Monday, 12:50 PM
Pope will pass on Boston, visit New York and D.C. instead
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
BALTIMORE -- Pope Benedict XVI will visit New York and Washington, D.C., in the spring, but will not come to Boston, the Vatican's top diplomat in the United States announced this morning.
In his first visit to the United States as pope, Benedict will speak at the United Nations, visit the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Manhattan, and meet at the White House with President Bush. He will also celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium in New York and at the new Nationals baseball stadium, which is now under construction in Washington.
The decision is a blow to Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, who had pushed hard for Benedict to visit Boston, which will be celebrating its bicentennial as a Catholic diocese next year. But Boston was a controversial option because of its prominence as the city in which the clergy sexual abuse crisis erupted.
The details of the trip were announced by the papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, at the start of the semiannual meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore this morning.
The trip is to take place from April 15 to 20.
"Peter will be among us," Sambi said, using a biblical reference to the pope's role as the successor to the Apostle Peter in Catholic theology.
"He will not travel much, but will address himself to the whole people of the United States," Sambi said.
Benedict, who will celebrate his 81st birthday during the visit, is traveling much less than his predecessor, John Paul II, because of his age. John Paul II was 59 years old on his first visit to the United States in 1979, which began with a stop in Boston.
Michael Paulson can be reached at email@example.com.