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John L. Allen Jr.
CNN Sr. Vatican Analyst
Vatican Correspondent, National Catholic Reporter
Prior to the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI in the United States last Tuesday, he remained an enigma for most Americans. A poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that 80 percent of Americans, including two-thirds of the country’s 70 million Catholics, knew “nothing or next to nothing” about the pope.
If this six-day swing shaped up as Benedict’s opportunity to introduce himself to the American public, what is it people seem to have learned?
For Catholic insiders, the list of things gleaned is probably almost infinite. Priests who attended the pope’s Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York this morning, for example, probably paid close attention to the details of how Benedict celebrated the Mass, as well as the rhetorical and spiritual approach he took in his homily (a reflection on the scripture readings), as models for how they themselves will do those things in the future. Catholic educators undoubtedly paid close attention to the vision for Catholic schools the pope laid out in his address at the Catholic University of America on Thursday.
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After Pope Benedict XVI held Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in midtown Manhattan this morning, he took a ride uptown in his Mercedes Popemobile to greet New Yorkers and visitors that had come out to see him.
My crew and I headed to the Upper East Side of Manhattan pretty early in the morning, trying to beat the crowds and ensure we got a good spot to film the procession once it started moving north.
Most of the surrounding streets were already closed to traffic, and the amount of police and security was surprising. I was stopped several times on my way to our location, despite the big press pass hanging around my neck.
Filed under: Pope Benedict
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