The Ethereal Pope

April 17, 2008, our capital city, Nationals Park, Mark Tuohey’s suite, 7 a.m.

Nationals Park presents itself as light and airy. The weather has been delivered from heaven. The music takes us to the heavens.

I hear a 65-voice Intercultural Choir with members from 35 countries singing in French, Zulu and Spanish, among others. A 250-voice Papal Mass Choir and a 175-voice Children's Choir singing in Latin. An 80-voice Gospel Choir singing in 10 languages out across the stadium. Now I am in some celestial place.

The pope fans are refined, respectful and thrilled. They are as diverse a crowd as I have ever experienced. We are experiencing a highlight of our life.

Forty thousand Pope fans and every one of us feels our audience with the pontiff is intimate, close, unique, one on one.

I daydream and try to think of another timeless figure with the name recognition of the pope. Jesus, Buddha — they are individual religious icons.

I wonder: How many people in our flat-world community have NOT heard of the pope? Perhaps not Benedict XVI or John Paul II, but just THE POPE?

Historically, what has the pope’s name recognition been?

I think these questions tell the world community something we should listen to, as does the music.


Kathy Kemper is founder and CEO of the Institute for Education, a nonprofit foundation that recognizes and promotes leadership locally, nationally and in the world community.