Yesterday our Pope returned to Rome. It was a touching and exciting visit. I'm still kicking myself because I didn't go into the city to join the crowds along 5th Avenue just to get a glimpse of him.
Yesterday, I caught the Mass at Yankee Stadium. The coverage was quite extensive. Channels 5 and 9 covered the concert and Mass. CBS and NBC also covered the Mass, I don't know why ABC didn't. I stayed with Fox News. They did a good job of explaining the Mass and also gave us some background on the Pope.
They again mentioned their surprise at his election and his performance as Pope. There was not much expected of him in the beginning because he was an academic. They never expected such a warm and thoughtful person. They did mention an interview with his brother, also a priest, who said that Cardinal Ratzinger at the time of his election had been looking forward to retirement as a time of reading, and music. They also mentioned that the Pope doesn't like to fly, at one time he took the train from Rome to Germany to visit his family. That has certainly changed.
An article in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL said that he had been seen as a stern, sort of enforcer of church rules and a person who did not have a pastoral sense. Evidently, he has changed. This week he came across as a gracious man reaching out to crowds in Washington, accepting matzo at a synagogue andat Ground Zero helping up widowed women as they knelt before him. He wanted to appear friendly to many faiths by meeting with Muslims at an interfaith gathering in Washington and with Jews in New York.
He had such a busy schedule this week that it's hard to believe he's 81. He looked as energetic as he waved good-bye and entered his Al Italia plane as he did when he arrived in Washington. If I may be permitted a bit of political comparison, If the Pope can handle such a busy schedule at 81, why can't John McCain at 71 handle the presidency?