Pope Benedict XVI arrives this afternoon for his first US visit. Nearly half a million faithful, including Stephen Colbert, have acquired tickets to his events in Washington, DC and New York City.
A recent poll found that 74 percent of American Catholics approve of their spiritual leader. But, it's not all fishes and loves. More than 6 out of 10 Catholics reported that the Church is out of touch with their views. About 75 percent of Catholics and non-Catholics disapprove of how the Church leadership handled the priest sexual abuse crisis. It is likely that the Pope, who while aboard his plane to the US said he was "deeply ashamed" of the scandal, will apologize to Americans this week.
And of course, this wouldn't be a truly American visit without some financial analysis. To see how much this visit is going to cost, read more.
The Archdiocese of Washington estimates it will spend $3 million on the three-day visit. Using some good old-fashion American entrepreneurial spirit, the Archdiocese established a foundation which has raised the $3 million from wealthy donors. In New York, the city and Yankee stadium are waving the cost of the mass venue and security. To make up the other cost to the New York Archdiocese, Pope memorabilia is being sold on websites like popevisit2008.
Since many American Catholics are concerned that the Church does not reflect their values, do you think the Pope should use this opportunity to remind Catholics of the importance of maintaining the Church's traditions? Or, should he work on making the Church more relative to modern life? How?