He’s received a Presidential greeting like no other on his first official visit to the US, but should he be receiving such a welcome?
During his six-day visit, the Pope, as head of the Catholic Church will address the UN and lead prayers at Ground Zero. Before arriving on American soil he told reporters on board his plane that he was “deeply ashamed” of sexual abuse by US clergy and said “we will absolutely exclude paedophiles from the sacred ministry”. In recent years, the US Catholic Church, which has around 65 million followers, has paid $2bn (£1bn) to settle clergy sexual abuse cases.
Pope Benedict XVI was elected in April 2005 and since then hasn’t shied away from controversy. In his first year in office, he upheld a ban on men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” becoming priests, but was said to be considering relaxing the church’s ban on condoms to allow their use by people with Aids.
Seventeen months into his Papacy, his quotation of a 14th century Byzantine emperor – who said the Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only “evil and inhuman” things – provoked anger in the Muslim world. The Vatican denied that he had intended to offend Muslims.
So has the Pope helped promote inter faith harmony? If not, what should he be doing? Is he too political? And has Pope Benedict done enough to confront the abuse scandal in Catholic Church?