The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and North America, and one of the ten largest churches in the world. It is the nation’s pre-eminent Marian shrine, dedicated to the patroness of the United States: the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of the Immaculate Conception. Backgrounder on the National Shrine.
- 5:15 p.m. - Parade to the Basilica - beginning at 3211 4th St. NE. At end of route, popemobile travels the circle in front of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
- 5:20 p.m. - Arrival - Welcome by Msgr. Walter Rossi, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The crowd will form on the east side of the Shrine on the mall.
- 5:30 p.m. - Vespers in the Crypt (lower area of the Shrine) with the bishops of the United States. Vespers, also called Evening Prayer, is part of the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office.
- 6:00 p.m. - Address to the bishops by Pope Benedict XVI.
- 7:00 p.m. - Program ends.
- Papal Vespers, Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, by Shawn Tribe. The New Liturgical Movement provided ongoing coverage of the Papal Vespers service from the Crypt Church of the Shrine Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (with the usual focus on liturgical form, music and vestments):
the corpus on the altar cross was directed toward the nave where the people sat, rather than toward the "Eastern" side of the altar, or in other words, what would be facing the celebrant where it a Mass in this configuration.As Shawn reminds his audience:
Given this, when it came time for the Pope to incense the altar at the Magnificat, he began, not from the side of the altar where he reverenced, facing towards the people, but rather on the side of the altar as would be done traditionally.
In so doing, the Pope was facing the Lord crucified upon the cross. He was "turning towards the Lord" (conversi ad Dominum) and was ad orientem liturgicum.
It is perhaps worthwhile to note that people should manage their expectations with regard to these events. If you are expecting liturgies as you might see them at in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, or which fully confirm with Pope Benedict's liturgical vision, that would not be terribly realistic for a variety of pragmatic reasons.(The music received high marks -- according to Michael E. Lawrence "If you could watch all this with a dry eye, you're a better man than me.").
In view of this, the NLM's own approach and focus for these events will be upon those things which can be understood as helping push forward one or another aspect of Benedict's programme for liturgical reform in continuity.
- The prepared remarks of Cardinal Francis George to Pope Benedict before the papal address to the U.S. bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
- The prepared text of Pope Benedict XVI’s speech before the bishops of the United States at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, as provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
- Discussion of the Pope's remarks to the Bishops @ Amy Welborn's (Charlotte was Both)
- Archbishop Chaput reacts to Pope's address Catholic News Agency April 16, 2008.
- Pope calls sex abuse scandal 'countersign' to Gospel of life, by Julie Asher. Catholic News Service. April 16, 2008:
One of the "countersigns to the Gospel of life" in the United States is the sexual abuse of minors, a situation "that causes deep shame," Pope Benedict XVI told about 300 U.S. bishops gathered April 16 in the crypt church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
He called it an "evil" and said the U.S. bishops have "rightly moved" to address it. The programs they have put in place to discipline priests and other church personnel who are abusers, to create safe environments protecting young people, to foster healing and to "bind up the wounds" caused by "such breach of trust" are bearing fruit, he said.
But the pope also said the problem of sex abuse must be placed in a wider context when pornography, violence and "the crude manipulation of sexuality" are so prevalent in society today. ...
In his talk, the pope said priests themselves "have experienced shame" over abuse carried out by fellow clergy and others and they need the bishops' "guidance and closeness during this difficult time." He also said people must remember the "overwhelming majority" of priests and religious in the U.S. do "outstanding work." ...
In his talk, the pope said priests themselves "have experienced shame" over abuse carried out by fellow clergy and others and they need the bishops' "guidance and closeness during this difficult time." He also said people must remember the "overwhelming majority" of priests and religious in the U.S. do "outstanding work."
The pope also addressed the effect of secularism and materialism on how Catholics and others live out their beliefs in a day-to-day world, the state of the family within society, "a certain quiet attrition" of Catholics leaving the faith and the need for vocations.
He talked about the role of the bishops in addressing issues of the day, especially during an election year when church leaders cannot assume, he said, that "all Catholic citizens think in harmony with the church's teaching on key ethical issues."
"It falls to you to ensure that the moral formation provided at every level of ecclesial life reflects the authentic teaching of the Gospel of life," Pope Benedict said, noting that currently in the U.S. and elsewhere there is "proposed legislation that gives cause for concern from the point of morality."
- "The CEO From Rome Faces His Flock" Time's Jeff Israely & David Van Biema take a look at Benedict's key talking points.
- American Papist posts photos of Benedict's address to bishops and visit to the National Shrine.
- J. Peter Nixon (Commonweal Magazine)wonders whether Benedict's "distinct voice" has been blunted in this particular speech:
My first thought, I have to admit, was that this was an address that had been touched by many hands. That’s always true with papal addresses, of course, but Benedict has a distinctive style that can often give his words great force. I found that the edges of that style had been sanded down a bit.
- Tim Drake @ Pope2008.com notices something missing from the majority of the coverage:
Predictably, all of the major media stories concentrate on the sexual abuse crisis and the other contentious issues mentioned by the Pope - secularism, materialism, individualism. In speaking with Dr. Pia de Solenni on her radio program on Sirius' The Catholic Channel last night, she described the speech as a "job description for the bishops."
Few of the media reports, however, have addressed the spiritual dimension, or how the Pope's message concluded, with the Holy Father encouraging the bishops to lead by example, especially with regard to prayer.
- Pope presents special chalice to show solidarity with Katrina victims, by Julie Asher. Catholic News Service. April 17, 2008.