200_ledepx-911site_cross.jpgAt 9:30 on Sunday morning, Pope Benedict XVI will visit the World Trade Center site before darting up to Yankee Stadium — on the 4 train, no doubt. After being welcomed by Cardinal Egan, His Holiness will kneel silently for a few moments, then lead the crowd in a pre-scripted prayer. According to the Vatican, PapaRatzi will beseech our heavenly father thusly:

We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here — the heroic first-responders: our fire fighters, police officers, emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel, along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply because their work or service brought them here on September 11, 2001… We are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury, and loss on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.


Putting aside the bizarro-ness of a Pope — this Pope, any Pope — actually saying the words “Port Authority personnel” and “Shanksville”, it’s worth noting that Benedict isn’t being entirely selfless. The Telegraph’s Malcolm Moore, for one, interprets other parts of this prayer as a call for terrorists to convert. The New York Post walked away with something else entirely: href="http://www.nypost.com/seven/04112008/news/nationalnews/pope_to_pray_for_devils_106048.htm">Pope to Pray for Devils. Either way, expect buckets of tears. And maybe even some doves if we’re lucky.
And in case you were hoping to enjoy a scenic helicopter ride over downtown, Sunday morning may not be the best time. Security will be tight. Some lines on the PATH will be closed, too.
-Jeff Koyen