Making the cut

By  Catholic News Service
  • April 2, 2008

Well, I've survived the first cut to get media accreditation to observe Pope Benedict XVI during his first visit to the United States, April 15-20, 2008. Come Tuesday, April 15, when Pope Benedict arrives at Andrews Airforce Base at roughly 4 p.m., I will be present in the U.S. capital city, well briefed and prepared to report.

This itself is no mean feat. Some 5,000 people applied to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for accreditation. I made it through the first cut. Now it's a bit of a waiting game to find out which of the Pope's dozen or so events I will be able to attend. The media folks at the USCCB are doing a bit of triage as they try to squeeze as many of us demanding journalists and observers into the actual space available at each venue. I pity them.

In the meantime, I've been doing some deep backgrounding on what the Pope might say on his travels to everyone from U.S. President George Bush at the White House to the United Nations General Assembly to American youth, not to mention assorted Catholic educators, ecumenical and interfaith leaders, bishops, priests, seminarians and even the occasional average person.

Fortunately, Pope Benedict has left a long list of publications (most as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) on many subjects. They are certainly not limited to theology. One small volume (Europe: Today and Tomorrow, published last year by Ignatius Press as a translation of the 2004 book Europa: I suoi fondamenti oggi e domani by Edizioni San Paolo) discusses the role of faith in an increasingly pluralistic society. While its obvious focus is a highly secularized European continent, then Cardinal Ratzinger makes some interesting comparisons to the United States. In his view, the U.S. model of free churches rigorously separated from state control or vice versa has allowed the American Roman Catholics to evolve along a considerably different path than their European relatives. But more on that later.

Interestingly enough, I've had little luck trying to find Canadians who will be down in Washington and New York for this historic visit. Since His Holiness has decided to turn down an invitation to attend the International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City in June, it would be natural enough that some of the Canadian hierarchy might head south of the border to greet him on his first visit as Pope to North America. So you'd think, anyway.

No doubt there are some Canadians out there who will be going to see the Pope in action. If so, it would be great to link up with them to hear their observations. No doubt many other Canadian Catholics would be interested, too. If any of my readers can enlighten me on the attendance of Canadians for the papal visit, I'd be most grateful.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.