Civil Authorities,
My Brother Bishops,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The time has come for me to bid farewell to your country. These days that I have spent in the United States have been blessed with many memorable experiences of American hospitality, and I wish to express my deep appreciation to all of you for your kind welcome. It has been a joy for me to witness the faith and devotion of the Catholic community here. It was heart-warming to spend time with leaders and representatives of other Christian communities and other religions, and I renew my assurances of respect and esteem to all of you. I am grateful to President Bush for kindly coming to greet me at the start of my visit, and I thank Vice-President Cheney for his presence here as I depart. The civic authorities, workers and volunteers in Washington and New York have given generously of their time and resources in order to ensure the smooth progress of my visit at every stage, and for this I express my profound thanks and appreciation to Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington and Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pope leaves thanking America and pointing to Christ our Hope

New York, Apr 20, 2008 / 08:14 pm (CNA).- Pope Benedict took his leave this evening from the United States at JFK International Airport in the presence of over 3,000 well-wishers.

“The time has come for me to bid farewell to your country,” the Pope said.

“These days that I have spent in the United States have been blessed with many memorable experiences of American hospitality, and I wish to express my deep appreciation to all of you for your kind welcome. It has been a joy for me to witness the faith and devotion of the Catholic community here,’ Benedict XVI shared.

The Holy Father then recalled the various highlights of his trip:

“It was heart-warming to spend time with leaders and representatives of other Christian communities and other religions, and I renew my assurances of respect and esteem to all of you. I am grateful to President Bush for kindly coming to greet me at the start of my visit, and I thank Vice-President Cheney for his presence here as I depart. The civic authorities, workers and volunteers in Washington and New York have given generously of their time and resources in order to ensure the smooth progress of my visit at every stage, and for this I express my profound thanks and appreciation to Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington and Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York.”

Benedict Celebrates Mass at Yankee Stadium

Mike Segar/Reuters

New York Times
By SEWELL CHAN 9 minutes ago

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in the Popemobile to celebrate Mass for a crowd of nearly 60,000 at Yankee Stadium.

Live Video: Mass at Yankee Stadium Text of Homily

Pope’s Homily at Yankee Stadium

New York Times
Published: April 20, 2008

Following is the prepared text of Pope Benedict XVI’s homily in the Mass at Yankee Stadium on April 20, as supplied by Vatican.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus tells his Apostles to put their faith in him, for he is “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). Christ is the way that leads to the Father, the truth which gives meaning to human existence, and the source of that life which is eternal joy with all the saints in his heavenly Kingdom. Let us take the Lord at his word! Let us renew our faith in him and put all our hope in his promises!

With this encouragement to persevere in the faith of Peter (cf. Lk 22:32; Mt 16:17), I greet all of you with great affection. I thank Cardinal Egan for his cordial words of welcome in your name. At this Mass, the Church in the United States celebrates the 200th anniversary of the creation of the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville from the mother See of Baltimore. The presence around this altar of the Successor of Peter, his brother bishops and priests, and deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful from throughout the 50 states of the Union, eloquently manifests our communion in the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles.

Our celebration today is also a sign of the impressive growth which God has given to the Church in your country in the past two hundred years. From a small flock like that described in the first reading, the Church in America has been built up in fidelity to the twin commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. In this land of freedom and opportunity, the Church has united a widely diverse flock in the profession of the faith and, through her many educational, charitable and social works, has also contributed significantly to the growth of American society as a whole.

Benedict the star this day in Big Apple

Pope Benedict XVI arrived to a deafening roar from the crowd at Yankee Stadium this afternoon.

The Washington Times - 12 minutes ago
Julia Duin
April 20, 2008

NEW YORK — The Big Apple"s farewell Mass with Pope Benedict XVI first appeared like a cross between a Las Vegas revue and a Billy Graham crusade.

Performances by singer Stephanie Mills, guitarist Jose Feliciano and pianist Harry Connick Jr., the latter singing “How Great Thou Art,” entertained a crowd of 57,000 who had been in their seats since before noon.

The main altar was placed over a large, diamond-shaped stage that was moved into place soon after Thursday"s Yankees-Red Sox game. In the midst of the diamond was a large papal shield with yellow and white ribbons radiating from it. Purple and yellow bunting attached to gold rose medallions.

Near the end of the pre-Mass show, a large group of liturgical dancers appeared on the field waving origami-style large white paper doves on large poles. As they finished, a flock of real doves was released into the sky.

Pope Benedict XVI's Mass at Yankee Stadium

Posted: Sunday, 20 April 2008 3:07PM

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Pope Benedict XVI arrived in storied Yankee Stadium on Sunday for his final Mass in America, cheered by a joyous crowd after making a solemn stop at the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Tens of thousands of Roman Catholics filled the stadium, chanting, clapping and waving white and yellow handkerchiefs in the Vatican's colors as the white popemobile pulled in.
more and to Listen Live...

Pope celebrating Yankee Stadium Mass

By Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY

NEW YORK — In the last major event of his six-day American visit, Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating Sunday Mass at Yankee Stadium, where more than 50,000 have gathered to hear his words.

The popemobile circled the interior of the stadium about 2:20 p.m. ET Sunday, with the pope waving to the cheering crowd. Many in the audience waved handkerchiefs as the pope passed them.

Thousands more of the faithful waited outside of the stadium, hoping to catch a glance of the pope as he arrived.

"It's an inspiration. Just like Christ humbled himself to be with us, the pope humbled himself to come to the Bronx and be with us." said Elizabeth Ocasio, 45, who lives in the New York borough. She was among the crowd that was in some places 10 people deep outside of the stadium.

VIDEO: Pope asks God for 'peace in our violent world'
PHOTOS: Benedict visits St. Patrick's Cathedral
POPE IN NYC: Asks for healing from sex-abuse scandal
STREET VIEW: Supporters greet pope in NYC parade
FULL COVERAGE: Interactive map, photos, more

Mary Walek, 51, drove to New York from her home town of Attleboro, Mass. for a glimpse of the pope outside of the stadium.

"I wasn't optimistic that I would get tickets, but I was optimistic that I would be able to stand in the shadow of the successor of St. Peter," she said.

"Size-wise, it's like a Yankee crowd, but it's a whole different atmosphere," said Louie Dituri, who owns the Yankee Eatery across the street from the stadium. "Yankee fans are excited about the game. These people are excited about more important things."

Pope Benedict XVI pays solemn visit to Ground Zero

New York, Apr 20, 2008 / 09:03 am (CNA).- When Pope Benedict XVI was asked what he wanted to do when he came to the United States, he told his staff he wanted to make sure he visited Ground Zero. This morning the Holy Father just did this that.

Sixteen family members, 4 first responders and 4 survivors were present as the Pope descended the ramp down into the pit where the Twin Towers once stood, knelt and silently prayed.

After lighting a candle, the Holy Father offered a prayer for the victims, their families and those who survived all three attacks on 9/11.

He prayed:

“We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here-
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.”

“We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.”

The Pope also prayed for peace in “our violent world; peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the earth.”

He then prayed for conversion of all “those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred.”

After concluding his prayer, Pope Benedict blessed Ground Zero and the people present with holy water.

The 24 people invited to the ceremony then met individually with the Pope.

To read the whole prayer click here.

Reuters Sun Apr 20, 10:12 AM ET
Enlarge photo...

Pope Benedict XVI, wearing white, visits the Ground Zero site of the collapsed World Trade Center in New York April 20, 2008.REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES)

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Pope To Bless Ground Zero In NYC

Benedict To Also Conduct Sunday Mass At Yankee Stadium

POSTED: 8:13 am EDT April 20, 2008

NEW YORK -- Pope Benedict XVI has reached out in compassion to beleaguered clergy, victims of clergy sex abuse and members of other religious groups during his first U.S. trip.

Video Slideshow Special Section

On the final day of his journey, he turns his focus to the people of New York, in a prayer service Sunday at the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Benedict has invited 24 people with ties to ground zero to join him: survivors, relatives of victims and four rescue workers. He will pray for peace, hope and healing, including for those who became ill after breathing toxic air in the ruins.

More than 2,700 people were killed in the terrorist strike.

"God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world," the pope is expected to pray. "Turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred."

The site where the World Trade Center was destroyed is normally filled with hundreds of workers building a 102-story skyscraper, a memorial and transit hub. It bears little resemblance to the debris-filled pit where crews toiled to remove twisted steel and victims' remains.

Benedict will travel down a ramp now used mostly by construction trucks to a spot by the north tower's footprint. He will kneel in silent prayer and bless the ground with holy water, acknowledging the many faiths of the victims at the "scene of incredible violence and pain."

The remains of more than 1,100 people have never been identified.

Benedict will be joined by New York Cardinal Edward Egan and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. New York Gov. David Paterson and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine have also been invited. The land is owned and managed by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

Later Sunday, the pope will celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium, before returning to Rome.

Pope Big Hit With Youth

On Saturday, Benedict received a hero's welcome at a youth rally in Yonkers, N.Y.

The festive crowd of 25,000 burst into wild cheers when Benedict first acknowledged them from the stage. The shy theologian took time to reach out and shake hands with the ecstatic faithful in the front rows. The youngsters, meanwhile, sang "Happy Birthday" to the pope, who turned 81 on Wednesday, in his native German.

Flock Feeling his "Charisma of Sincerity"

MASS APPEAL: Benedict presides at St. Pat's yesterday.

New York Post
April 20, 2008 --

YOU knew he had arrived by the cheer that welled up from the street. It was electric. Suddenly inside the cathedral, where 3,000 people were waiting, it turned quiet and everyone turned. And now the great huge doors of St. Patrick's opened and sunlight poured in, crashed down, and there was the pope, and the crowd - nuns and religious, deacons and priests, meaning a lot of people who actually deserved to be there - sent a wave of applause crashing against the old Gothic dome.

He reacted the way we now know Benedict does. Modest, meek, surprised by love, and then gamely, nodding, throwing his arms wide. You should have seen the nuns, Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, Mother Agnes' Sisters of Life, from Yonkers, dozens of other orders. As he passed down the center aisle, they would reach out, rows of arms in robes reaching toward him.

It was beautiful. If you didn't get choked up, you weren't alive.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Do not let darkness stifle your hope, says Pope

Youth Rally

“Take courage! Fix your gaze on our saints.”
06:25 pm

YONKERS, NY, Apr 19, 2008 (CNA) .- Before a youth rally of an estimated 25,000 people, Pope Benedict XVI spoke on hope and freedom, stressing the “journey of hope” made manifest in the lives of the saints.
more with Video available...

Holy Father expected to address vocations in seminary in Yonkers

New York, Apr 19, 2008 / 02:04 pm (CNA).- The Holy Father is expected to address the topic of vocations to the priesthood when he visits Saint Joseph’s Seminary, in the Yonkers section of New York City this evening. Its students and graduates also affectionately refer to Saint Joseph’s Seminary as “Dunwoodie”.

Archbishop Michael Corrigan originally founded the school in May of 1891. He wanted the formational program of seminary education closer to the city of New York, so he could participate on a more regular basis with their formation. The school began the academic formation of priests in 1896 and there were only 96 students. When it was completed the buildings of the Dunwoodie Seminary were considered the grandest and most comfortable educational environments in the United States. According to historical accounts, Dunwoodie was considered the second most important educational facility in the United States, ranked second after Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

The first papal visit to this institution was in 1995 by Pope John Paul II. The current Holy Father, Benedict XVI however is no stranger to the school. When he was a Cardinal and a Vatican Curia official, he presented a theological lecture series in the late 1990’s.

Reuters Sat Apr 19, 4:17 PM ET
Enlarge photo...

Pope Benedict XVI waves from inside his Popemobile as his motorcade makes its way along Fifth Avenue in New York April, 19, 2008 .REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES)

Text: Pope Benedict's Homily

New York Times
Published: April 20, 2008

Following is the text of Pope Benedict XVI’s homily at a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for priests, deacons and members of religious orders on April 19, as supplied by the Vatican and checked against delivery.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

With great affection in the Lord, I greet all of you, who represent the Bishops, priests and deacons, the men and women in consecrated life, and the seminarians of the United States. I thank Cardinal Egan for his warm welcome and the good wishes which he has expressed in your name as I begin the fourth year of my papal ministry. I am happy to celebrate this Mass with you, who have been chosen by the Lord, who have answered his call, and who devote your lives to the pursuit of holiness, the spread of the Gospel and the building up of the Church in faith, hope and love.

Gathered as we are in this historic cathedral, how can we not think of the countless men and women who have gone before us, who labored for the growth of the Church in the United States, and left us a lasting legacy of faith and good works? In today’s first reading we saw how, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles went forth from the Upper Room to proclaim God’s mighty works to people of every nation and tongue. In this country, the Church’s mission has always involved drawing people “from every nation under heaven” (cf. Acts 2:5) into spiritual unity, and enriching the Body of Christ by the variety of their gifts. As we give thanks for His past blessings, and look to the challenges of the future, let us implore from God the grace of a new Pentecost for the Church in America. May tongues of fire, combining burning love of God and neighbor with zeal for the spread of Christ’s Kingdom, descend on all present!

In this morning’s second reading, Saint Paul reminds us that spiritual unity — the unity which reconciles and enriches diversity — has its origin and supreme model in the life of the triune God. As a communion of pure love and infinite freedom, the Blessed Trinity constantly brings forth new life in the work of creation and redemption. The Church, as “a people made one by the unity of the Father, the Son and the Spirit” (cf. Lumen Gentium, 4), is called to proclaim the gift of life, to serve life, and to promote a culture of life. Here in this cathedral, our thoughts turn naturally to the heroic witness to the Gospel of life borne by the late Cardinals Cooke and O’Connor. The proclamation of life, life in abundance, must be the heart of the new evangelization. For true life — our salvation — can only be found in the reconciliation, freedom and love which are God’s gracious gift.

This is the message of hope we are called to proclaim and embody in a world where self-centeredness, greed, violence, and cynicism often seem to choke the fragile growth of grace in people’s hearts. Saint Irenaeus, with great insight, understood that the command which Moses enjoined upon the people of Israel: “Choose life!” (Dt 30:19) was the ultimate reason for our obedience to all God’s commandments (cf. Adv. Haer. IV, 16, 2-5). Perhaps we have lost sight of this: in a society where the Church seems legalistic and “institutional” to many people, our most urgent challenge is to communicate the joy born of faith and the experience of God’s love.

Pope calls for a new Pentecost to launch renewal of American Church

Pope Benedict XVI celebrating Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral

New York, Apr 19, 2008 / 10:26 am (CNA).- Six thousand people flocked to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York this morning for a Mass that Pope Benedict celebrated for clergy and religious. In his homily, Benedict XVI called for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church in America so that it can overcome divisions and allow all of its gifts to be spent for the sake of spreading the Gospel.

After thanking Cardinal Egan for his welcome and recalling the examples of the pioneers of the Catholic Church in America, Pope Benedict turned to the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

“As we give thanks for past blessings, and look to the challenges of the future, let us implore from God the grace of a new Pentecost for the Church in America. May tongues of fire, combining burning love of God and neighbor with zeal for the spread of Christ’s Kingdom, descend on all present!” he exclaimed.

The Pontiff then pointed to the example of the late Cardinals Cooke and O’Connor whose “heroic witness to the Gospel of life” should inspire this kind of zeal. “The proclamation of life, life in abundance, must be the heart of the new evangelization,” the Pope said.

St. Patrick's Welcomes Pope Benedict XVI

Pontiff To Celebrate Mass At Famous Cathedral, Then Visit Yonkers Seminary

CBS 2 HD Has Your Road Closure Advisories

Reporting Sean Hennessey

NEW YORK (CBS) ― Pope Benedict XVI will begin the second day of his visit to New York by celebrating mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral at 9 a.m.

"There's nothing more thrilling I guess short of Jesus Christ himself coming down from heaven and being with us," Deacon Eric Kunz said.

Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral, amidst the pictures and prayers, priests were practicing their papal procession Friday.

"We're ready to go, we're ready to go. I mean we're very excited," said Father Michael Sullivan, the master of ceremonies at St. Patrick's.

Then there were some sisters, who drove 14 hours from Indiana to try to get a good look at Pope Benedict.

"It's really exciting," Maria Gemma said. "I can't believe we're actually in the same church where the pope is going to be tomorrow. Unbelievable.'"

Friday, April 18, 2008

Watch Pope Benedict's speech to the U.N.

Matt Campbell / EPA


Pope Benedict addresses United Nations
Pontiff says human rights are the key to solving many of the world’s problems.

Watch his speech

Pope addresses global audience at U.N.

Pontiff says human rights the key to solving many of the world's problems

Keith Bedford / Reuters

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives at JFK International Airport on Friday.
View related photos

MSNBC News Services
updated 1 hour, 5 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Pope Benedict XVI told diplomats at the United Nations on Friday that respect for human rights was the key to solving many of the world's problems, while cautioning that international cooperation was threatened by "the decisions of a small number."

The pontiff, addressing the U.N. General Assembly on his first papal trip to the U.S., said the organization's work is vital. But he raised concerns that power is concentrated in just a handful of nations.

"Multilateral consensus," he said, speaking in French, "continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a small number."

Vatican Connects Pope Benedict XVI To E-Mail

The Pope's Email Address:

MIAMI (CBS4) ― On Thursday, the Vatican said it was modifying its Web site so users who click on a "Greetings to the Holy Father" icon on the home page automatically activate an e-mail to Pope Benedict XVI. Click on Pope Benedict XVI to send an e-mail.

The Holy See hasn't said how many messages the pope has gotten, but if the late John Paul II's experience with a multimedia ministry is any guide, the new leader of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics will have a jammed inbox.
(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Associated Press Fri Apr 18, 12:20 PM ET
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Pope Benedict XVI enters the General Assembly Hall Friday, April 18, 2008 at the United Nations headquarters.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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Pope Benedict XVI’s Address to the U.N. General Assembly

New York Times
Published: April 19, 2008

Following is the text of Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on April 18, as supplied by the Vatican and checked against delivery. The remarks were delivered partly in French and partly in English.

[In French]

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I begin my address to this Assembly, I would like first of all to express to you, Mr. President, my deep gratitude for your kind words. My thanks go also to the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, who has invited me to visit the headquarters of this Organization and to thank him for the welcome he has given me. I greet the Ambassadors and Diplomats of Member States, and all those present. Through you, I send greetings the peoples whom you represent here. They expect this institution to carry forward the founding inspiration to establish a "centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends" of peace and development (cf. Charter of the United Nations, article 1.2-1.4). As Pope John Paul II expressed in 1995, the Organization must be "a moral center where all the nations of the world feel at home and develop a shared awareness of being, as it were, a ’family of nations’" (Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on the 50th Anniversary of its Foundation, New York, 5 October 1995, 14).

Through the United Nations, States have established universal objectives which, even if they do not fully coincide with the total well-being of the human family, nevertheless represent a fundamental part of it. The founding principles of the Organization — the desire for peace, the quest for justice, respect for the dignity of the individual, and humanitarian cooperation and assistance — express the just aspirations of the human spirit, and constitute the ideals which must underlie international relations. As my predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II have observed from this very podium, this is all part of the realities that the Catholic Church and the Holy See regard attentively and with interest, seeing in your activity an example of how problems and conflicts affecting the world community can benefit from common settlement. The United Nations embodies the aspiration for a "greater degree of international ordering" (John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 43), inspired and governed by the principle of subsidiarity, and therefore capable of responding to the demands of the human family through binding international rules and through structures capable of harmonizing the day-to-day unfolding of the lives of peoples. This is all the more necessary in the current context, when we are witnessing the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a small number, while the world’s problems require from the international community that it act on a common basis.

Indeed, questions of security, the development goals, the reduction of inequalities, both locally and globally, the protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate, require that all international leaders act together and show a readiness to work in good faith, in respect of the rule of law, to promote solidarity in the most fragile regions of the planet. I am thinking especially of those countries in Africa and on other continents which are still excluded from authentic integral development, and are therefore at risk of experiencing only the negative effects of globalization. In the context of international relations, we must recognize the higher role played by rules and structures that are intrinsically ordered to promote the common good, and therefore to safeguard human freedom. These regulations do not limit freedom. On the contrary, they promote it when they prohibit behavior and actions which work against the common good, curb its effective exercise and hence compromise the dignity of every human being. In the name of liberty, there has to be a correlation between rights and responsibilities, on the basis of which every individual is called to shoulder responsibility for his or her choices, while taking into account relations with other people. Here our thoughts turn also to the way the results of scientific research and technological advances have sometimes been used. While recognizing the immense benefits that humanity can draw from them, some of the uses constitute a clear violation of the order of creation, to the point where not only is the sacred character of life contradicted, but the human person and the family are robbed of their natural identity. Likewise, international action to preserve the environment and to protect various forms of life on earth must not only guarantee a rational use of technology and science, but must also rediscover the authentic image of creation. This never requires a choice to be made between science and ethics: rather it is a question of adopting a scientific method that is truly respectful of ethical imperatives.

LIVE Coverage: Pope's speech before the U.N.

Kim Wendel
Created: 4/18/2008 9:09:48 AM
Updated:4/18/2008 10:07:57 AM

Watch live

Reuters Fri Apr 18, 10:10 AM ET
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Pope Benedict XVI gestures as he arrives at JFK International Airport in New York, April 18, 2008.REUTERS/Keith Bedford (UNITED STATES)

Papal visit: Day 4
Reported by: WROC-TV
Friday, Apr 18, 2008 @09:50am EST

(NEW YORK CITY) - Pope Benedict the XVI landed in New York City shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, arriving at JFK International Airport.

The Pope is scheduled to address the United Nations at 10:45 a.m. It is the fourth papal visit to the UN; the last by John Paul II in 1995.

At 6 p.m., the Pope is scheduled to meet with leaders of other Christian faiths in an ecumenical prayer service on Manhattan's east side.

Pope Begins 3-Day Visit to New York

The Pope's Visit
More Photos >

New York Times
Published: April 18, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI is en route to New York for a three-day visit that will include a Friday morning address at the United Nations, Sunday Mass at Yankee Stadium, and an appearance at ground zero.

He is scheduled to touch down at Kennedy International Airport at 9:45 a.m., where he will be greeted by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other city dignitaries.

The address to the General Assembly is a papal tradition: Pope Paul VI made an appearance in 1965, and Pope John Paul II in 1979 and 1995. Some expect the pope to touch on issues related to the current strife in the Middle East, but the exact content of his speech remains unclear.

He will also meet with local Jewish clergy in the afternoon at the Park East Synagogue, a historic Orthodox congregation founded by Austro-Hungarian Jews in 1890. Its leader since 1962, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, is a Holocaust survivor with longtime ties to the Vatican; he has met with two previous popes.

Never before has a pope visited a synagogue in this country; indeed, only two papal visits to synagogues have ever been recorded, both in Europe.

Remarks by the President at National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580

WASHINGTON, April 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following text is of remarks by President Bush at National Catholic Prayer Breakfast:

Washington Hilton Hotel8:33 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for the gracious welcome. Austin, thanks for your kind introduction. Thanks for giving me this unusual speaking opportunity. I understand that this program builds up to another speech. (Laughter.) It's not every day you get to be the warm-up act to the Holy Father. (Laughter.) I'm honored to be here. I do thank Austin for his leadership for the Catholic Prayer Breakfast. I thank the Board of Directors for having me. I thank Archbishop Gomez, tejano, for being here. And I want to thank Bishop Finn, members of the clergy. Thank you for serving our country. Thank you for being men of faith.

I'm proud to be here with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts. (Applause.) He's always looking for a free breakfast. (Laughter.) Proud to be here with members of the United States Senate and Congress. Thank you all for being here. Solicitor General Paul Clement is with us today. (Applause.) Members of my administration, members of the Diplomatic Corps and distinguished guests.

This has been a joyous week. (Applause.) It's been a joyous time for Catholics -- and it wasn't such a bad week for Methodists, either. (Laughter.) The excitement was just palpable. The streets were lined with people that were so thrilled that the Holy Father was here. And it was such a privilege to welcome this good man to the United States.

For those of you on the South Lawn -- who saw the South Lawn ceremony live, it was -- what an unbelievable -- it was just such a special moment. (Applause.) And it was a special moment to be able to visit with the Holy Father in the Oval Office. He is a humble servant of God. He is a brilliant professor. He is a warm and generous soul.

He is courageous in the defense of fundamental truths. (Applause.) His Holiness believes that freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man, woman and child on Earth. He understands that every person has value, or to use his words, "each of us is willed, each of us is loved, [and] each of us is necessary." (Applause.)

The Holy Father strongly believes that to whom much is given much is required -- and he is a messenger of God's call to love our neighbors as we'd like to be loved ourselves.

I've seen how American Catholics are guided by these truths. One of the blessings of being the President is I get to see firsthand how people are motivated by the fundamental truths articulated by the Holy Father. I've watched you live out the Gospel through countless acts of compassion and courage. I've joined with you in striving to heed the Scriptures' noble calling: to see God's image in all mankind, and to uphold the dignity of each human being on Earth. (Applause.)

Together, over the nearly seven and a half years we've worked to uphold the dignity of human life. Over the last -- over the last years, my administration has put a stop to U.S. tax dollars funding foreign groups that perform or promote abortions. (Applause.) We've worked together to protect unborn victims of violence, and to end the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. (Applause.) We have stood fast in our belief that promising medical advances can co-exist with ethical medical practices. (Applause.) Last November, scientists discovered a way to reprogram adult skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells. This is a significant breakthrough, because science -- scientists have found a path that can lead beyond the divisive debates of the past -- and extend the healing potential of medicine without destroying human life. (Applause.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jews and Christians have common spiritual ties and hope for peace, says Pope

Washington DC, Apr 17, 2008 / 11:10 pm (CNA).- In a meeting following his session with leaders of non-Christian religions, Pope Benedict gave a special greeting to the Jewish leaders. He underlined the common spiritual heritage of the two faiths and asked for cooperation between the two faiths in working to achieve peace, particularly in the Middle East and the Holy Land.

The Pope’s message was framed within the context of the annual Jewish celebration of the Passover or “Pesah”. He also explained that the message should serve as “a testimony to our hope centered on the Almighty and his mercy.”

Benedict began drawing upon the common spiritual roots of Judaism and Christianity by saying, “While the Christian celebration of Easter differs in many ways from your celebration of Pesah, we understand and experience it in continuation with the biblical narrative of the mighty works which the Lord accomplished for his people.”

The Pontiff also said that he wanted to “re-affirm the Second Vatican Council's teaching on Catholic-Jewish relations and reiterate the Church's commitment to the dialogue that in the past forty years has fundamentally changed our relationship for the better.”

Sex abuse victims get chance to meet with Pope Benedict

Washington DC, Apr 17, 2008 / 07:36 pm (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI has now raised the topic of the sex abuse scandal three times in the last two days, and on Thursday afternoon, he held a private meetings with a group of sex abuse victims.

The director of the Vatican’s Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, told the Associated Press that Pope Benedict and Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, “met with a group of five or six victims for about 25 minutes in the chapel of the papal embassy, offering them encouragement and hope.”

According to Lombardi, the Holy Father told the survivors he would pray for them, their families and all victims of clergy sex abuse. The private audiences with the Pope each lasted for a several minutes and during the course of the meetings some survivors wept, Lombardi said.

This marks the fourth time that Benedict XVI has addressed the sex abuse scandal in some way. During his plane ride to the US he expressed his "deep shame" over the crisis and pledged to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood. On Wednesday night, he told the nation's bishops that the crisis was "sometimes very badly handled," and said they must reach out with love and compassion to victims. This morning at the Nationals Stadium Mass he also called on Catholic parishioners to do what they can to reach out to victims.

Did pope approve of American mass?

The Seeker
By Manya Brachear
Originally posted: April 17, 2008

It was clear from the start of the papal mass in Nationals Park Thursday that the event would be a truly American Catholic celebration. Prayers and readings were delivered in a number of languages. And the gifts and Eucharist were accompanied by musical arrangements with Native American and Gospel flavor. But was Pope Benedict XVI pleased?

Rev. Richard Neuhaus, editor of First Things magazine, said he thinks the “liturgical and musical stew” probably “tried Benedict's patience a good deal." A pundit for EWTN, which broadcasted the mass in its entirety, Neuhaus called the mass an example of "preening multicultural exhibitionism" and "a great mish mash of almost everything.”

But Rev. Jeremiah Boland, pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church on Chicago’s near West Side, thought the mass was a vibrant reflection of American culture.

“I think this being the capital of the country and this being the national mass by its nature, it wanted to reflect the cultural diversity of the United States,” Boland told me by phone as he waited inside the stadium after helping to celebrate mass with the pope. “The mass … was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever been at.”

Boland started his day at 7:30 a.m. hearing confessions at Nationals Park. Wearing a white alb and red stole, Boland was seated near the main altar where he had a clear view of Pope Benedict.

“The pope is such a prayerful person,” Boland said. “You have a 46,000 people in the stadium. I can’t imagine maintaining a sense of solemnity. He really led the prayer so beautifully … He spoke so much from the heart and directly about things.”

Pope's Address at Nationals Stadium

"Americans Have Always Been a People of Hope"

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 17, 2008 ( Here is the homily Benedict XVI gave today during Mass at Washington Nationals stadium.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"Peace be with you!" (Jn 20:19). With these, the first words of the Risen Lord to his disciples, I greet all of you in the joy of this Easter season. Before all else, I thank God for the blessing of being in your midst. I am particularly grateful to Archbishop Wuerl for his kind words of welcome.

Our Mass today brings the Church in the United States back to its roots in nearby Maryland, and commemorates the bicentennial of the first chapter of its remarkable growth -- the division by my predecessor, Pope Pius VII, of the original Diocese of Baltimore and the establishment of the Dioceses of Boston, Bardstown (now Louisville), New York and Philadelphia. Two hundred years later, the Church in America can rightfully praise the accomplishment of past generations in bringing together widely differing immigrant groups within the unity of the Catholic faith and in a common commitment to the spread of the Gospel. At the same time, conscious of its rich diversity, the Catholic community in this country has come to appreciate ever more fully the importance of each individual and group offering its own particular gifts to the whole. The Church in the United States is now called to look to the future, firmly grounded in the faith passed on by previous generations, and ready to meet new challenges -- challenges no less demanding than those faced by your forebears -- with the hope born of God’s love, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 5:5).

In the exercise of my ministry as the Successor of Peter, I have come to America to confirm you, my brothers and sisters, in the faith of the Apostles (cf. Lk 22:32). I have come to proclaim anew, as Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost, that Jesus Christ is Lord and Messiah, risen from the dead, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, and established as judge of the living and the dead (cf. Acts 2:14ff.). I have come to repeat the Apostle’s urgent call to conversion and the forgiveness of sins, and to implore from the Lord a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in this country. As we have heard throughout this Easter season, the Church was born of the Spirit’s gift of repentance and faith in the risen Lord. In every age she is impelled by the same Spirit to bring to men and women of every race, language and people (cf. Rev 5:9) the good news of our reconciliation with God in Christ.

The readings of today’s Mass invite us to consider the growth of the Church in America as one chapter in the greater story of the Church’s expansion following the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. In those readings we see the inseparable link between the risen Lord, the gift of the Spirit for the forgiveness of sins, and the mystery of the Church. Christ established his Church on the foundation of the Apostles (cf. Rev 21:14) as a visible, structured community which is at the same time a spiritual communion, a mystical body enlivened by the Spirit’s manifold gifts, and the sacrament of salvation for all humanity (cf. Lumen Gentium, 8). In every time and place, the Church is called to grow in unity through constant conversion to Christ, whose saving work is proclaimed by the Successors of the Apostles and celebrated in the sacraments. This unity, in turn, gives rise to an unceasing missionary outreach, as the Spirit spurs believers to proclaim "the great works of God" and to invite all people to enter the community of those saved by the blood of Christ and granted new life in his Spirit.

I pray, then, that this significant anniversary in the life of the Church in the United States, and the presence of the Successor of Peter in your midst, will be an occasion for all Catholics to reaffirm their unity in the apostolic faith, to offer their contemporaries a convincing account of the hope which inspires them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), and to be renewed in missionary zeal for the extension of God’s Kingdom.

The world needs this witness! Who can deny that the present moment is a crossroads, not only for the Church in America but also for society as a whole? It is a time of great promise, as we see the human family in many ways drawing closer together and becoming ever more interdependent. Yet at the same time we see clear signs of a disturbing breakdown in the very foundations of society: signs of alienation, anger and polarization on the part of many of our contemporaries; increased violence; a weakening of the moral sense; a coarsening of social relations; and a growing forgetfulness of God. The Church, too, sees signs of immense promise in her many strong parishes and vital movements, in the enthusiasm for the faith shown by so many young people, in the number of those who each year embrace the Catholic faith, and in a greater interest in prayer and catechesis. At the same time she senses, often painfully, the presence of division and polarization in her midst, as well as the troubling realization that many of the baptized, rather than acting as a spiritual leaven in the world, are inclined to embrace attitudes contrary to the truth of the Gospel.

Benedict XVI calls for renewal of American Church and evangelization

Washington DC, Apr 17, 2008 / 10:07 am (CNA).- Before a crowd of 50,000 people from around the United States, Pope Benedict XVI described the Church in America and society as a whole as being at a crossroads. American Catholics must use this moment to seek conversion, the power of the Holy Spirit and as a chance to bring the witness of Christ to a society in crisis, he said.

The Pope began his homily by recalling the anniversaries of several American dioceses and the witness of the Catholics of the past who built up the Church in these areas.

Given this past, “the Church in the United States is now called to look to the future, firmly grounded in the faith passed on by previous generations, and ready to meet new challenges - challenges no less demanding than those faced by your forebears - with the hope born of God's love, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit”.

He continued by explaining his purpose in his trip. “I have come to repeat the Apostle's urgent call to conversion and the forgiveness of sins, and to implore from the Lord a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in this country.”

Once forgiveness and conversion occur, the Holy Father prayed that Catholics in America will use this momentus occasion “to reaffirm their unity in the apostolic faith, to offer their contemporaries a convincing account of the hope which inspires them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), and to be renewed in missionary zeal for the extension of God's Kingdom.”

“The world needs this witness! Pope Benedict XVI exclaimed.”

“Who can deny that the present moment is a crossroads, not only for the Church in America but also for society as a whole?” he said.

Those who have “taken up the challenge of the Second Vatican Council, so often reiterated by Pope John Paul II, and committed their lives to the new evangelization” also received the encouragement of the Pope.

While highlighting the progress that has been already made in teaching the faith in the US, Pope Benedict called for the cultivation of “a mindset, an intellectual ‘culture’, which is genuinely Catholic, confident in the profound harmony of faith and reason, and prepared to bring the richness of faith's vision to bear on the urgent issues which affect the future of American society.”

Thousands pour into stadium for pope's message

Los Angeles Times
By Tracy Wilkinson and Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
6:48 AM PDT, April 17, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Tens of thousands of the faithful poured into a baseball stadium this morning and cheered as Pope Benedict XVI arrived to deliver his message of hope and reconciliation.

Benedict will deliver the homily this morning at an open-air Mass in the stadium that is home to Baseball's Nationals. Officials said they are expecting 46,000 people.

After two days of official pomp and protocol, this morning's focus will be on Benedict's role as spiritual teacher for the faithful. He is expected to talk about how Jesus Christ brings hope to a world of woes.

It was a sharp contrast, as Benedict, a noted scholar, entered the arena more used to fun and games.

He arrived in the popemobile around 6:30 a.m., PDT. Surrounded by security guards, his vehicle moved around the stadium as the crowd erupted in cheers.

Video of the live Mass can be watched here as well.

Pope Praises U.S., but Warns of Secular Challenges

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

On the White House South Lawn, 13,500 people greeted the pope, along with a 21-gun salute, a fife-and-drum band, two rounds of “Happy Birthday,” and Kathleen Battle singing the Lord’s Prayer.
More Photos >

New York Times
Published: April 17, 2008

WASHINGTON — Pope Benedict XVI visited the White House on Wednesday, his 81st birthday, and praised America as a nation where strong religious belief can coexist with secular society.

But he later warned, in a speech to American bishops, of the “subtle influence of secularism” that can co-opt religious people and lead even Catholics to accept abortion, divorce and co-habitation outside of marriage.

“Is it consistent to profess our beliefs in church on Sunday and then during the week to promote business practices or medical procedures contrary to those beliefs?” he asked in a lengthy address to the bishops. “Is it consistent for practicing Catholics to ignore or exploit the poor and the marginalized, to promote sexual behavior contrary to Catholic moral teaching or to adopt positions that contradict the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death?”

“Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted,” he said.

Pope to US Bishops: Help remove barriers to encountering God

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Text of Pope's speech to bishops

International Herald Tribune
Published: April 17, 2008

Following is the prepared text of Pope Benedict XVI's speech before the bishops of the United States at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, as provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Dear Brother Bishops,

It gives me great joy to greet you today, at the start of my visit to this country, and I thank Cardinal George for the gracious words he has addressed to me on your behalf. I want to thank all of you, especially the Officers of the Episcopal Conference, for the hard work that has gone into the preparation of this visit. My grateful appreciation goes also to the staff and volunteers of the National Shrine, who have welcomed us here this evening. American Catholics are noted for their loyal devotion to the see of Peter. My pastoral visit here is an opportunity to strengthen further the bonds of communion that unite us. We began by celebrating Evening Prayer in this Basilica dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a shrine of special significance to American Catholics, right in the heart of your capital city. Gathered in prayer with Mary, Mother of Jesus, we lovingly commend to our heavenly Father the people of God in every part of the United States.

For the Catholic communities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Louisville, this is a year of particular celebration, as it marks the bicentenary of the establishment of these local Churches as Dioceses. I join you in giving thanks for the many graces granted to the Church there during these two centuries. As this year also marks the bicentenary of the elevation of the founding see of Baltimore to an Archdiocese, it gives me an opportunity to recall with admiration and gratitude the life and ministry of John Carroll, the first Bishop of Baltimore — a worthy leader of the Catholic community in your newly independent nation. His tireless efforts to spread the Gospel in the vast territory under his care laid the foundations for the ecclesial life of your country and enabled the Church in America to grow to maturity. Today the Catholic community you serve is one of the largest in the world, and one of the most influential. How important it is, then, to let your light so shine before your fellow citizens and before the world, "that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Mt 5:16).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Associated Press Wed Apr 16, 6:31 PM ET
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Pope Benedict XVI arrives for Vespers in the Crypt of the United States at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception with the bishops of the United States in Washington, Wednesday, April 16, 2008. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Pope Benedict XVI at the White House

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President and Pope discuss wide range of topics, Middle East prominent

Pope Benedict and President Bush just before their private meeting

Washington DC, Apr 16, 2008 / 02:27 pm (CNA).- After a welcome ceremony filled with displays of Americana and good wishes, Pope Benedict and President Bush met in the Oval Office for a private conversation that centered around achieving peace in the Middle East and other areas of mutual concern.

The 45 minute meeting between the Holy Father and the President was wide ranging, covering many “moral and religious considerations to which both parties are committed,” the White House said in a statement.

Among the topics discussed were, “the respect of the dignity of the human person; the defense and promotion of life, matrimony and the family; the education of future generations; human rights and religious freedom; sustainable development and the struggle against poverty and pandemics, especially in Africa.”

Both leaders also spoke about terrorism and the use of religion to justify it. According to the White House, they both reaffirmed their “total rejection of terrorism as well as the manipulation of religion to justify immoral and violent acts against innocents.” Also stressed, was the need to confront terrorism with appropriate means that respect the human person and their rights.

Pope: Freedom carries responsibility

The Washington Times - 6 minutes ago

Following is the official text of Pope Benedict XVI's address today at the White House, where he was received by President Bush on the first full day of his six-day visit to the United States.

The German-born pontiff addressed a crowd of 9,000 in the Rose Garden in English.

"Mr. President, thank you for your gracious words of welcome on behalf of the people of the United States of America. I deeply appreciate your invitation to visit this great country. My visit coincides with an important moment in the life of the Catholic community in America: the celebration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the elevation of the country's first Diocese — Baltimore — to a metropolitan Archdiocese, and the establishment of the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville. Yet I am happy to be here as a guest of all Americans. I come as a friend, a preacher of the Gospel and one with great respect for this vast pluralistic society. America's Catholics have made, and continue to make, an excellent contribution to the life of their country. As I begin my visit, I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States, and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation, of which they are proud to be citizens.

"From the dawn of the Republic, America's quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation's founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the "self-evident truth" that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature's God. The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations.

"In the next few days, I look forward to meeting not only with America's Catholic community, but with other Christian communities and representatives of the many religious traditions present in this country. Historically, not only Catholics, but all believers have found here the freedom to worship God in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, while at the same time being accepted as part of a commonwealth in which each individual and group can make its voice heard. As the nation faces the increasingly complex political and ethical issues of our time, I am confident that the American people will find in their religious beliefs a precious source of insight and an inspiration to pursue reasoned, responsible and respectful dialogue in the effort to build a more humane and free society.

Reuters Wed Apr 16, 11:02 AM ET
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U.S. President George W. Bush and Pope Benedict XVI listen to a band on the South Lawn of the White House as Bush welcomed the Pope to the United States at the ceremony in Washington, April 16, 2008.

Reuters Wed Apr 16, 11:00 AM ET
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U.S. President George W. Bush (C) and first lady Laura Bush escort Pope Benedict XVI during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington April 16, 2008.

Associated Press Wed Apr 16, 10:40 AM ET
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Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd as President Bush applauds, Wednesday, April 16, 2008, during a South Lawn arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Watch the Pope's Visit Live

Thousands to Greet Pope on 81st Birthday at White House
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WASHINGTON — President Bush has quite a birthday present for Pope Benedict XVI: at least 9,000 excited guests gathered on the White House's South Lawn for a 21-gun salute, a fame soprano's rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" and an emotional presidential welcome.

The pontiff turned 81 on Wednesday, the first full day of his first trip to the United States as leader of the world's Roman Catholics. He'll spend most of the day at the White House, only the second pope to do so and the first in 29 years.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Follow the Pope's Apostolic Journey to the U.S. 2008 at the USCCB Papal Visit Site

Pope Benedict XVI begins first U.S. tour

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI arrived in the United States Tuesday afternoon to start the six-day, two-city journey that will take him from the White House to the halls of the United Nations.

Terri Harland shows off bumper stickers on sale at Catholic University in advance of a visit by Pope Benedict XVI.
more photos...

His papal plane, Shepherd 1, touched down at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

Benedict will receive a private greeting from President Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

This is the first U.S. papal visit since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and Benedict's first visit to the United States.

There will be a welcoming ceremony for the pope on the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday. Benedict is to speak before meeting later in the day with U.S. cardinals and bishops.
Meanwhile, security preparations were under way in the air, on land and in the water.

Twenty-seven state, local and federal agencies will protect the pope as he meets with religious leaders, celebrates Mass at a baseball stadium and makes his way around the capital in his distinctive "popemobile."

Reuters Tue Apr 15, 4:35 PM ET
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Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives in the United States at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, April 15, 2008.

Pope Arrives in Washington, Watch Live

Last Update: 4:13 pm


UPDATE: Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in Washington, D.C. where he was greeted by President Bush and other dignitaries.

Watch the Pope Live on EWTN


Visit CNA's hub for Pope Benedict XVI's trip to the U.S.

Pope's schedule in the U.S.

Pope Takes Off For U.S. Tour

Benedict XVI's First U.S. Visit As Pontiff Will Include Meeting With President, Visit To Ground Zero

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2008

(CBS/AP) From a presidential welcome, to two Masses at baseball stadiums, to a stop for prayer at ground zero in New York, Pope Benedict XVI will get a heavy dose of the American experience in his first pilgrimage to the United States.

Benedict departed for Washington on Tuesday, with President Bush planning to make the unusual gesture of greeting him when his special Alitalia jetliner touches down at Andrews Air Force Base - the first time the president has greeted a foreign leader there.

Planners have kept that as Benedict's only public appearance on first day of six in America, clearly trying to help him get over any jet lag. He will turn 81 on Wednesday, although he seems spry and aides pronounce him in good health.

President Bush addresses relationship with Pope Benedict, U.S. Catholics

Raymond Arroyo host of EWTN's The World Over

Washington DC, Apr 15, 2008 / 01:08 am (CNA).- On Friday, President George W. Bush publicly addressed Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States in an interview with EWTN. In addition, Bush also addressed concerns of interest to Catholics such as the position of Christians in Iraq, relations with China, and the creation of a “culture of life.”

The president explained the reasons he would meet Pope Benedict’s airplane upon its arrival at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, saying this unprecedented greeting was due to the particular significance of the Pope.

"One, he speaks for millions. Two, he doesn't come as a politician; he comes as a man of faith; and Three, I so subscribe to his notion that there’s right and wrong in life, that moral relativism undermines the capacity to have hopeful and free societies. I want to honor his convictions, as well,” the president said.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Reuters Sun Apr 13, 7:24 AM ET
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Wax figures of Pope Benedict and U.S. President George W. Bush are pictured 'attending' an early birthday party at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum's' Oval Office in Washington, April 10, 2008. Pope Benedict is scheduled to arrive in Washington on April 15, one day before his 81st birthday.
(Jeff Snyder/Handout/Reuters)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pope Benedict requests prayers for "spiritual renewal" in U.S. visit

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2008 / 12:53 pm (CNA).- After his Sunday Regina Caeli prayers, Pope Benedict XVI addressed in English those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, asking them to pray that "spiritual renewal" would result from his upcoming apostolic journey to the United States.

In his remarks recorded by the Vatican Information Service, the Holy Father alluded to the theme of the papal visit, “Christ our Hope.” The U.S. visit will last from April 15 to April 20.

In his greeting to English-speaking pilgrims, the Holy Father said, “This Tuesday I leave Rome for my visit to the United Nations and the United States of America. With the various groups I shall meet, my intention is to share our Lord’s word of life.”

Bush readies big welcome for pope

Miami Herald
Posted on Sun, Apr. 13, 2008

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON -- The leader of the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics has been to the White House only once in history. That changes this week, and President Bush is pulling out all the stops: driving out to a suburban military base to meet Pope Benedict XVI's plane, bringing a giant audience to the South Lawn and hosting a fancy East Room dinner.

These are all firsts.

Bush has never before given a visiting leader the honor of picking him up at the airport. In fact, no president has done so at Andrews Air Force Base, the typical landing spot for modern leaders.

A crowd of up to 12,000 is due at the White House on Wednesday morning for the pope's official, pomp-filled arrival ceremony. It will feature the U.S. and Holy See anthems, a 21-gun salute, and the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Both men will make remarks before their Oval Office meeting and a send-off for his popemobile down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Bush readies for Pope's visit

Associated Press Sun Apr 13, 10:29 AM ET
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President Dwight D. Eisenhower walks with Pope John XXIII at the Vatican, in this Dec. 6, 1959, file photo. The leader of the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics has been to the White House only once in history. That changes this week, and President Bush is pulling out all the stops: driving out to a suburban military base to meet Pope Benedict XVI's plane, bringing a giant audience to the South Lawn and hosting a fancy East Room dinner.
(AP Photo/Paul Schutzer, File)