East Coast Prepares for First Visit from Pope Benedict XVI
The short tour will include a visit to the White House, an address to the United Nations, a meeting with Jewish leaders and public addresses in the Washington Nationals’ and the New York Yankees’ stadiums.
The Pope’s trip to New York will also include a visit to Ground Zero. There will also be a White House dinner in his honor and in celebration of his birthday, but he will not attend.
A controversial figure in the Catholic Church since long before he was elected Pope three years ago, Benedict XVI drew criticism and protestors during his last visit as Cardinal Joseph Ratizinger in 1988.
Benedict’s strict interpretation of Catholic teachings, evident in his assertion that it is the only true faith and manifesting itself in outspoken criticism of homosexuality and abortion, has earned him increased negative attention.
His standing outside of the church was further tarnished by his connections to the Nazi party when he was a child in Germany and his citing of a 14th-century pope’s criticism of Islam during a lecture in 2006.
This trip has been seen as an attempt to reach out to frequent critics with a public demeanor that has been described as mild and humble. “What he will not do is wag fingers,” said Brennan Pursell, author of a book on the Benedict XVI.