Monday, April 21, 2008

Papal address to the UN

And on to the above-mentioned culmination...the papal speech to the UN. It began in deathly boring fashion, as first the President of the UN spoke. And behold, it was long, and political, and windy, but the Lord was not in the wind. At last he announced, “I now give the floor to...the Secretary-General.” Alas, there was no fire. Not in that speech. But there was an earthquake – along the New Madrid fault, to be exact; only 5.2 but uncomfortably close to my father. For now, lest you be bored as we were, I cut away to an exchange of notes between Juli and I:

Juli: “CNN has it right: 'Awaiting Pope's Address to the UN'.” (A text bar that did not change even to identify either the president or the Sec-Gen as they were speechmaking.)
Juli: “And why CNN? Why not FoxNews?”
Me: “We aren't a Republican event!”
Juli: “But the Communist News Network?”
Me: “...”
Me: (Once Pope is speaking) “Why French?”
Juli: “It's the official language of the UN.”
Me: “Brie not afraid?”

[We both listen a while]

Juli: “His words are not 'exciting' as one might expect. They seem to be more like an earthquake in the middle of an ocean that eventually causes a tsunami. Not just today, but in general.”
Me: “God's time, not ours. However much we might wish it otherwise. It took thousands of years and hundreds of prophets to prepare for Christ the first time around.”

We did settle down and turn serious, as you read, once the Pope, being a small, still voice, was finally given the floor. He wasn't easy to follow at first – he spoke in French with a simultaneous translator, and the translator's choice of words – I dunno. It wouldn't have been Benedict's selection...or maybe it was just that the voice was wrong, or simply that I was tired and already saturated from the previous speakers. In any case, my mind kept wandering. One line that did jump out at me went something like 'Every person is the central point of God's design for history and man.' During his speech, they kept cutting away to the Zambian ambassador, two or three times at least. Why him, I haven't the faintest idea. They showed China at one point – my imagination is telling me that he looked extremely bored, but I'm certain he was listening – and not liking; the Pope spoke almost exclusively on human rights and religious freedom. He did switch to English halfway through – it seemed to me that his speech became less abstract and more concrete, more specifically Christian, after that.

No comments: