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...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Live Blogging The Pope's Yankee Stadium Mass

(Welcome Ann Althouse readers! One of the most neutral, pithy blogs around. A joy to read and welcome her readership. And welcome Kelly Clarkson Express fans! Saying hello to the Dawn Patrol readers!)

Having been absent until now for the Pope's visit, allow a spur-of-the-moment Live Blogging of His Holiness' Mass at Yankee Stadium.

My style, as ever combining the reverent and irreverent, will no doubt not be a surprise if this is your first meeting with it. Just know that beneath the blogger-cynic, is a faithful and very enthusiast Catholic penitent.

I start after Cardinal Edward Egan's speech (in both English/Spanish).

14:55 PM EST

Speaking as many languages as I do, I am hyper-conscious of accents. So let me ask you, what accent does Cardinal Egan have...in English?

He slurs his words at the end of every syllable, like an Ealing Studios actor launching into an one-liner.

Perhaps he's thinking of his retirement, said to be coming as soon as the Pope leaves New York.

15:02 PM EST

The Pope was given use of the home team locker room. The band has the honour of the visiting team locker.

It is not known where the musical "acts" will be given sanctuary. They include, according to the NY Times Blog:

"The Harlem Gospel Choir, the Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, the Italian tenor Marcello Giordani, the Puerto Rican singer and guitarist José Feliciano, the Brooklyn-born rhythm-and-blues and soul singer Stephanie Mills, and the jazz and pop singer Harry Connick Jr."

José Feliciano gets around. I just heard him (or someone using his trademark guitar-driven songs) play at an Obama rally, last week.

At 5'5", he's just one inch shorter than the present Pope, one of the few who won't be towering over the Pope (I noticed he gets extra shy around very tall people).

Speaking of musical acts, not being an AI fan, I had no idea who that girl who launched into a very impressive Ave Maria was, yesterday. It was at the end of the St. Joseph's Seminary visit in Yonkers.

It was Kelly Clarkson. Not bad. The Pope himself looked pleasantly surprised.

H/T: Ann Althouse & Ruth Anne Adams

15:18 PM EST

The Homily has started. Everyone has noted how fluent the Pope is, perhaps remembering the halting, oft-times slurring efforts of John Paul the Great.

Perhaps, but the latter always had the ability to convey a lot with the few words at his disposal, often re-shouting the last line to great effect.

Who can forget, when during a youth rally thousands of voices shouted at him, WE LOVE YOU!

"And John Paul LOVES YOU!"

Pope Benedict is a teacher, not a showman. And like a teacher, often you have to rely on his eyes to convey his innermost thoughts.

Usually that would be the case. During the America visit, he's had a smile from ear to ear. I've never seen a man enjoy himself so much. It's like he's come home.

Back to the Homily, he's mentioning how in the country where personal freedom is so valued, obedience to faith are not easy words to utter. Good. Not by ignoring this American tendency will you get people's attention. Grab it, embrace it, challenge it.

If you know only one thing about Americans, it's that Americans love nothing more than a good challenge and plain-speaking.

Benedict XVI, from the moment he stepped on the ground, in fact, even before it, with his impromptu remarks on the plane, laid the foundation for just that during his visit.

15:35 PM EST

He mentioned the 300-pound gorilla for the first time, that I recall. Abortion. Short words, "child in his mother's womb", but the audience stopped him and clapped.

In fact, the audience is now into his Homily. This speech, more than any other so far, reminds me of his monumentally approachable speech during his Inauguration.

He has successfully engaged the audience, and broken the fourth wall.

Now in Spanish.

It's curious how his Spanish remarks are a little more formal, less personalised, and even a little perfunctory. I'm glad he's doing it. But it lacks the brio of the English ones, as he races through it.

Here is the full Homily, in both languages.

15:43 PM EST

The crowd launched into "Benedetto! Benedetto!" for the first time. A little tentative, but I fancy that'll change by the end. It is, after all, a Mass and not a baseball game.

The Profession of Faith is in full swing with a long queue up a ramp (in several languages).

15:54 PM EST

The dishy young Father Jonathan Morris, of Fox News, has said something very true.

Suddenly, people are starting to separate this Pope from his predecessor, by getting to know him better.

Although he mentioned how this Pope's idea of fun is holidaying whilst writing books/speeches/encyclicals, whilst the latter had "a lot of help" in writing his speeches, the fact that perhaps this Pope might have his own brand of charisma is being spoken of, at last.

I myself heard it from my mother, and her friends (some Jewish), who were surprised at how much they liked this new Pope. "He's not as scary as I thought he would be", said one lady.

That goes to show what happens when you look at him on your home ground, and excise the media's opinions of him, via their unrelenting bad coverage of the Catholic Church, vis-a-vis the sex-abuse scandals.

Take him for what he is, not what you believe him to be. At the ripe age of 81, he has so very much to offer.

16:08 PM EST

Resuming the comments after the Liturgy of the Eucharist is over.

16:25 PM EST

The Hymn: This is the Feast.
Situation: Holy Communion is in full swing.
The Scene: 550 priests giving Holy Communion to 58,000 to 60,000 Yankee Stadium congregants.

16:37 PM EST

The Prayer after Communion has been broken with shouts of love from the crowd. The Pontiff looks very amused.

Two items are being blessed on the altar, by the Pope. A cross and a cornerstone intended for St. John Neumann's chapel.

16:41 EST PM

Closing Remarks, as the Mass is officially ended.

I wish I could capture this little man's smile at the end of the Mass.

In the field where so many ghosts are said to inhabit, and where so many dreams have come true, it's almost as if the Pope has finally shed the spectre of John Paul II, and fulfilled some childhood dream.

You know there can never be a piece about New York without those words, "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere" rabble-rousing their way unto it.

But it's true.

There are many United States of Americas. Most are not Catholic, most are not even religious.

But in this one place and time, people in this stadium are bursting forth with a simple, and may I say, very palpable feeling of joy at being Catholic.

I hope the nightly newscasts will show this, but the cheers are unlike any I have heard (and I've heard many kinds for all types of people around the world).

These cheers are less about the man, as was the case with John Paul II, but more about the feeling of happiness to be Roman Catholics.

Don't think the public are any the less enthusiastic about the slight man before them. That smile is a living testament that he is astonished at the outpouring of love towards him.

The visit to America can be summed up with the words:

He's surprised. He's surprised others. And surprisingly, we all liked it.

Fox News' Shepard Smith is mentioning one viewer's email asking a very human question.

"Wherever he goes, people want to touch him. Isn't this oppressive to him?"

I'll tell you, shy people often crave physical touch without being able to say so. The German angle also gets overplayed too much. Germans are HUGELY emotional people, and hardly the automatons people take them for.

Given all these characteristics, stereotypes, and misunderstandings, isn't it wonderful that we got to see the man for almost a week -- without others telling us what to think about him? That includes people like me.

Take a good look at this guy. He's special. But come to all conclusions on your own.

I'm not sure what if anything will follow, or if this event is over, in which case I am closing the post -- but let me wish you a Happy Passover, should it apply.

This is one world, but there are all kinds of people in it. Let's be happy for our differences, as surely as we are happy for what we share in common.

IN THE COMMENTS: The aptly-named commenter, The Drill SGT, points Sundries to this beautiful rendition of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic", sung by the US Army Chorus in the White House for this music-loving Pope.

The words "stirring" were invented for this Hymn.

Small wonder the half-American Winston Churchill bade it sung at his funeral, at the top of Kings' and Queens' voices.

ADDENDUM: Photos of the Yankee Stadium event.

Waiting for the "4" train to Yankee Stadium, a sight which a mere 30 years ago, wouldn't have been remarkable -- a nun waitin' for a train.

Just outside Yankee Stadium, at a sports bar, a guy is doing what I would've done. Take a photo of the plasma, showing Pope Benedict on telly. You take what life gives you.

Sports shop nearby closed for the day. I think we know where the owner'll be.

I was really impressed by the crowds. Perhaps because the event was free, a lot of minorities ESPECIALLY black Catholics were able to attend gratis. Awesome!

Yankee Stadium, as the Pope Mobile entered. What a cheer.

They're calling it "The Sermon on the Mound". Hehe.

You know when attitudes and enthusiasm are both relaxed? When Bishops in their mitres are waving frantically towards the Pope, at the same moment, whipping out their cameras just inches away from him -- just like the rest of us.

Instead of lacking dignity, I find that refreshing.

Indeed. Bon voyage, Pope Benny!

Labels: ,


  • Supposedly every person in the stadium is to be able to receive communion... and they're planning to do it all in 15 minutes!

    Talk about a New York Minute....

    By Blogger Dave B, at Sun Apr 20, 04:09:00 pm GMT-4  

  • LOL! Quite so, Launchpad. Thanks for the comment.

    I heard that Mayor Bloomberg is there, but though Rudy Giuliani was at the St. Patrick's Mass -- and controversially took Holy Communion, which as a divorced man is he proscribed from doing -- I don't know if he is there now.

    As a Yankee's fan, I would hope he is. ;)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 20, 04:16:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Err, just to make doubly sure no one is confused, I am a BoSox fan. It is Rudy Giuliani who is the Yankees fan, of course. :)

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 20, 04:17:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Greetings Victoria.

    Did you catch (on TV) the Army Band doing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" for the Pope?

    How do you think it went over?

    We miss you :)

    By Blogger The Drill SGT, at Sun Apr 20, 04:34:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hey Drill SGT! I miss you too, believe it or not. I am just bad at being constant about it. :(

    However, I must say I didn't catch one of my favourite Hymns. Thanks for pointing it out.

    When was that?

    Ooh, Mass is over. "Go in peace". Let me post my closing remarks. :)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 20, 04:40:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hey, this was really nicely presented.


    I'll tell you, shy people often crave physical touch without being able to say so

    Very, very perceptive.

    By Blogger Finn Alexander Kristiansen, at Sun Apr 20, 05:08:00 pm GMT-4  

  • "Hey, this was really nicely presented."

    Hey Finn! Great to see you here. :)

    It was very spur-of-the-moment, truly. As a Catholic, I felt extraordinarily guilty at not having the whole hog (as expected given my rah-rah Benny-blogging before) for our Pontiff's visit to the USA.

    I'm glad I waited, as I was able to feel the visit, rather than to report on it. As a Catholic, it was important for me, even if as a blogger I failed.

    "Very, very perceptive."

    Are you wondering if I am shy? I wonder myself.

    I think not. I'm reserved, and too much of a ham to be shy. :)

    But hey, maybe deep down inside, reserve is really an unresolved shyness.

    Rather like this Pope. God knows I love touching, hugging, and being AROUND people in real life.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 20, 05:18:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hey, Victoria,
    You are right, it is very cool to be Catholic this week. The Pope's visit rescued us from the dreary depths of living in our faults instead of in love. "Just say the word, and I shall be healed." That word is love, and the Pope brought that to the fore again.


    By Blogger PatCA, at Sun Apr 20, 05:27:00 pm GMT-4  

  • You know, the place in Bavaria where my sister lives hasa lot of people convinced that this pope was begat (am I doing this right, my knowledge of the term's from "Inherit the Wind ;) ) right there ;)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 20, 05:33:00 pm GMT-4  

  • My niece was at a Happy Hour on Friday in NYC somewaher when the Pope went down the street. The doors of the bar were then (by police order?) locked so no one could leave the bar to go outside.

    She was with 4-5 fellow Fordham grads and she texted her Mom to say she was very moved. Not sure if she was being a wise ass.

    Nice job vspurs. Cheers!

    By Blogger I'm Full of Soup, at Sun Apr 20, 05:35:00 pm GMT-4  

  • PatCA! Wassup. :)

    That is the moment in every Mass I most love. "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed".

    Well, that moment and the wonderful shaking of hands that comes during the Sign of Peace.

    Love love love it.

    There used to be, PatCA, the belief that religion was all about yourself and the faults you had as a Christian.

    What we've seen since the 1960s, is more attention on the Church and its faults, which in effect wrested responsibility from each Catholic.

    Thank God, we're finally taking neither one road of guilt, nor the other of hatred in recent times. It's a backlash of love, perhaps...


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 20, 05:37:00 pm GMT-4  

  • "You know, the place in Bavaria where my sister lives hasa lot of people convinced that this pope was begat (am I doing this right, my knowledge of the term's from "Inherit the Wind ;) ) right there ;)"

    Begat is perfect, biblical even, Maltinho. :)

    Everyone in Bavaria (and Austria) seems to have a soft spot for this guy. Even my semi-apostate auntie in Duesseldorf likes him.

    I guess everyone wants a piece of him. :)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 20, 05:39:00 pm GMT-4  

  • "She was with 4-5 fellow Fordham grads and she texted her Mom to say she was very moved. Not sure if she was being a wise ass."

    LOL! That's awesome. Probably the latter, but since it gave her a better chance to get soused, maybe she liked it. ;)

    Thanks for your kind words, and taking the time out to post, AJ!


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 20, 05:40:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I'm glad you didn't miss this, Vic.

    Another Italian tenor, Salvatore Licitra, got to sing for the Pope yesterday afternoon. I think it energized him, because he sang very well later that night at the Met. ;)

    By Blogger JSU, at Sun Apr 20, 06:01:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Victoria

    Here is the Hymn

    I assume the guys in purple and white are Knights of Columbus. They sure aren't my Army :)


    By Blogger The Drill SGT, at Sun Apr 20, 06:16:00 pm GMT-4  

  • YouTube of Miss Clarkson.

    Missed you, Vics.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Sun Apr 20, 06:16:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I knew that you could not miss this event, Victoria! Mucho good to hear from you again!

    By Blogger Ron, at Sun Apr 20, 09:07:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hey JSU. :)

    "Another Italian tenor, Salvatore Licitra, got to sing for the Pope yesterday afternoon. I think it energized him, because he sang very well later that night at the Met. ;)"

    I could Wiki, but let me just admit I have never heard of him. Glad to know you heard him in full voice (if I know you, you were at the same Met performance!).


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 20, 10:16:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Thanks for the links, Drill SGT and Ruth Anne!

    As you can see, I've updated the post with hat tips to you both. :)

    The Kelly Clarkson Express blog is very amused that I had never heard the gal sing.

    If only they knew I almost never watch television, and when I do, I am a Travel Channel/Discovery Channel/History Channel International fan instead.

    I'm guessing AI is still going?


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 20, 10:18:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Mucho awesome to hear you too, Ron! I missed ya, babe. :)

    What did you think of my Ethel Merman/Kelly Clarkson allusion on Althouse's blog comments?

    A tad too much perhaps, especially since I heard Jennifer Garner is the true belter of the two.

    Oh, BTW:

    If anyone has seen Flickr or Photobucket pics of people at this event, I would appreciate a tip!


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 20, 10:20:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Vic, Merman I can deal with! But Kate Smith would have gone a bit too far!!!

    As is my coyote trickster want, I pass along my own snarkitude from my blog...


    By Blogger Ron, at Sun Apr 20, 10:27:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I admit, as a non-Catholic that 1) I was not initially enamored of this pope (at all, given his former position) although I had a great deal of respect for his predecessor, and 2) I have been (perhaps unfairly) critical of him at times.

    However, I am much more impressed now. In particular I am impressed with how he didn't try to duck the abuse scandal but instead took it head on and has made it clear that he won't try to sweep anything under the rug.

    I hope that continues. I doubt if anything he does will cause people to forget John Paul (who was truly a Great Man, like Gandhi or Thomas Jefferson, men who changed the world and made it better) but he is certainly causing people who have been critical (like myself) to rethink our criticisms and whether we have been fair or not. He may make a fan of me yet (though not a Catholic).

    By Blogger Eli Blake, at Mon Apr 21, 12:12:00 am GMT-4  

  • just to make doubly sure no one is confused, I am a BoSox fan. It is Rudy Giuliani who is the Yankees fan, of course. :)

    Of course, the only actually practicing and regularly churchgoing Catholic running this year, Bill Richardson, couldn't figure out whether he is a fan of one or the other.

    I on the other hand, have no such indecision. I root for 1) the Cincinnati Reds, and 2) for the National League team in any interleague contest, so therefore I NEVER root for either the Yankees or the Sox. Simple enough.

    By Blogger Eli Blake, at Mon Apr 21, 12:17:00 am GMT-4  

  • Eli, I'm elated at your reappraisal of this man.

    This visit means different things to different people (when not?).

    But if it allows a kind of rapprochement to the Pontificate personally, that's a heckuva start.

    Thanks for posting your two comments!


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 21, 12:22:00 am GMT-4  

  • I should at least wave, right?

    By Blogger reader_iam, at Mon Apr 21, 01:40:00 am GMT-4  

  • Also, I suspect that my having drunk the Red Sox Kool-Aid since first sipping them in early college days explains all sorts of things to all sorts of different people.

    ; )

    (As a blogfriend of mine would say: Cheers!)

    By Blogger reader_iam, at Mon Apr 21, 01:43:00 am GMT-4  

  • Thanks, Victoria. This is a really lovely post.

    By Blogger Joan, at Mon Apr 21, 03:48:00 am GMT-4  

  • RIA and Joan:

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm very gratified you liked the piece. :)

    I'd like to thank Dawn Eden as well, for linking to the post!


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 21, 09:51:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I'm there with ya, Victoria about how emotional we Germans get...we just show it in other ways!

    By Blogger Ron, at Tue Apr 22, 07:17:00 am GMT-4  

  • Ron -- like invading Poland?



    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 22, 01:58:00 pm GMT-4  

  • [sings]You only hurt...the one you love...the one you shouldn't hurt at all...[/sings]

    I'm in me cups, mother! Come join me for a fry up and a pint, VicTastic!

    By Blogger Ron, at Tue Apr 22, 07:07:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hm, did my last comment get eaten?

    Anyway, I've a short post on Licitra (with video clip of his Papal performance) up at my blog.

    By Blogger JSU, at Wed Apr 23, 04:35:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Vic, while you're here (or at Althouse, anyway), have you seen this? Disney's wartime films of Brazil.

    By Blogger JSU, at Thu Apr 24, 11:07:00 pm GMT-4  

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