I understand many people felt it was meaningful that he came. (I don’t. I’m not Catholic, except ancestrally, and even then several generations back.)
He seems to have taken out House Speaker John Boehner. (Leading some wags to ask how soon they could schedule a completely private session, one on one, between Pope Francis and Barack Obama.)
So for that last one, I’m tipping the scale and saying I’m glad he came.
But I’m glad he’s gone.
I didn’t like that three major American cities were turned into mini-police states for several days each.
In Washington, D.C., where I viewed the papal parade on the Mall, the TSA agent who directed me through the metal detectors told me she had been flown up from Florida the night before. Apparently D.C. didn’t have enough security personnel of its own to staff the papal visit. Who paid for that? And was it necessary? Or was it just overtime pay and free vacations for bureaucrats? (The other TSA agent who inspected my backpack, demanding I turn on all my electronics, took an accidental selfie with my smart phone.)
After the Pope’s procession, the ATF and other police agencies blocked the crowd between the White House and the Washington Monument from leaving via 17th Street NW to the nearest Metro stop (and not because it was one of the ones burning that day), even though the Pope was long gone, and made the crowd, including elderly, infirm, and obese people, go back down to Constitution Avenue, go back out the TSA checkpoint, and walk several blocks down the Mall, to get out.
At the TSA exit choke point, we got to see anti-Papists with giant posters proclaiming that all Catholics are going to Hell (who’d been there on my way in) have a shouting match with illegal immigrants demanding citizenship. The latter had bullhorns and were chanting in Spanish; the Westminster Baptist church knockoffs shouted back “be respectful, speak English.” It was all very edifying. God was there.
I’m tired of hearing an adult man, one who I am sure like many Jesuits is multilingual and has advanced degrees, speak with the English proficiency and oratorical skills of a mentally challenged child.
I’m tired of seeing Pope Francis visit prisons in America and not even inquire about incarcerated dissidents in Cuba (though I suppose merely visiting Cuba counts as a prison visit).
Most of all I am tired of liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, telling me how the Pope supports their politics (although to be fair, conservatives and the GOP were completely incompetent at this hucksterism, while the leftovers proved themselves to be the superior capitalists at producing infomercials for fraudulent wares). I am a Carsonite on this. I don’t care about the Pope’s notions about the afterlife, the everafter, or the supernatural, and don’t think anything revealed to him from those regions is politically relevant or outweighs the Constitution.
Have a nice trip!