Pope Benedict has begun his five day U.S. Trip which has the theme “Christ Our Hope”. The visit takes in Washington and New York, including a stop at ground zero and an address to the UN.

April 2008

Click here to view video message from Pope Benedict ahead of his trip to USA

Benedict XVI was welcomed to the United States today in an unprecedented reception by President George Bush.Accompanied by his wife and daughter Jenna, President Bush went to Andrews Air Force Base to receive the Pope — an honor the president has never given to a visiting head of state.

The Holy Father, aboard an Alitalia Boeing 777, called Shepherd One, landed at the base under blue skies around 4 p.m., local time. He was greeted by 800 students, members of military families, and parishioners from four Washington-area parishes.

During the flight, the Holy Father had a short press conference with some 70 journalists on board.
Responding to their questions, the Pope said that the secular state’s relationship with faith as it exists in the United States is a “fundamental model” that should be imitated in Europe.

The Bishop of Rome praised “the positive concept of the secular” in this country because it exists to give “authenticity and liberty” to the faith.

After the welcome ceremony, the Pope went by car to the residence of the apostolic nuncio, where he will stay until he leaves for New York on Friday.

Christ our Hope

The Holy Father will start off the day on Wednesday, his 81st birthday, with a private Mass in the nunciature chapel, followed by a morning reception at the White House and a private meeting with the president.
The five-day U.S. trip has the theme “Christ Our Hope” and includes two cities — Washington and New York — a stop at ground zero and an address to the United Nations.

Comments re Clerical Abuse scandal

We are deeply ashamed and will do all possible that this cannot happen in the future.
Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI says that it is hard for him to understand how sexually abusive priests could have so betrayed their mission, and promised that the Church will do everything possible to ensure that such a situation never happens again.

The Pope affirmed this on the Alitalia Boeing 777, “Shepherd One,” that carried him to the United States. Some 70 journalists were on board the flight.

“Really, it is a great suffering for the Church in the United States and for the Church in general and for me personally that this could happen,” the Pontiff said. “If I read the histories of these victims, it’s difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betrayed in this way their mission to give healing, to give the love of God to these children.

The Holy Father affirmed that the Church must select candidates for the priesthood who are healthy and balanced. He said it is more important to have good priests than to have many priests. “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry,” the Pope added.

Themes of visit

Benedict XVI highlighted the eminently religious and pastoral nature of his trip, and his hopes for his meetings with U.S. Catholics and representatives of Judaism and other religions, and with leaders from other Christian confessions. He also mentioned his visit to the United Nations, which will mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Finally, he analyzed the increasing number of Latin American immigrants in the United States. He emphasized that the Church’s challenge is to accompany them with pastoral solicitude, especially aware of the risk their famililes run of being broken apart.