Sunday, March 30, 2008

Archbishop Pietro Sambi - "The Pope's U.S. Tour Guide"

The International Herald-Tribune interviews Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States and designated "tour guide" for the Pope's visit to the United States.

Sambi has some good advice for the press, and anybody wishing to get a grasp on the Holy Father:

Benedict, a former professor, is a pope who cultivates words more than dramatic gestures - in contrast to his predecessor, John Paul II. The key in this trip, the archbishop said, will be to listen to Benedict's speeches, in their entirety.

"He is not a man of blah, blah, blah," Archbishop Sambi said. "He's a thinker, and before speaking, he thinks. And he prays a lot."

The Archbishop assures the Tribune that Benedict "will not at all interfere with the electoral process. He will not meet with any of the candidates"; yet, he will likely address "issues germane to the election: poverty, the war in Iraq, abortion and euthanasia, gay marriage, environmental degradation and immigrants" -- in addition to the priestly abuse scandal that has plagued the Church since 2002:
The subject could come up at a meeting and prayer service with American bishops in Washington. It was initially billed as private, but is now open to the media. The archbishop said, "If it would have been closed-door, can you imagine the fantasy of the journalists to invent what they don't know? Better to be open."

Cardinal Bernard Law, the archbishop of Boston who resigned over his role in reassigning priests with a record of sexual abuse and is now assigned to a basilica in Rome, will not join the delegation traveling with the pope, said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.