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Pope Benedict XVI addressed a crowd of thousands today on the White House lawn as he began his six-day pilgrimage to the United States.  We hear about the papal visit and the state of America's biggest religious institution, about Catholics becoming Pentecostal Protestants and the continuing scandal over pedophile priests.  Also, the US Supreme Court upholds lethal injection, and in Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, there's bureaucratic paperwork and penny-pinching as well as ideological fervor.

White House photo: Shealah Craighead

Making News Supreme Court Upholds Lethal Injection 5 MIN, 45 SEC

The US Supreme Court has ruled that Kentucky's use of a three-drug lethal injection does not violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.  Executions, which have been on hold pending today's decision, are likely to resume.  Robert Barnes reports on the Court for the Washington Post.

Robert Barnes, Washington Post (@scotusreporter)

Main Topic Pope Benedict and Catholic America 35 MIN, 25 SEC

President Bush is giving the full head-of-state treatment to Pope Benedict XVI, a powerful critic of the war in Iraq, not to mention capital punishment and the boycott of Cuba. But today on the White House lawn, both leaders spoke warmly of their relationship and the importance of religion in America's public life. Before a crowd of thousands, the Pope quoted the Declaration of Independence and said he had "great respect for this vast pluralistic society." He emphasized the importance both of religious faith and reason in public debate.  He also called for global solidarity and "the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts." We hear what the Pope's visit means to almost 25% of the US population, about half of them Latinos. Why are so many Catholics becoming Pentecostal Protestants? What's the role of the continuing scandal over pedophile priests? 

Julie Rafferty, Volunteer, Voice of the Faithful
Bill Donohue, President, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter (@MichaelSWinters)
Luis Lugo, Director, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
Edwin Hernandez, Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Religion, University of Notre Dame

Left at the Altar

Michael Sean Winters

Reporter's Notebook Al Qaeda's Bureaucrats 7 MIN, 37 SEC

Memos are standard procedure in any bureaucracy, but these familiar-sounding phrases come from a surprising source. "I was very upset by what you did… you did not submit the voucher to the accountant…with respect to the air-conditioning unit, furniture…is not considered private property."  Those are part of a two-page memo from an Egyptian manager of Al Qaeda demanding a detailed letter of explanation of his agent for misappropriating cash during "an austerity situation." That's according to recently declassified documents seized in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sebastian Rotella reports them in today's edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica (@ProPublica)


Warren Olney

Dan Konecky
Sonya Geis

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