Friday, April 27, 2007


In a private audience last week with Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General invited Pope Benedict to the organization's headquarters in New York.

This morning, an announcement from the Holy See confirmed that the Pope has accepted Ban's invitation for a visit, to take place at an unspecified "mutually convenient time."

Of the seven papal visits to the United States since Pope Paul VI's one-day trek to New York on 4 October 1965, most have had as their centerpiece a visit and address to the UN's General Assembly, which meets in early autumn. The journey -- the first papal trip to these shores since 1999 and Papa Ratzi's first since 1998 -- will likely include a swing-through of US cities, but an American tour independent of the international body is contingent on a formal invitation from the nation's bishops.

Of course, more to come.

Ettore Ferrari/Pool