David Crabtree on Assignment

This Is Historic

Posted April 16, 2008

This is historic.

People here in Washington, D.C., continue to work their way through the maze of tighter traffic and strict security.

But from my limited perspective, they don't seem to mind – too much.

The theme of Pope Benedict's visit is "a message of hope," and those we've talked with who have either seen Benedict XVI or heard his voice say they "believe it."

Earlier today, I spoke with several people from Raleigh and other parts of North Carolina who made the investment of time and energy and money to experience the papal visit.

They tell me they are in no way here "to worship the pope." "No," they insist, "we worship the risen Christ, but we are here to honor the man chosen to lead the Roman Catholic church."

It is rare for the Bishop of Rome to journey to the White House for an official state visit. The last was John Paul II in 1979, when President Carter welcomed him. The occasion is historic by all standards.

What will come of this visit? We may not know for a long time. Yes, we could see immediate words of healing and the process of closure regarding the sex-abuse crisis. We may hear words, like, "I can never forgive. Too much damage has been done."

Then again, we may realize the instructions, the directives, the encouragement given by this Holy Father to the bishops of the church have taken root.

That peace, love and understanding for all – no more wars, discrimination of the marginalized and so much more – may be closer than ever to becoming a reality.

That realization could come immediately. Or it could come for the next generation.

Either way, those who know this pope say he is committed to planting seeds of change.

While we wait for the seeds to germinate, or to blow away because the ground wasn't prepared, life will go on. The folks here in Washington will manage their commutes. People who work for the government will return to their cubicles and not peer from the windows for a peek at the pope. The Secret Service will breathe a little easier.

And those who worship will give thanks to have been a part of this moment in history.

Tomorrow – mass for close to 50,000, and more from Washington.


Tune in to WRAL-TV and stay logged on to WRAL.com this week as David Crabree reports from Washington D.C. on Pope Benedict's XVI's visit and what it means to the Triangle.


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  • TheAdmiral Apr 22, 2008

    The important thing out of this entirely is that we put relativism on the chopping block and we start back with relationism.

    Too many times we have seen people rationalize situations and religion only to say "on judgment day, god will say that getting into heaven will depend on the individuals and their situations."

    These people think truth is in the eye of the beholder and that the truth is different for everyone.

    Just like the conspiracy theorists who believe 9-11 was a plot by George Bush. That is the kind of thinking that we have allowed to become mainstream. Now you hear down the road any time a child is the victim of a pedophile - "Must have been a priest."

  • MarvinsWife12 Apr 17, 2008

    The Church has a much more rigorous weeding out process, if you will, of men who are not cut out to be priests or even deacons. My father is a deacon, in another diocese, and he had at least one if not two day long meetings with psychologists to discuss why he wanted to be a deacon. IIRC, my mother had to meet with them as well.
    The Catholic religion is most certainly misunderstood, as is Islam. Every time I date a non-Catholic I get all the same questions about Catholicism, why do you confess your sins to a priest (priest is Christ's representative on earth, and talking about things that you have done is part of the healing process), do you worship Mary (no we ask her to intercede on our behalf), why do you pray to saints (we don't, we ask them to pray for us, much like we ask our friends to pray for us), etc, etc.

    Rather than people railing against the Church, I do wish they would ask questions instead of believing what someone who isn't Catholic told them.

  • jetstream Apr 16, 2008

    Oh, I wasn't saying that it is 2-3% of priests in general. 2-3% of the overall population. With that, what you said is correct. The point I was trying to make really is that the Priesthood got the bad rap because many of these men joined the priesthood back in the early part of last century to hide the fact that they had Pedophilia or were Gay. Today, that is not the case. If you will note, the abuses took place in the 50's and 60's. 2-3 % is still a relavant number. But you are right, you see it in other ways nowadays. Just look at the teachers that make the news. Sad.

  • lauraleigh Apr 16, 2008

    jetstream - if you will look carefully, pedophilia is not so common among priests; in fact, Catholic priests have one of the lowest incidence rates of any other group of men, anywhere. Look at our local papers, see how many times during the month non-Catholic pastors, youth leaders, and other non-priests are arrested and charged with child abuse, porn, etc. - yet in the Dioceses of Raleigh and Charlotte I think no priests have been implicated in the scandal. Puts a somewhat different spin on the stats you were provided -

  • something2say Apr 16, 2008

    Just want to echo what jetstream said. I feel sometimes Catholics are misunderstood by many religions when infact we are more the same than different. I hope that more people take the time to learn that Catholics are Christains even if we have differences in how the bible is read! Over the years I have had the opportunity to share my beliefs as a Catholic and some people have explained to me how they really did not understand that Catholics were Christains at all!

  • jetstream Apr 16, 2008

    I agree with you to a point. It is hard to say whether married priests would have made a difference in the grand scheme of things. I went to a class at my Son's school around knowing the signs of sexual, mental, and physical abuse. In this class, we learned that 2-3 percent of any population contains Pedophiles (spelling?). Why so prominent in the church? Men that saw themselves as different(Pedophile and Gay) joined the priesthood. Because of the vows of celebacy they thought they could squash those tendencies. Obviously that didn't work. Hence the scandals. If they weren't in the priesthood, they would have been abusing in other ways and places. Unfortunately, the church was a safe harbor for a while. That is no longer tolerated. I was furious for a long time over it. But I have forgiveness in my heart and I feel the Church wants to do right.

  • Doctor Dataclerk Apr 16, 2008

    Well said jetstream. We do have much in common, while I don't believe everything Catholics do we are on the same page on most issues. I wish priest were allowed to be married as I believe it would have prevented some recent problems. I do believe the Pope is a good man doing what he believes is right and it is a big thing that he came over for a visit.

  • jetstream Apr 16, 2008

    I don't know who invented it myself, interesting question though.
    I haven't logged on in a while, but I felt that I needed to weigh in on this one. I've been following the posts today and I am saddened by the amount of misinformation floating out there about the Catholic Church.
    1. We do not view the Pope as God. He is the head of the church, nothing more. He has flaws like any human. Like any organization, he guides policy. A church as big as the Catholic Church, you need that or the services would be inconsistent.
    2. Excitement around his visit. Why is this negative? Many of you get all fired up when Billy Graham comes to town. It is the same thing. I don't follow Billy so I don't get excited. But I don't put others down that do.
    3. We read the same Bible as other Christians. It may be interpreted differently, but what church doesn't interpret things different?
    The bottom line is that we have more in common with you than differences. Stop the hate'n!

  • Doctor Dataclerk Apr 16, 2008

    Nobody answered my question, did Ron Popeil invent the Pope Mobile?

About this Blog:

WRAL anchor David Crabtree reports from around the world.