I'm starting to get very excited about going to NYC for Papa Ratzi's visit on April 20, the countdown has begun! Don't believe anything you read in most newspapers or on CNN, the general ignorance on the Catholic religion of the MSM knows no bounds. You can trust things written by George Weigel, Sandro Magister's Chiesa, and Whispers in the Loggia (which I heard about from my atheist girl friend Sissy). And there's the official US Conference of Catholic Bishops website on the papal visit. From an article today by Sandro Magister on how the Pope views the United States:
"In any case, the general judgment on the United States has shifted to the positive, to the same extent that judgments on Europe have become more pessimistic. To (U.S.) ambassador Glendon, Benedict XVI said that he admires 'the American people's historic appreciation of the role of religion in shaping public discourse,' a role that in other places – read, Europe – is 'contested in the name of a straitened understanding of political life.' With the consequences that stem from this on the points that are most crucial to the Church, like 'legal protection for God's gift of life from conception to natural death,' marriage, the family."
"...The Church authorities appreciate in any case the fact that all of the (presidential) candidates have given a prominent place to the religious dimension."
"Because that's the way the United States is. It is at the vanguard of modernity, and at the same time is the most religious nation in the world. It is a model of separation between Church and state, at the same time is a country with a significant public role for the religions. The study by the Pew Forum has found that at the numbers of atheists and agnostics are very small, 1.6 and 2.4 percent respectively, in spite of the fact that they seem much more numerous and outspoken in the media."
But no sense reading too much about the Pope's visit, especially on the computer. Just open up space in your heart and prepare to spend some time to listen to this remarkable, learned and holy man. I recently read an essay by the Pope, probably it was in the monthly Magnificat, and he quoted from the Catholic catechism, something along the lines of "God has etched a yearning for the divine on the human heart." It's there. Just be still and listen.