Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Welcome Benedict XVI

The spiritual father of Catholics throughout the world, including me, will be arriving in my homeland today for a six-day visit. I hope that Benedict XVI is most welcome here.

I would be travelling to New York or D.C. to see him, if Erin and I weren't going to see him in June during our honeymoon in Rome. Erin and I will be received by the Pope for an audience, which may or may not mean that I will be close enough to him to have a photo taken. To be honest, the idea fills me with trepidation. I have always found meetings to be with important personages to be intense and often unpleasant experiences. I suppose I will have to prepare something in advance to say to the Pope, since I will probably be too nervous to say anything extemporaneously.

It is difficult to explain what the Pope means to me, or at least to illustrate the complexities of papal fidelity in my complex American life. Simply put, he is my spiritual father. I look to him for guidance in the fuzzy and variegated world of spiritual realities. Why? Again, the answer is simple or complex. Simply, because my Lord Jesus said so. In slightly more complicated terms, I have been shown by experience and trial that this trust is well placed.

Of one thing I am certain, the U.S. will not be the same after his visit. This pope has a wonderful manner of surprising everyone, and surprising them in a way that is slightly or more than slightly above their expectations. For all the analysis by those who prefer the terms "conservative" and "liberal", the pope never quite fits in their categories. I think this has as much to do with his office, as it has to do with his person.

Viva il papa!

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