First off, let me say that seeing Nancy Pelosi kiss Pope Benedict's ring when she greeted him at the White House this morning was probably one of the less pleasing things I've seen in my life.
I never get tired of hearing Kathleen Battle sing, and this morning was no exception. Her performance of the Lord's Prayer (even though it wasn't the correct wording of the Our Father) was quite excellent. I had chills running down my spine the whole time.
I've said it before (though not here) and I'll say it again: President Bush is one of the most Catholic-sounding Protestants I've ever seen or heard (too bad the music selections--that version of the Lord's Prayer and Battle Hymn of the Republic--are two of the most quintessential American Protestant hymns that exist). I don't know if the rumors about him converting to Catholicism after his presidency is done are true or not, but I pray that they are. Come on, Mr. President, join your good friend Tony Blair and come home to the Church. We would be exceedingly happy if you did so.
I won't comment at length on the Pope's speech this morning, but here it is if you want to read the full text. I was glad that he devoted a large chunk of his comments to the notion that truly free societies cannot exist without Truth as their foundation and even quoted the late beloved John Paul the Great in doing so. All in all, his speech set a good tone for the rest of his trip, in which he will hopefully continue to make his voice heard for true peace and justice as well as for the place of faith in modern society.
Still to come tonight: a prayer service with the U.S. bishops at the National Shrine.
Update: I forgot to mention that it's the Pope's 81st birthday, and I just discovered that he shares a birthday with another one of my favorite people, Rafa Benitez.
It would be quite embarrassing for President Bush to convert after he ends his last term as president, especially given how poorly most people worldwide view him. I would have more respect for the man if he converted while still in office.
I mean, sure, I know he means well, but "means well" does not the leader of the free world make.
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