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Pope Speaks to UN

April 18, 2008 04:52 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Pope Benedict XVI addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, stating that the international community must defend human rights abroad.

30-Second Summary

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With stops in Washington, D.C. and New York City, the pope’s itinerary has included a visit at the White House, meetings with U.S. bishops and representatives of other faiths, and an address to the United Nations.

The United States has the world’s third-largest population of Catholics, but the country poses unique challenges for the conservative pontiff, including the lingering scandal over the sexual abuse of children by priests, a plunge in church membership, and the preeminence of “America’s secular, polyglot culture,” according to McClatchy.

Pope Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has been at the helm of Catholicism since April, 2005.

His tour will allow Americans their first close look at Pope Benedict, who turns 81 on April 16. Although 52 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Benedict, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 30 percent say they “do not know enough about him to offer an opinion.”

When Cardinal Ratzinger first assumed the papacy, he was seen as “God’s Rottweiler” for his conservatism and insistence on “doctrinal correctness,” a 2007 New York Times Magazine article says, but Benedict now plays “the roles of pastor and father.”

The Pope is also noted for his academic prowess.

“(Pope) John Paul made you burst into tears, Benedict makes you think,” Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal writes. “It is more pleasurable to weep, but at the moment, perhaps it is more important to think.”

Headline Links: On plane to U.S., pope comments on sex abuse scandal

Background: Benedict confronts American politics and secularism

Issues during Benedict’s tour
Americans and the pope

Biography: Joseph Ratzinger’s life, papacy and beliefs

Opinion & Analysis: Popes past and present, media portrayals of religious leaders

‘Something Beautiful Has Begun’
‘Pope Is Coming, as Is Clichéd Coverage in the Media’
‘American Benediction’

Reference: The pope’s U.S. itinerary

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