“God’s Rottweiler” is visiting the U.S.. NBC News has a little history on Benedict and the views that earned him the name “God’s Rottweiler”:
George W Bush and family rolled out the red carpet for the Pope at Andrews Air Force base today:
I left the Catholic Church in my youth, but I recognize this is a big deal for American Catholics and of course the Bush administration who sees the conservative Pope as an ally in some regards. Let’s hope Bush read NPR this morning to get some tips: What to Do If You Meet the Pontiff.
Hillary Clinton said in a statement today:
We are blessed to receive a visit from His Holiness, Pope Benedict, to the United States this week. Not only is he the spiritual leader of America’s great Catholic community, he is a strong and effective voice for the cause of peace, freedom, and justice as well as the fight against poverty and disease. His visit to the United States this week should be a very impactful one. I particularly appreciate his going to Ground Zero with some of the families who lost loved ones there. I hope that his message about economic justice and global development will get an appropriate hearing both in our country and in the government. I also applaud Pope Benedict’s example and leadership on addressing global warming making the Vatican a model in conservation for all to emulate.
“His apostolic journey is built on the theme of Christian hope, and as he has said, the Gospel message is ‘deeply rooted’ in our country. We all pray that he will have a safe and successful visit to America, and that everyone will find inspiration in his presence and his words.
The NY Times reports “Benedict is scheduled to make a series of appearances between his arrival and departure on April 20, including a mass at Yankee Stadium and an address before the United Nations General Assembly in New York.”
The pope began his visit by addressing an issue that has wounded the Catholic Church in the United States, telling reporters on his aircraft that the sexual abuse of children has caused “great suffering” for the church and “me personally.” The scandal has produced thousands of sexual abuse victims and about 5,000 accused priests since it erupted in 2002 and has cost the church more than $2 billion in settlements.
“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,” he said. “As I read the histories of those victims, it is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betrayed in this way. Their mission was to give healing, to give the love of God to these children. We are deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible that this cannot happen in the future.”