The Pope Arrives in DC

Pope Benedict has arrived here in the Imperial City of Washington, and all manner of road closings and television specials have been announced. But, the quietest notice came at the gym this morning. I work out at the Catholic University gym, and there were no pick-up games of basketball. The main gymnasium has special flooring for a dinner that is being thrown for the students by CUA president David O’Connell, CM to honor the Pope’s visit to the campus. But the gym will re-open the day after the visit, so the students can work of those extra calories from the festive meal. More difficult to digest is the expected speech the Pope will deliver at CUA. Along with the address at the UN, the CUA speech will be the most important and substantive speech the Pope will give while here. Some news reports have indicated they anticipate a dressing down for American Catholic Academia, but they’re wrong. The Pope will certainly focus on Catholic identity, but he is not coming all this way to slap wrists. The Pope will give his address at the Great Hall in the student center. I attended the opening of that center which featured a presentation of Leonard Bernstein’s "Mass" by the extraordinarily talented students at CUA’s music school. This is what Catholic identity should be about: the performance of great art and scholarship and culture that spring forth from our Christian faith. It is fitting that Benedict will address the role of Catholic universities in shaping and, indeed, generating culture in the same room. Meanwhile, don’t drive downtown. It’s a mess. And you can leave the basketball at home until Friday. Michael Sean Winters
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Archbishop Matteo Zuppi (Photo/Community of Sant'Egidio website)
Archbishop Matteo Zuppi of Bologna calls Father James Martin’s book ‘Building a Bridge’ ‘useful for encouraging dialogue, as well as reciprocal knowledge and understanding.’
Matteo ZuppiMay 21, 2018
 Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 20. The pope at his "Regina Coeli" announced that he will create 14 new cardinals June 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Eleven of the new cardinals are under the age of 80 and so have the right to vote in the next conclave.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 20, 2018
Images: AP, Wikimedia Commons
Bishop Curry described Teilhard as “one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century.”
Angelo Jesus CantaMay 19, 2018
Both men were close to each other in life, and both are much revered by Pope Francis.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 19, 2018