The Pope Gets 20 Minutes

Pope Benedict XVI is shlepping all the way to the U.S. -- only his eighth foreign trip as pope -- primarily to speak at the United Nations, and they're only giving him 20 minutes to talk!

Actually, that's about double what world leaders usually get when they speak at the U.N.'s annual debates, according to a U.N. official involved in preparing for the trip.

The pope will address a gathering of diplomats at the U.N. General Assembly for 20 minutes on April 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 11:50 p.m. He will then meet with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and about 30 to 40 other senior U.N. officials in the Indonesian Lounge, near the General Assembly, the official said. They will set up a reception line for the Pope and officials will line up to greet him. Then he will return to the General Assembly Hall to address U.N. staff members at about 12:30. The secretary-general will deliver opening remarks. The second session, including Ban's remarks, will last 20 minutes.

World leaders are traditionally limited to 10 minutes at the U.N.'s annual debates, though many -- including President Bush, Venezuelan Leader Hugo Chavez, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula and former Cuban President Fidel Castro -- have exceeded the time limit.

The pope will be traveling with a huge media entourage -- about 72 reporters. That's about twice as many reporters as accompany President Bush when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly each year.

Mary Ann Glendon, U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, said she believes the pope will deliver 17 different addresses -- many much shorter than the U.N. talk -- during his six days in the United States.

By Michelle Boorstein |  April 3, 2008; 11:40 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I don't see how the pope will manage to talk for 20 minutes "from 11:30 a.m. to 11:50 p.m." He must be doing a lot of standing and staring for the other 12 hours.

Posted by: | April 4, 2008 07:37 AM

Here comes the Pope. He represents the last living relic of the Roman Empire. Is he relevant?

Posted by: candide | April 4, 2008 09:50 AM

Pope Benedict has nothing to do with the "Roman Empire." I think you might be surprised to find that what he has to say will be VERY relevant....unless one has already submitted to the god of relativism.

Posted by: Kathy | April 5, 2008 01:47 PM

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