CLEVELAND (AP) — Attorneys for the former finance chief of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese are asking that his trial be postponed on account of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the U.S.
Joseph Smith is accused of taking $784,000 in kickbacks and has been charged with 23 counts, including making false personal income tax returns, money laundering, mail fraud and conspiracy.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday, the day after the pope celebrates Mass at Yankee Stadium and departs for home. Attorney Philip Kushner argues that all the publicity over Benedict’s U.S. tour could leave jury prospects feeling more favorable toward the church and government witnesses, including priests and former Bishop Anthony Pilla.
The motion is being considered by a federal judge.
Well considering how uneven the media coverage of the Pope’s visit has been this isn’t a slam dunk. Maybe they can ask jurors which news sources they are following to get an idea. For if example they watched Good Morning America and saw this.
Born in Germany, Benedict’s seminary studies were interrupted by World War II when, reluctantly, he says, he became a member of the Hitler youth and the Nazi army, before being taken as an American prisoner of war. Here in the U.S., Benedict is perhaps remembered as the cardinal in charge of dealing with the church sex abuse scandal, who seemed at times defending the priests accused of wrongdoing.
It’s interesting to hear "will win people over." It’s not believed that the Pope is coming here to charm anyone. You know, it’s interesting, for all of the talk about scandal here, the American church, the Catholic Church is actually growing. So, they see this as an opportunity for the Pope to come here and reinforce hard-line doctrine.
Or maybe saw this headline Ashamed’ Pope arrives
O perhaps Stephen Prothero the Chair of the Department of Religion for Jesuit-run Boston College.
Young American Catholics treated John Paul II like a rock star. Yes, he was socially and theologically conservative, but at least they could relate to the guy with the "Popemobile" and the smile and the energy to travel to some 130 countries during his 26 years at the Holy See. But can they relate to Benedict XVI? And can he relate to them? What can a pope who is an academic theologian first and foremost offer young Americans, save for dogmas they don’t believe in and rituals they do not understand? Is he coming to scold us? Or to hug us?
Or this whiny article about why the Pope doesn’t connect from Newsweek’s Lisa Miller.
Or Katie Couric wondering about "extremely conservative" and "very conservative" Pope Benedict and bringing up birth control and women’s ordination.