Well, it was thrilling, even from my vantage point.  (From my vantage point: a giant dumptruck — filled with dirt to make it extra heavy — parked below my window to block cars from breaching the secure perimeter.)  And thrilling to watch his speech to the UN (on TV, like everybody else) imagining that in the days ahead, as the President meets with the presidents of China and Russia, et al — few of them Catholic, but all of them human — more prgress may be made than otherwise might have been.  And thrilling to see my friend Mo Rocca open the mass at Madison Square Garden — in Spanish, no less. (And not just my friend, but my well-known-to-be-openly-gay friend.  What a statement that makes.)  And how thrilling Pope Francis believes atheists can go to heaven (thrilling to me not because I believe there is a heaven; but because he gets that non-believers can lead righteous lives).

That last, of course, in stark contrast to the radical Islamicists who believe infidels must convert or die.  Whoa!

Which is totally not what most Muslims believe but a good segue to this profile of my friend Parvez Sharma, whose film I’ve told you about (and whose initialed email sign-off — PS — makes me crazy because I keep looking for the PS).  As you’ll read via that link (or in the print edition of tomorrow’s Sunday New York Times), it’s his view that it is mainly the Saudi brand of Islam the rest of Islam needs to unite the world in somehow defanging.

That pretty much concludes my very limited understanding of religion and world politics. Have a great weekend.

Oh, wait . . .

PS:  Judging from the throngs desperate to get even the tiniest glimpse of the Pope, you might imagine that virtually any Catholic — moved by his message of concern for the least among us and for our shared environment — would kill for a cushioned front row seat to hear his address to the joint meeting of Congress.  Three Catholics who didn’t use their tickets were Justices Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito, and Antonin Scalia.  I find that interesting.



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