Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ave Maria students preparing to visit DC and NYC for papal visit

Ave Maria students are already preparing to journey North to welcome Pope Benedict XVI - Liam Dillon reports for Naples Daily News December 26, 2007:

. . . The pope’s plans were revealed Nov. 12 but students at the new Catholic school in eastern Collier County were preparing to make the more than 1,000-mile journey up the East Coast to greet him just weeks after the announcement.

“A lot people are planning to go see him in D.C. and New York,” said Rachel Parker, a 19-year-old freshman.

Fellow freshmen Josh Rauwolf and Selah Lyford, who stood in line with Parker at last month’s Farm City Barbecue on campus, said they intended to go.

“The campus in general is very excited about it,” said Rauwolf, 19.

AMU President Nick Healy said it was too soon to tell how the school might commemorate the occasion. University officials hadn’t yet discussed the possibility of coordinating a student trip and having one might be difficult because of class schedules, Healy said. Still Healy anticipated much on-campus clamor.

“I would expect there to be great interest,” he said.

The Pope is following the development of Ave. Maria University with interest -- one of his former students, Fr. Joseph Fessio, served as the provost of the university:
When the Rev. Joseph Fessio ... visited the pope last September, Fessio said Pope Benedict’s first question to him was: “How’s Ave Maria doing?”

Fessio, now theologian-in-residence at the school and its best known professor, is one of the closest American clergy members to the pope having studied under the then-Rev. Joseph Ratzinger in the 1970s. Fessio said he had no plans to travel to the Northeast during Pope Benedict’s visit, and if he did, it would be to promote his publishing business, Ignatius Press — the English-language publisher of the pope’s works — not Ave Maria. Fessio was relieved of his administrative duties last spring after he was fired as provost and rehired in his newly created position within a week.

“I’m just a faculty member in residence now,” Fessio said.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pope Benedict to address Youth in Yonkers

Gary Stern (Lower Hudson Online) has the scoop on Pope Benedict's scheduled visit to St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, NY:

Pope Benedict XVI's scheduled visit to St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers will revolve around a meeting with disabled youths inside the seminary chapel and then a papal address to nearly 20,000 young people from across the region who will assemble on the seminary grounds.

The April 19 visit will take place in the late afternoon, and the pope should be in Yonkers for about 90 minutes. . . .

It will be on the afternoon of April 19 that nearly 20,000 youths from parishes across the archdiocese and neighboring dioceses will be bused to parking areas on the grounds of the Yonkers seminary. The gathering will probably look much the same as when Pope John Paul II visited St. Joseph's on Oct. 6, 1995.

"I think we have a well-rehearsed plan," said Mark G. Ackermann, executive director of the archdiocese's office of the papal visit. "The grounds will be tightly controlled, but it's a good plan."

When Benedict arrives - John Paul came to Yonkers by helicopter, but such details will be confidential until the event - he will first meet with about 50 disabled young people in the seminary chapel.

"He will want to let them know that they are as welcome as anyone, as important to him as anyone else in God's family," said Bishop Gerald Walsh, the seminary's rector.

The youths who will be invited are still being identified by archdiocesan officials. . . .

At Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, as at other Catholic schools across New York, everyone is itching to get tickets.

"We are very excited as a school, certainly," said Alexander Malecki, JFK's director of alumni and public relations. "It's really a once-in-a-lifetime event for most people. For our youngsters, it's something they've never experienced, the pageantry of it. We are looking forward to putting together a contingency to go down. It will be something to see."

USCCB Unveils Logo for Pope Benedict's USA Visit

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a logo commemorating Pope Benedict XVI’s April 2008 visit to the United States.

The logo features a color photograph of Pope Benedict XVI with upraised hands. Behind him is a yellow-screened image of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. In black type running at the top and over the cupola of the dome are three lines of type reading “Pope Benedict XVI/Christ Our Hope/Apostolic Journey to the United States 2008.”

The logo was designed by Donna Hobson, publications director for The Catholic University of America. “In designing this logo,” says Hobson, “I wanted to incorporate the papal colors —yellow and white — and to show a welcoming, arms-open, smiling Pope Benedict.”

Hobson has been a graphic designer for more than 20 years. She has been CUA’s publications director for more than two years, having returned to the area from Detroit, Mich., where she was creative director at Wayne State University.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Georgetown University - Anticipating Papal Visit

Papal Visit Stirs Up Questions About Church Facing Challenges, by Anna Cheimets. Georgetown Independent December 5, 2007:

When Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States next April, don't expect a high school band to play the theme song to "Rocky" like one did in 1979 for Pope John Paul II. The Pope's visit will be inspirational to many American Catholics, but this trip is less focused on generating enthusiasm from the flock than it is about sending a message about the current state of world affairs. [...]

Georgetown chaplain Father Pat Rogers S.J. said, "I think that the Holy Father's visit is going to a great thing for Catholics in the United States and at Georgetown." He added, "We are very lucky and blessed to have him coming to Washington DC."

According to [Fr. Thomas J.] Reese, the most important aspect of Pope Benedict's visit is his speech at the UN. The UN serves as "a real bully pulpit to talk to the whole world," Reese explained. "It's an opportunity for Benedict to lay out his opinion on international justice, war and peace and his concern for refugees." [...]

"I think he needs to address the role of the United States in the world. We are the last superpower. He can address that we need to be a force for peace and justice and economic development in the world," said Reese.

Reese added that without traveling to New York City and Washington, "the American people would feel left out. Since this is his first visit as Pope it makes sense to visit Washington DC." . . . [Read more]

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

CUA Launches Website Dedicated to Benedict's Visit

Web Site Launched for Pope's April Visit :

The Catholic University of America has launched a Web site dedicated to Benedict XVI's visit to the school in April. . . .

"Even though we're five months away from welcoming the Holy Father to Catholic University, excitement about his upcoming visit is running very high," said university president Father David O'Connell.

"In recognition of this excitement and to satisfy the desire for as much information and transparency as possible, we have created this special Catholic University of America Web site," said the Vincentian priest. "This is our 'first draft.' We will have much more to add as time goes on."

The university's Web site provides information about Benedict XVI's scheduled meeting at the university with the presidents of Catholic colleges and universities and diocesan educational leaders, as well as general information about the historic visit.

Catholic University of America's website can be found at:

"Limited Access" to Pope Benedict on U.S. Visit

Catholic News Service' Patricia Zapor has the details on the venues chosen -- and why:

One reason the liturgies with Pope Benedict won't be on the National Mall or in Central Park is simply that neither locale was available, according to communications officials with the Washington and New York archdioceses.

Susan Gibbs, communications director for the Washington Archdiocese, said the pope's visit follows immediately after the city's National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Mall -- the expanse of lawn between the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol -- could not be booked.

For one thing, the National Park Service schedules time for the mall's grassy areas to recover after big events, especially in the spring, Gibbs told Catholic News Service. The time to construct a stage for an altar and the related spaces necessary for staging a Mass concelebrated by hundreds of priests also would have been a problem, she said.

Joseph Zwilling, communications director for the New York Archdiocese, said that "Central Park wasn't an option" for this papal visit. . . .

The cost of a Mass on the Mall would have run into the millions of dollars, Gibbs said. A Washington Post report on the logistics of the 1979 Mass on the Mall estimated the cost to the city and the archdiocese at $1.9 million, or about $4.25 million in 2007 dollars. The archdiocese's share, about $400,000, would translate to more than $1.1 million today.

And those expenses included none of the contemporary security measures that such a Mass would require today, such as metal detectors and fencing to keep out people who haven't been screened.

Both Zwilling and Gibbs acknowledged that security is much easier to handle at a structure like a baseball stadium.

Friday, November 30, 2007

New details emerge for getting Papal Mass tickets

Catholic News Service has provided us with the latest update:

Pretty much the only chances the general public will have will be at Masses at the Washington Nationals' new baseball stadium, with a capacity of about 45,000, and Yankee Stadium in New York, which has a capacity of perhaps 65,000.

The youths and seminarians rally at New York's St. Joseph's Seminary also is listed as a public event, but Joseph Zwilling, communications director for the New York Archdiocese, told Catholic News Service the 15,000 to 20,000 spots will be filled primarily with people from the New York region and some of the approximately 5,000 seminarians in the country.

... Also yet to be decided in both cities is whether the pope will have a motorcade route where people may line up for a chance to see him, said Zwilling and Gibbs.

More information will be made available after January 1st at the Web sites of the Archdiocese of Washington and the Archdiocese of New York. Also check back here for the latest updates.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Poll: New Yorkers “overwhelmingly applaud” Pope’s April visit

From the Catholic News Agency:

A new poll of New York City residents indicates that a majority of New Yorkers think Pope Benedict XVI's scheduled visit in April will be good for their city, and most New York City Catholics have a favorable attitude towards him.

According to a survey conducted by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, 70 % of New Yorkers think the visit will be good for the city, while only 15 % do not.

Eighty eight percent of Catholics specifically thought the visit would benefit New York, while only 9 % disagreed.

And a continued high-demand for papal tickets:
Twenty nine percent of New Yorkers, including 60 % of Catholics, would like to attend the Pope’s mass at Yankee Stadium.
Considering the population of NYC is roughly 8.5 million people that means about 2.4 million people might want to attend Yankee Stadium (which seats ~50,000). Talk about a hot ticket.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Benedict's Mass at St. Patrick's will be New York's "First"

Pope Benedict's mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral will be a "first" for the New York Archdiocese, says Cardinal Egan. New York One reports:

This will be the first mass ever celebrated by a pope in Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Now some of your audience is going to say what about Pope John Paul, or Pope Paul the VI? They did not ever celebrate mass in the cathedral so this is a first, and NY1 knows it first."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Anticipating the Papal Visit

Local Catholics anticipating Pope Benedict's visit in April, by: Jessica Mokhiber. Capital 9 News. November 18, 2007:

Albany Resident Mary Lou White said, "When I was in Rome, I just saw John Paul in the little window miles away. It's just an exceptional thing. It makes you feel good."

Theresa Munafo of Albany added, "We all loved John Paul. People were sad when he died and we don't know the new Pope as well, Pope Benedict. A lot of people aren't too familiar. I think it's great that he's coming around."

His visits draw crowds larger than most celebrities could even imagine and many will undoubtedly make a pilgrimage for even just a glimpse of Pope Benedict in April when he makes his first visit to the U.S. as pontiff. As our Jessica Mokhiber reports many local Catholics say this visit may help people here feel more connected to the Pope and to their faith.

Albany Catholic Diocese Priest Father Doyle said, "It's a great experience of faith for people to see the Pope and to be in his presence." . . .

Vivian Munafo, 11, said, "I think it's actually pretty exciting because I love when new things happen. I think it's great."

Her mother Theresa added, "Sometimes you feel like you're the only one out there, or one of a small group of people. I think it helps to know how many Catholics there are around the world and how connected we are."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Intinerary of Pope Benedict's Visit to the United States

From the USCCB:

The Holy Father will arrive in Washington on the evening of April 15, with a visit to the White House on April 16 and a meeting with the bishops of the United States at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception that evening.

April 17 will include a public Mass at the new Nationals Stadium in Washington and a meeting with the presidents of Catholic universities and diocesan heads of education at Catholic University of America, as well as a meeting with representatives of other religions at the John Paul II Cultural Center.

Pope Benedict XVI will fly to New York City on April 18 for an address to the United Nations. He will also meet with ecumenical leaders at a New York City parish that evening.

On April 19 he will celebrate a Mass for priests, deacons and members of religious orders at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and will meet with young Catholics at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers.

April 20 will include a visit to ground zero, the site of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and a public Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Philadelphia Daily News: "Why the pope should visit, & why he won't"

Philadelphia Daily News speculates as to why Philadelphia was not on the roster of cities selected for the Pope's visit:

"New York is still the capital of the world to the Vatican, and the prime reason for his trip is to address the U.N.," said papal observer Rocco Palmo. "Plus he has to go to Washington. As a head of state, a pope needs to go through formalities."

Palmo is U.S. correspondent for The Tablet, a London journal of religion, culture and politics. He also writes the blog "Whispers in the Loggia," which is the Clout page of the Catholic hierarchy.

One big difference between John Paul's visit and Benedict's is that Philly had clout with the former and has none with the latter.

"John Paul had a special bond with Philadelphia because of his good friend Cardinal Krol," Palmo said. "His first words in English were, 'I need to find an excuse now to come to Philadelphia.' "

"In 1976, John Paul gave his first speech as cardinal at the Eucharistic Congress" here, Palmo said. "Benedict doesn't have that same kind of bond with the city."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

LA Times Lectures the Pope

LA Times to Pope Benedict: Don't Listen to Conservative Catholics, by Dave Pierre. November 14, 2007:

A trip to the United States from Pope Benedict is still nearly six months away (April 2008), but the Los Angeles Times is already in a tizzy. An editorial in Wednesday's Times ("Teaching the Pope" 11/14/07) advises the Pope to shun "hard-liners" and "conservative Catholics" and listen to "other Catholics." The Times is concerned with the issue of whether or not abortion-friendly politicians who claim they are Catholic should receive Holy Communion. . . .
  • Response from Carl Olson Insight Scoop:
    Because, of course, we should assume that the 80-year-old pope from Germany is completely clueless about democracy and the super-special, ultra-unique status of America, whose Constitution is nothing but a glowing homage to "Separation of Church and State!" Perhaps the author of this piece is unaware that Benedict has been studying the relationship between Church and state for, oh, over fifty years now . . .
  • Response: Andrew Sumereau of American Thinker November 17, 2007:
    When the decline of newspaper readership and influence is chronicled, an enterprising author could do little better than to use this editorial as a lodestone revealing the direction of oblivion. It evinces the fulsome idiocy that drove newspapers out of business. "Teaching the pope" brings a new low to the meaning of the word nonsense. . . .

    The two thousand year history of a church, which began amidst Roman Emperors and has seen every political system, economic system, culture, geography, and condition under the sun, continues to unfold. Meanwhile the Los Angeles Times marks a century and a quarter this year, and anxiously wonders about its future prospects.

  • Response: Catholics in the Public Square November 14, 2007:
    Perhaps the Los Angeles Times should consider whether the Church should remain "a public and publicly relevant authority" to those who profess the Catholic faith and yet obstinately and publicly repudiate her very teaching by their legislative actions?

Pope Coming to U.S.; Washington Post Responds by Interviewing Naysayers, by Jay Anderson. Pro Ecclesia November 14, 2007.

Archdiocese of New York: "No Ticket Scalping!"

Free tickets to Pope's Yankee Stadium Mass tempt scalpers, By Corky Siemazko. Daily News November 14, 2007:

Thou shalt not scalp tickets to the upcoming Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium.

That was the warning Tuesday to potential profiteers from the Archdiocese of New York, which said it will distribute the coveted tickets through the parishes — and they're free.

"We want to emphasize that," said diocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling. "Tickets are free of charge."

Zwilling spoke a day after the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict would be making his first U.S. visit as leader of the Catholic church.

Rudy Giuliani to receive private audience with the Pope?

Katie Thomas (Newsday asks): "Given the Rudy-friendly itinerary, is there a chance the pontiff will grant an audience to Giuliani -- a lifelong Yankees fan known worldwide for his handling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks?" -- papal pundits are divided on the question:

"I'm sure the pope would be happy to grant Giuliani an audience," said David Gibson, author of "The Rule of Benedict," a biography of Pope Benedict XVI. "If there was something at Ground Zero, I would be surprised if Giuliani were not there."

But Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, said he doubted the pope would grant a tete-a-tete with the former mayor. Although Giuliani may appear at an event with other officials, "The pope normally deals with current government leaders -- not past leaders," Reese said.

If Giuliani is still a presidential candidate come April -- the Republican nominee should be chosen by then -- a papal meeting would lend a bit of gravitas to his bid. Still, if Hizzoner engineers an audience with His Holiness, the visit could backfire. After all, Giuliani is a candidate for the presidency -- not the priesthood. Although he attended Catholic schools all his life, he's on his third marriage, has an estranged relationship with his children and holds liberal views on abortion and gay rights. Such a public meeting might remind voters of his less-than-saintly past.

"He's walking a tightrope," Gibson said of Giuliani. "If he appears to look like an altar boy, it's not going to play very well."

Secret Service To Protect The Pope During NYC Visit

Secret Service To Protect The Pope During NYC Visit, by Ruschell Boone. NY1 News November 15, 2007:

The Secret Service has offered its protection to Pope Benedict XVI for his April visit to New York City and Washington.

The agency says it is standard practice for heads of state.

The report goes into great detail on the planning of the papal mass in Yankee Stadium:
With only five months to prepare for Pope Benedict's arrival, the Archdiocese of New York says it is starting to hammer out the specific details of the visit, including the public mass scheduled at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, April 20.

The service will be free, but only about 60,000 tickets will be distributed as early as January. As the host, most will go to parishes within the Archdiocese of New York.

“And then we'll have a certain number of tickets for the neighboring dioceses, places like the Archdiocese of Newark, the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Diocese of Bridgeport, and the Diocese of Rockville Center in Long Island,” said Joe Zwilling of the Archdiocese of New York. “So we'll make sure the bishops of those places will have a representation of their faithful present as well.” [...]

“In Central Park we had to bring everything and we had to build it from the ground,” he said. “In Yankee Stadium we will have the facilities already there. Very practical things like seats, like concession stands, like bathrooms already in place.”

After having its first committee meeting on Tuesday, the archdiocese is also trying to decide how many languages will be used during the service.

“Creole and Spanish and German and French and English and Tagalog and I'm trying to think of some of the other ones we've used in the past,” said Zwilling. “You can really bring them all in there.”

According to the report, the Saturday, April 19 mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral will be reserved for "about 2,500 priests, deacons and bishops."

And according to the Times Herald Record "There's still one variable in the plan — the name of the parish that will host an interfaith service has yet to be announced." (NYC plans for pope, hoping for perfection, by Michael Randall. November 14, 2007).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pope Will Visit Ground Zero, Manhattan

Pope to visit Ground Zero in New York, by Martin Barillas. Spero News. November 13, 2007:

Archbishop Pietro Sambi - the Holy See's ambassador to the United States - announced that Pope Benedict XVI will visit Ground Zero in New York City on April 20, 2008, the site where thousands died in the World Trade Center in 2001. In the place where the Twin Towers once stood, Archbishop Sambi said that the pope "will show his solidarity with those who have died, their families and all those who seek peace and wish an end to violence." Archbishop Sambi expressed his hope that the pope's visit will bring "a new light, a new Pentecost to the Church in the United States". This stop on his five-day tour of the United States will be followed by an outdoor Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Why Did The Pope Skip Boston?

According to Time's Jeff Israely, Some critics are already speculating as to why the Pope is skirting the "Ground Zero" of the American Catholic sex abuse crisis:

Boston was where the first spiral of revelations from victims of abusive clerics began to emerge, and where the head of the Archdiocese, Cardinal Bernard Law, was eventually forced to resign after admitting that he'd protected a priest who he knew had sexually abused young members of his church.

Several activist groups that speak out on behalf of victims of priest sex abuse immediately criticized the exclusion of the city from the Pope's April 15-20 trip. According to a statement by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Benedict is missing a "golden opportunity" to confront the crisis head-on. Victims' activist Anne Barrett Doyle told the Agence France Presse that the Pope is avoiding Boston for fear of protests.

Father Thomas Reese disagrees:
. . . other factors were key to Benedict's choice to limit his trip to just two cities. The original purpose of the trip was to speak at the United Nations, as both Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II did. Benedict wanted to extend the stay and visit the nation's capital as well, but never intended the trip to be a U.S. tour. "The choice of Washington and New York was preordained," Reese says. "If they went to a third diocese, everyone else would say 'why didn't you come to us?'"

Reese defends Benedict's record on the abuse scandal, pointing out that he worked to respond to the crisis when he was a senior Vatican Cardinal. Some mention of the scandal is expected, but don't expect it to be the focus on his trip to the States. "Will he give a whole speech on sex abuse crisis? I doubt it," Reese says.

That isn't stopping some in the mainstream media from racheting up the bile, however:

Boston Bypassed!

Pope will bypass Boston in US visit, by Michael Paulson. Boston Globe November 13, 2007:

BALTIMORE - Pope Benedict XVI will visit New York and Washington next spring, but will not come to Boston, the Vatican's top diplomat in the United States announced yesterday. . . .

The decision is a disappointment for Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, who had pushed hard for Benedict to visit Boston, which will be celebrating its bicentennial as a Catholic diocese next year. O'Malley had spoken with the pope several times to press the invitation and had spoken with Vatican officials in Rome and Washington. He said that he believed Boston was seriously considered, but that Vatican officials were concerned about overtaxing the pontiff, who is 80.

"I'm disappointed, because I think we had a chance, but I'm just glad the Holy Father is coming to the United States - I think it's very important that he do that - and I was glad that we got a hearing anyway," O'Malley said [...]

O'Malley, who said he was informed of the decision by Vatican officials yesterday morning, added that he would push for a trip to Boston if Benedict were to visit the United States again. O'Malley said he does not believe Boston's role as the epicenter of the sexual abuse crisis was a major factor in the Vatican's decision.

Pope Benedict to Visit United States in April 2008!!!

Pope Benedict XVI to visit the United States in April New York Times November 13, 2007:

Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to come to the United States in April, his first visit as the pope, and plans to make stops in Washington and New York, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced yesterday.

During his stay, scheduled for April 15 to April 20, the pope plans to visit ground zero in Lower Manhattan and is scheduled to address the United Nations on April 18, officials said. The subject of his address was not announced.

Pope Benedict is scheduled to meet with President Bush on April 16 at the White House. He will also meet with United States bishops at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington and celebrate Mass at the new Nationals Park stadium.

Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York said in a statement: “I have assured the Holy Father of a warm and prayerful welcome. We all look forward to his visit with pleasure and anticipation.”

In New York, the pope is scheduled to meet with other religious leaders at a parish that has not yet been named publicly. He also plans to celebrate Mass for members of religious orders at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on April 19.

On April 20, Pope Benedict is scheduled to visit ground zero. Later that day, he is to celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI: Grace Under Fire

Cross-post from Against The Grain]

The Pope is scheduled to visit the U.N. in New York City next year. From the blog of the New York Times, a post recalling When Ratzinger Last Visited New York:

The A.P. reported that on Jan. 26, 1988, “several prominent rabbis refused to attend a meeting with Ratzinger because he maintains that Judaism finds its fulfillment in Christianity.” The following day, gay demonstrators, angered by Cardinal Ratzinger’s contention that homosexuality is a “moral disorder,” heckled him during his talk at the Saint Peter’s Church, a Lutheran congregation in Midtown.

The demonstrators — some shouting “He’s no man of God,” “inquisitor” and “Nazi” — interrupted a talk by Cardinal Ratzinger for about 10 minutes. The A.P. reported that Cardinal John J. O’Connor, the archbishop of New York at the time (he died in 2000), “sat somberly beside him during the disruption at the presentation.” Six demonstrators were arrested.

Cardinal Ratzinger’s talk, and a closed-door conference on Jan. 28, 1988, were organized by the Center on Religion and Society at the Rutherford Institute, a conservative legal foundation based in Charlottesville, Va.

It was actually Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus (at that time still a Lutheran pastor) who coordinated then-Cardinal Ratzinger's visit to the United States. The text of Ratzinger's address: Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: On the Question of the Foundations and Approaches of Exegesis Today; the proceedings of the conference were published in Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: The Ratzinger Conference on Bible and Church. Eerdmans Pub Co (May 1989).

'Vatican Biggy'In an interview with, Fr. Neuhaus recalled Ratzinger's encounter with obnoxious protestors intent on disrupting the Cardinal's speech:

. . . Throughout, the cardinal was the very picture of tranquility. When he got a chance to speak he prefaced his lecture, which was on the subject of biblical interpretation, with a moving reflection on the 1968 student rebellion in Europe that helped him to understand more deeply the indispensability of civility in human relations.

On this and other occasions, it was obvious to me that his tranquility is rooted in a tried and tested faith. The next day the tabloid headlines blazoned, "Gays Protest Vatican Biggy." He chuckled at his new title of Vatican Biggy.

From the perspective of a protestor, demonstrating typical liberal support for freedom of speech and the civil exchange of ideas:

... Ratzinger took the podium and began to speak. As soon as he finished his first sentence, a group of about eight people to the left of the crowd leaped to their feet and began chanting "Stop the Inquisition!" They chanted feverishly and loudly, their voices echoing throughout the building. The entire room was fixated on them. Activists suddenly appeared in the back of the church and began giving out fliers explaining the action. Two men on the other side of the room jumped up and, pointing at Ratzinger, began to scream, "Antichrist!" Another man jumped up, in one of the first few rows near the prelate, and yelled, "Nazi!" All over the church, angry people began to shout down the protestors who were near them; chaotic yelling matches broke out. . . .

Suddenly, I jumped up on one of the marble platforms and, looking down, I addressed the entire congregation in the loudest voice I could. My voice rang out as if it were amplified. I pointed at Ratzinger and shouted: "He is no man of God!" The shocked faces of the assembled Catholics turned to the back of the room to look at me as I continued: "He is no man of God -- he is the Devil!"

In an article at the dawn of Benedict XVI's pontificate, Alice von Hildebrand recalled the visit to New York as well (No Prophet In His Own Land: Reflections on Benedict XVI Crisis June 2005):
My Latin blood started boiling. Before I knew it, I got up and said at the top of my voice, “Shame on you!” The police were called and they forced the dissidents to leave the Church; they went outside and continued screaming. The cardinal stood quietly on the podium with a grieved but gentle expression on his face. I could not help but have the feeling that he was praying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Peace was finally reestablished, and once again, His Eminence proceeded with his text as if nothing had happened. He was clearly deeply recollected. But it was not the end of this ugly affair. After some ten minutes, other protesters seated in the back of the Church started spitting their gall once again and giving expression to their unholy rage. The same scenario was repeated; but this time, the police were nearby, and the speaker could complete his talk.

His attitude throughout was admirable—peaceful, calm, loving, no bitterness, no resentment. He accepted their insults and, in doing so, gave testimony to the teaching of Christ: Love those who hate you.

Let's hope our Papa will receive a kinder, warmer welcome on his next visit to the Big Apple.