I watched the Pope arrive at Andrews. It was pomp and ceremony, pagentry, and ritual. I guess we need that to add dignity to the big events we deem important in life. The Pope, for all the passionate and/or controversial things he promotes and stands for is first and foremost a simple man. I’m sure he would agree to that. He is also the leader of a major faction of Christianity and that entitles his office and him to the formal repect of pagentry.
I was fortunate enough in my career assignments to have covered Papal pagentry in the past. I covered the funeral of Paul the sixth, the funeral of John Paul the first, I reported on the visit of John Paul the second to Ireland and flew with him from Ireland to Boston and then covered his visit to New York. Later I met him personally with my camera crew in 1985 when the late Archbishop O’Connor was made a cardinal.
Where this papal visit to the United States will take American Catholisism I don’t know. I do know it needs changing. Archaic dogma seems not to fit the Catholic world as many see it in America today. Priesthood vocations are at an all time low. The need for women clergy and married priests is ripe for debate and reasonable discussion. The overwhelming wealth of the church while preaching to the poor is a dichotomy worthy of review.
And so a simple man from Argentina comes to the Ceasarlike stronghold of waning Catholicism in order to inspire change. He has a major attribute going for him. He is the evidence of his beliefs. So was another simple man in Galilee centuries ago.