The visit of the Holy Father in April to the White House is indeed a significant moment for all of the world’s Catholics. Benedict XVI will visit the Executive Mansion in his capacity of the Vatican’s Head of State, and accordingly all of the symbolic rituals will be observed. What uniquely distinguishes the visit of Benedict however is the fact that he is also the spiritual leader of the world’s Catholic Church and a significant moral compass for the world’s moral and ethical policies. The press services such as Reuters are indicating that one of the topics most likely discussed between President Bush and the Holy Father is the relationship between faith and reason. Such a discussion is truly significant for the Pope and his trip to the United States, simply because in the United States there is a tendency even among Catholics to reject such an integration of beliefs. The Pope has made the message very clear, that there can be an integration of both faith and reason in our modern lives; however, it takes the actions of change and conversion. Perhaps the message of global conversion through the integration of faith and reason is the most significant message coming from Papa Benedict in his entire papacy. Additionally, the topic of the rights of all persons to religious freedom. That issue, while distinctly included in the United States Constitution does not mean that Catholics are without social and political issues that confront them daily in their American lives. The unique school of American politics is always waging a battle over the intrinsic right to life intrinsic to all persons. However, Benedict is the symbol of Catholic unity in promoting cultural and scientific moderation as the scientific community deals with issues such as stem-cell research, in-vitro fertilization, and DNA and gene modifications in addition to the perpetual battles over the Pro-Life movement and admonitions against capital punishment.

In the short time of Benedict’s papacy, the Church has strongly voiced concern over the potential for science to rule over the human person. It appears that Pope Benedict is actively seeking a bridge between science and religion, faith and reason, secularism and traditional Catholicism. Such innovative methodologies of thought are welcome winds of intellectual and spiritual development in a Catholic Church that looks forward to clearly defining moral matters in the modern world. As faithful Catholics, we even more clearly look to the global influence of the Bishop of Rome to act as the global voice that unites and strengthens the unification of the world’s religions and the world’s cultures.

Benedict XVI will celebrate not only the true call to global harmony and understanding in his visit to the United States. He will also visit the United Nations during the papal trip. In the 21st century, our theological convictions as Catholics have indeed once again entered the world stage. These convictions are well represented in the pastoral and moderate message of Benedict XVI…that the world should seek global harmony in all aspects of unity among our religions and cultures. Regardless of the platform, theological, political, ecological or social the message is very clear to Catholic and global society…mutual understanding and appreciation of all the world’s faiths are the key to social and political world harmony.

 

Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author that wites on topics that effect Catholicism. He writes a daily blog on Catholic topics: http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com

Comments are always welcome at hugh.mcnichol@trinettc.com

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