John Allen Jr. has posted the entire transcript of Pope Benedict's press conference aboard Shepherd One earlier today here. By now we've already heard most of the pontiff's comments on the sex abuse scandal because that was, of course, the sound bite, but there's so much more of interest to Catholics and non-Catholics alike in this back and forth with reporters. I especially loved the part of the press conference where the pope talks about how our country started with a "positive concept of secularism."
"It was secular precisely out of love of religion, for the authenticity of religion, which could be lived only in freedom. Thus we find a state that’s expressly secular, but favorable to religion in order to give it authenticity," he said.
The pope, who also addressed immigration and fundamental human rights, spoke mostly in Italian, although Allen expressly asked him to answer the question on the sex abuse crisis in English. Imagine being so comfortable around the pope that you can ask him to speak a language other than his first choice? That is awesome.
-- Mary DeTurris Poust