I’m Agnostic, and I’m Hoping Pope Francis Comes to Philadelphia

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Let’s get something straight: I know the Pope is Catholic.

This means a few things: I never expect him to adopt the conventional American Liberal positions l hold. There will be no embrace of gay marriage by the church, there will be no permission for abortion, and Pope Francis’s term will not end with the ascension of Pope Mary I. We’re never going to agree on those things. It is what it is.

Still: I find that I’m increasingly a fan of this pope. That’s a bit weird to admit. I grew up among Mennonites who pretty explicitly traced their theological heritage to the Reformation; more recently I’ve simply been agnostic: God’s not really part of my life anymore. Catholicism doesn’t hold much appeal for me, generally. Pope Francis does, however — and so I am rooting for him to visit Philadelphia next year.

Why? His humility. And his attempts to bring the church in line with that quality.

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Pope? Nope.

Turns out Mayor Nutter and Governor Corbett won’t get the private audience with Pope Francis today, after all.

AP reports: “Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and other public and corporate leaders and their spouses would be presented to the pope during today’s regularly scheduled public audience in St. Peter’s Square. There, (a spokeswoman) said, each would be able to present gifts to Francis if they have them, and speak “a few words” with him. She did not explain the change in plans.”

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Mayor Nutter Pitches Philly Papal Visit to Pontifical Council

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Mayor Michael Nutter is in Rome with a delegation — including Governor Tom Corbett and his wife, Susan — stumping for a papal visit to Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families meeting here in September 2015. (Hopefully, he mentioned my bet with God to attend church every Sunday for a year if the Pope rides SEPTA, which I figure would seal the deal.)

Today, though, Nutter talked to the Pontifical Council for the Family in Rome, attempting to get the Pope to visit Philadelphia. We have a transcription of his remarks. Sadly, it does not end with “XOXO, Philadelphia.”

I have the great honor and privilege to make a brief statement in support of our fervent hope that His Holiness might visit Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families in September 2015.

As a loyal son of Philadelphia, born and raised in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, educated by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Transfiguration of Our Lord Elementary School and inspired by the Jesuits to be a man for others at St Joseph’s Preparatory high school, the Jesuit High School in Philadelphia, I am often called upon to discuss the exceptional qualities of my great city.

It continues after the jump.

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Before Pope Meeting, Philly Delegation’s Italian Holiday

The Daily News reports on the visit of Mayor Nutter, Governor Corbett, and Archbishop Chaput to Rome to invite Pope Francis to Philly for 2015’s World Meeting of Families. The meeting itself doesn’t happen until Wednesday; that leaves time for a bit of fun:

Hours after arriving in Rome, the local delegation did a photo op outside the Pantheon for Philadelphia journalists who made the trip.

Reacting to the herd of camera crews following Mayor Nutter and Gov. Corbett, confused Italians and tourists crowded around and asked one another who the celebrities were.

Ever the politician, Nutter dived right in, greeting strangers as if they were potential voters at a campaign stop in Philly.

He ended up finding a couple from Gettysburg and posted a selfie with them on Twitter.

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Nutter, Corbett, Chaput Make Vatican Visit

6ABC reports:Governor Tom Corbett and Mayor Michael Nutter arrived in Rome on Monday ahead of a meeting with Pope Francis in anticipation for the World Meeting of Families conference to be held in Philadelphia in 2015. They, along with Archbishop Charles Chaput, will be in Rome until March 27 to work with Vatican officials on the event.”

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