This Is Historic
Posted April 16, 2008 6:43 p.m. EDT
Updated April 16, 2008 11:30 p.m. EDT
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.