CBSPhilly reports that Mayor Nutter, Governor Corbett, and Archbishop Chaput are meeting with area business leaders today for a cl0sed-door meeting at the Union League to discuss 2015′s World Meeting of Families — and a likely visit by Pope Francis to Philadelphia during that event.
The Inquirer‘s Claudia Vargas gives the Philadelphia taxpayer a reason to feel good today: The mayor’s trip to Rome wasn’t paid for by the city!
But the source for the funds of that trip remains unclear, she writes today, and it doesn’t appear we’ll learn the source of the funds anytime soon. The mayor’s trip to Rome was underwritten by the nonprofit organizing the World Meeting of Families, held here — whether Pope Francis comes and rides SEPTA or not — in 2015.
But who funded that nonprofit? Some of the money came from the Philadelphia archdiocese, but that’s the only contributor to the nonprofit the Inquirer could get verified. Also, no one will say how much the trip to Rome cost. How much did that St. Joe’s Prep jersey cost, Mr. Mayor?!
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.
How I know Pope Francis is as close to a saint as anyone in the world: When Mayor Nutter presented him with six sports jerseys and a mini replica of the Liberty Bell, he did not immediately have him executed, but instead graciously accepted them. See? Look how happy he is pretending to be!
I think Mayor Nutter could have put a tiny bit more thought into this. So did Dan McQuade, who offered up some other ideas earlier today. But I think we can go even further here. If we really want to lure the Pope to Philly, we’re going to need to bring out the big guns, which, ironically, come out of much smaller outfits than pro sports teams. Here are my ideas for Philly papal presents—each one made right here in the city.
Does it surprise you that Mayor Nutter and Governor Corbett were blown off by the pope? Doesn’t surprise me at all.
There’s a pecking order to life. You blow off the financial services guy who calls during dinner. A beautiful girl gets hit on by an average looking guy and opts for the quarterback instead. Even I, a lowly small business owner, am often asked to meet for coffee or lunch with people that want to “network” or “learn more” or “share ideas” and most of the time I just have to say no. We all have to choose how we spend our time. The pope could be meeting and hearing the pleas of mayors and governors from the cities, towns, provinces and protectorates of hundreds of countries every minute of the day. But he chooses not to.
Clearly, the pope visiting Philadelphia is something that could be handled at a lower level without taking up the Pontiff’s time. The decision didn’t require a private meeting between the man on earth closest to God and two dudes from Pennsylvania. A little groveling from them at a public session sufficed.
Can you believe the mayor of Philadelphia went to the Vatican and gave the Pope a freaking football jersey?
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) March 27, 2014
Pope Francis actually got jerseys of six Philadelphia sports teams: The four major sports, a Union jersey — which is at least a sport that’s popular in both Italy and the former Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s native Argentina — and the St. Joe’s Prep football jersey above. Yes, the Pope now owns a Phillies jersey; he can dress like Macklemore.
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.”
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.
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.
— Michael A. Nutter (@Michael_Nutter) March 24, 2014
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.”