Andy Ponders The Pope's Visit

Andy Rooney Reflects On The Pope's Visit And Papal History

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.



Pope Benedict XVI is back in Rome now but I'll bet he's still thinking about the good time he had in Washington and New York. I don't think he gets out much, usually.

Being pope doesn't look like much fun but when we saw pictures of him here, Benedict seemed to be enjoying himself.

Considering the fact that there are over 200 million people in the United States who are not Catholic, you'd have to say that Americans were very nice to Pope Benedict while he was here. Not only are millions of Americans not Catholic, they aren't Protestant or Jewish either. They aren't anything religious but they were all respectful of this pope.

The word "pope" comes from the Latin word for "papa" and most of the popes we've seen giving us their friendly wave from the Vatican balcony seem like likeable "papas".

I had not realized that there were 15 Popes before this one who were also named "Benedict" but there have been 265 popes in the Catholic church since around 33 A.D., so it is understandable.

I'm a little weak on Catholic history because my mother sent me to a Presbyterian church when I was eight or ten years old and they didn't mention popes there. They didn't knock the pope, they just didn't mention him.

There have been 12 popes named "Pius". I never knew anyone named "Pius" myself but a pope gets to pick his own name. It would be nice if we could all do that wouldn't it? Pick our own name.

Being pope must be a very hard job though. You should really be about a perfect person if you're the pope. Not much place for even minor shortcomings in your character. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, you'd have to be careful not to get caught saying "Damn."

I don't know what the story is on money. Does the pope carry any change in his pocket?

It would be interesting to know whether a lot of people converted to Catholicism because they liked the pope while he was here. Probably not. People are pretty set in their ways about religion. Either they are or they aren't.
Written By Andy Rooney
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