The ever-wise Sandro Magister on the pope in America...
ROMA, April 4, 2008 – When, in mid-April, Benedict XVI lands at the military airport of Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, the United States will take the lead in the list of the countries most visited by the popes, tieing Poland for the number of visits, with nine, and Turkey for the number of popes who have visited, with three, following his predecessors Paul Vi and John Paul II.
The latter, a ceaseless traveler, made the rounds all over the United States. During his first visit, in 1979, he visited seven cities in six days, delivering 63 speeches. The more sedate Joseph Ratzinger, who also make a visit of seven days, will instead stop in only two places: Washington – where he will meet George W. Bush at the White House on April 16 – and New York. He will deliver just 11 speeches. But the mere announcement of at least two of these are already causing jitters, after the current pope showed the world in Regensburg to what daredevil extremes he is willing to go. These will be the speech on April 17, in Washington, to representatives of Judaism, Islam, and other religions, and the one on April 18, in New York, to the general assembly of the United Nations.
In Regensburg, Benedict XVI denounced as the chief errors of today's world its separation of faith from reason, of which he accused Islamism, and the loss of faith and reason, which he instead imputed to the dominant culture in Europe and America. It's a good bet that he will go even farther at the podium of the UN, and will offer the world a primer on peace founded upon natural law, on the inviolable rights engraved in the conscience of each person, but also written in the "universal declaration" that marks its 60th birthday in 2008.
This is an easy forecast to make, if one only looks at what the pope said last February 29, while receiving the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon. For Benedict XVI the United States is a model to be imitated by all. It is the country born and founded "on the self-evident truth that the Creator has endowed each human being with certain inalienable rights," among the first of which is liberty.
RELIGION IN THE UNITED STATES, IN 2008
Percentages out of the total adult population:
"Evangelical" Churches 26.3
Mainline Churches 18.1
Historically black Churches 6.9
Jehovah's Witnesses 0.7
Greek Orthodox <0.3
Russian Orthodox <0.3
Other Christians 0.3
OTHER RELIGIONS 4.7
Zen Buddhists <0.3
Theravada Buddhists <0.3
Tibetan Buddhists <0.3
Other faiths 1.3
Unitarians and other liberal faiths 0.7
New Age 0.4
Native American religions <0.3
Other world religions <0.3
Secular unaffiliated 6.3
Unaffiliated but with religious sentiments 5.8
Read the full review here at Chiesa.