Friday, September 04, 2015

"Be Courageous!" – With National "Audience," Pope Begins His US Script

A striking introduction to this month's US PopeTrip, ABC News' heavily promoted "virtual audience" with Francis – taped Monday in the Vatican – aired tonight, giving Francis his most extended introduction yet to the Stateside crowd, as well as helping the 266th Bishop of Rome hear out the concerns that await among the people during the trek that begins in Washington in 18 days' time.

As context goes, the Q&A format employed – albeit usually not in video-link form – is a favorite of Papa Bergoglio's, who's used it repeatedly since the first days of his pontificate (usually, but not always, with young people). It remains to be seen, however, whether any US sessions will be structured in the same fashion, particularly given the Pope's difficulty with English (the language he's long termed his "toughest" to handle), which will only form the totality of one of his 16 planned talks: the unprecedented speech to the joint meeting of Congress on the 24th, arguably the most intensely awaited moment of the entire trip to the capital, New York and Philadelphia. For all the other talks – slated to be given either in some English and mostly Spanish or completely the latter – a real-time translator will be at Francis' side.

With only four edited segments of the session with representatives of the "peripheries" in Los Angeles, Chicago and McAllen, Texas aired by the network, the full, 42-minute encounter has been released online with English translation...

...y también está una versión en su original español.

All that said, especially as recent polls have indicated a majority of the country remained unaware of the impending trek, the rollout of what might just be this pontificate's most high-stakes journey to date is just beginning, so there will be more surprises to come as the touchdown on the 22nd approaches. In the meantime, while the ratings for the program won't emerge until late weekend, the broadcast coup proved a hit on social media, leading Twitter's trending topics nationwide throughout the night.