I have never been a Catholic, so I have to admit that I am quite confused by all of the fanfare this man has received. What has he done? Why should I care? Why does our nation's leader and the media care so much? All I've heard are negative things. Read the IHT article here.
The ceremony was among the most elaborate the White House has ever conducted, even more so than the one last year honoring the queen of England. The opera singer Kathleen Battle sang The Lord's Prayer, her clear voice pealing out in the soft spring air. Little girls in flowered print dresses carried signs welcoming the "Pope of Hope," while the presence of dozens of bishops and cardinals, in their traditional black vestments set off by magenta and red skullcaps and sashes, lent a European air of solemnity to the occasion. When the ceremony was over, the announcer declared, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please join us in singing 'Happy Birthday' to the Holy Father."
So, this warm welcome with a red carpet and a band, and how does the Pope repay us?
When addressing American Catholic bishops Wednesday, he cautioned that the country's [America's] secular tradition often led to a gradual separation of religious guidelines from daily life and an acceptance of divorce, abortion and cohabitation outside marriage.
"Perhaps America's brand of secularism poses a particular problem," the pope said, according to the prepared text of his speech. "It allows for professing belief in God, and respects the public role of religion and the churches, but at the same time it can subtly reduce religious belief to a lowest common denominator. This is aggravated by an individualistic and eclectic approach to religion and faith," he said.
"Each person believes he or she has a right to pick and choose, maintaining external social bonds but without an integral, interior conversion to the law of Christ." (In other words, you are not allowed to decide for yourselves, you must obey me!)
So basically he is laying the blame on us, and anyone else he can for the child abuse scandals and everything else bad in the world. And George W. Bush eats it all up:
"Here in America you'll find a nation that welcomes the role of faith in the public square (no kidding, and he's bragging about this?)...We also believe that a love for freedom and a common moral law are written into every human heart, and that these constitute the firm foundation on which any successful free society must be built. (just not freedom of religion or speech)...In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred. (like people who start wars?)
For an even better commentary, check out the Atheist Experience's response to the pope's visit.