Catholic News Service's Cindy Wooden "blogs" about the Vatican press briefing this morning for Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States next week. She focuses on various ways the pope will be feted for his 81st birthday, which takes place April 16, the first full day of the trip.
And John Allen suggests a reason for the pope's video message, which was also released this morning: "Vatican sources said the decision was the result of an unusually high volume of requests for interviews with the pope from American media outlets sparked by the impending trip. Although the pope turned down those requests, sources said his advisors were impressed with the interest and wanted to offer a response."
Still no word on how the video will be distributed.