One-Way Communication

It appears that Pope Benedict XVI's communication with Christian leaders and representatives from other faiths will be decidedly one-way when he visits the U.S. next month. Benedict will hold a meeting with interfaith leaders at the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. on April 17. And he will hold a prayer service with 300 leaders from other Christian denominations at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, in Manhattan the next day.
In a briefing today at the U.S. Conference of Bishops' headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Rev. Ronald Roberson, associate director of ecumenical and interrreligious affairs, and the Rev. Dennis McManus, the conference's liaison to the Jewish faith, predicted strong, "substantial" speeches from the pontiff aimed at promoting the use of religion as an instrument of peace throughout the world. They say Benedict has made it clear that improving relations with non-Catholic faiths and with other religions lies at the center of his papacy.
But both made clear that it will be Benedict who will do the talking.

At the interfaith meeting with representatives from the Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Jain and Hindu faiths, Benedict will be presented with gifts from each religion and then will greet the 10 representatives of the faith.
But Benedict will depart right after the event, said McManus. "I think, given everything of that day, unfortunately there is no personal time in this visit."
The meeting with Christian leaders will include a vespers service and address by the pope. Fifteen will be personally introduced to the pope. But "there will be no reply or particular exchange of remarks," said McManus.

By Jacqueline L. Salmon |  March 27, 2008; 2:26 PM ET
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Maybe it comes from a history of sermonizing, but I don't understand why the pope is so reluctant to engage in a dialogue with other religious leaders. It seems very insular to me, rather than reaching out and being ecumenical. We all benefit from dialogue and conversation, not lectures.

Posted by: Mark | March 28, 2008 09:29 AM

My Catholic friends in Mexico lament the difference between the open, loving Pope John Paul Ii and the harsh, punitive nature of Benedict. As a non-Catholic, I feel the same one. One only needs to look at the angelic face and body language of the former Pope to feel the warmth and love. The same, but opposite, applies to Benedict who, indeed, sermonizes, alienates non-Catholics and has an obvious closed minded agenda toward other Christians.

Posted by: Roy | April 1, 2008 08:34 AM

I totally agree, this Pope is a hater. I mean his first two writings as Pope were actually about Hope and Love. I mean really what a jerk.

To make comments about his visit before it even happens tells a lot about commentors pre-conceived notions.

Posted by: Dave | April 3, 2008 11:44 AM

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