Coming to America

Collegiate Catholic minorities respond to the 2008 Papel Visit

In the midst of the war on terrorism, the economic decline, and the presidential race, the U.S. was, for the first time ever, graced with the presence of Pope Benedict XVI last week. Over 150,000 tickets were requested for the Mass he gave at the Nationals Stadium last Thursday, but how his visit impacted the minority Catholics has been controversial. Many compare Benedict XVI to his well-liked and more charming predecessor Pope Jean Paul II saying, he was both more media friendly and more of a modernist then Pope Benedict. The opinion of the Papel visit varied considerably from a university standpoint in DC; for instance at Howard University, Gary McIntyre responded stating, “The Catholic Religion as a whole, but especially American Catholicism, has been under great scrutiny because of the sexual assault issues. The Pope did a great job with addressing this issue, as he met with the children whom had suffered from the terrible acts by the various priests. I believe the Pope’s visit to America, instilled a new hope in great amounts of people both Catholic and non-Catholic.” However Dominic Green of George Washington University felt that the Pope shouldn’t have focused in on the issues of the past saying “I did not attend the mass but I watched some parts of it. I do not think he should have spoken about the issues within the Catholic Church, because it overshadowed his visit. This was not a trip intended to cause controversy and create a media buzz.” Qui-Juan Jones of American University explained the apathy that he felt toward Pope Benedicts visit, “There has been a disconnect from the time when Pope Jean Paul II was active. I feel like there are only certain churches that feel directly influenced by communication and instruction released from the Vatican. There is no doubt that the views expressed weren’t adequate representation for a collective standpoint from each university. However it is still interesting to see a Catholic minority response to the Pope ranging from the university standpoint. There is no doubt that Pope Benedict XVI has had more controversial issues, regarding the defamation of Catholic Church, to assess, but will minority Catholics be able to continue a faithful walk in American Catholicism?