The American Pope

On the eve of Benedict XVI's first papal visit to the U.S., a revealing look at his long fascination with America and how it is shaping his vision for the world

Tony Gentile / Reuters

This will be Pope Benedict XVI's sixth trip to the U.S. and his first as Pontiff.

In 1984, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger dropped by New York City. He was heading home to the Vatican from a conference in Dallas and had saved a day to tour what was then still regularly called the Big Apple. According to Father James O'Connor, who was acting as his chauffeur, Ratzinger sat in the front seat, the better to take in the hustle and buzz of the city. They visited the (Episcopal) Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the medievally furnished Cloisters museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the way to Kennedy Airport, the car stalled halfway through the Midtown...

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