Pope Benedict XVI: A conservative - yes, but what kind

of conservative? He can't vote, but all U.S. Presidential

candidates would love to have him on their side.



BBC Brazil, Brazil

Voyage to America: The Papal 'Vote'


"These are strong motives for reinforcing the Vatican's connections with Catholic and non-Catholic Americans. But every time Benedict XVI opens his mouth, Democrats and Republicans will interpret and "spin it," according to their own political 'gospels.'"



By Lucas Mendez


Translated By Brandi Miller


April 16, 2008


Brazil - BBC Brazil - Original Article (Portuguese)

New York: Benedict XVI is a conservative, but would he vote for John McCain? To avoid giving the impression of political favoritism, Popes never visit the United States during election years, because as neutral as the papal robe is, his messages can and will be used by candidates.


Benedict XVI has numerous non-political motives for visiting the United States during an electoral year: he is invited to the U.N. to commemorate 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed in San Francisco in 1948; some American dioceses are turning 200 years old; and itís the first Papal visit since September 11th. And this year, the number of Muslims in the world surpassed the number of Catholics.


These are strong motives for reinforcing the Vatican's connections with Catholic and non-Catholic Americans. But every time Benedict XVI opens his mouth, Democrats and Republicans will interpret and "spin it," according to their own political 'gospels.'


The word "spin [espin]" doesnít yet exist in Portuguese. It comes from the verb to spin, as in spin a toy top, and here it is used in the sense of "disseminating the same information" in different ways, according to one's own interests. As Popes usually speak in papÍs [an ambiguous way of expression used by Popes], the messages always leave room for one more interpretation.



In the case of Benedict XVI, some positions are clear: he's against abortion and Senator McCain would have his vote. Also on the issues of immigration and gay marriage, the Republican would also get the Popeís vote. On taxes, nobody would get the Popeís vote; he appreciates donations.


On the issue of stem cells, none of the three candidates would receive Benedict XVIís vote, but the Democrats would win, in addition to Iraq, on matters relating to health care, education, and human rights.


The Catholic vote is complicated and not always predictable.


Previously, with Franklin Roosevelt, Catholics were more united as Democrats, but after the electorate split during the 1970s and 80s, they joined the bloc of pro-Reagan Democrats. They flocked back to the Democrats by a huge margin in favor of Bill Clinton, a protestant and in 2000, they favored Al Gore by a small margin, but in 2004 voted against a Catholic, John Kerry, including in Ohio, a decisive state.


This year in Ohio, Texas, and various other states, Senator Hillary Clinton was able to grab a large and decisive majority of the Catholic vote over Barack Obama, and they are giving her hope in Pennsylvania.


Benedict XVI isn't interested in these primary disputes. His horizon goes much further. The American Catholic Church is the third largest in the world - after Brazil and Mexico - and is the richest and most influential. It's also more faithful than the European, which is shrinking. The American Catholic church has also lost a quarter of its flock over the past 30 years with its conservative positions on sex, birth control, abortion, celibacy and 11,000 accusations of clerical pedophilia.


Thanks to Latino immigrants and a new commitment to recruit seminarians, the number of priests and believers has begun to grow again. Compared to us, Latinos, as with Europeans, the Americans take religion more seriously and attend mass. Itís sometimes a rebellious flock, but a faithful one.


During his visit, the German Benedict XVI will turn 81 years old - strong, composed and worried about peace and the poor. He deserves congratulations and our vote.


[Editor's Note: The author is playing with the word Ďvotoí (vote). It can mean two things in Portuguese: an electoral vote or a religious promise or offering made to God, many times in return for having asked or prayed for something].

















































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 18, 3:16pm]

The Pope on the move in the Pope-mobile, as he left Catholic University in Washington, April 17.

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: President Bush 'pulls out all the stops' to welcome Pope Benedict XVI to the White House, Apr. 16, 00:02:16RealVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWSWIRE PHOTOS: Pope Benedict XVI in America].

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Pope Benedict XVI attacks the record of sex abuse in the church, Apr. 18, 00:02:16RealVideo

President Bush and Laura Bush lead the celebration of the Pope's 81st birthday, as he is presented a cake by White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, April 16.

The Papal shoes.

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Pope Benedict XVI talks about humnan rights and calls on the U.N. General Assembly to act collectively to solve the world's problems, Apr. 18, 00:14:00RealVideo

Pope Benedict XVI speaks to the U.N. General Assembly on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, April 18.

Pope Benedict XVI, left, looks at a seder plate presented to him by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, during his visit to the Park East Synagogue, April 18, in New York. With the visit, the Pope became the first Pontiff ever to visit an American synagogue, bringing greetings for the Passover holiday and accepting gifts of matzo and a seder plate [below].