00 5/7/2009 6:49 PM

Please add a special prayer for the Holy Father's pilgrimage to the Holy Land
and for the countries and peoples of the Middle East

Stories posted earlier today on tne preceding page include updates about the Pope's trip to the Holy Land.


For what it's worth, TIME magazine, for the second year in a row, did not consider Pope Benedict XVI worthy enough to be named among their '100 Most Influential People in the World' for 2009.

They define this as "an annual list of the world's most influential people - the leaders, thinkers, artists, titans and icons who shape our thinking and most affect our world".

How can it not automatically include the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, the de facto leader of more than 2 billion Christians. and the universally recognized supreme moral authority on the world scene???? And that's just considering Benedict XVI in his persona as Pope. If you added in his own personal qualities, no one else could be so formidable an influence!

TIME has five categories: Leaders & Revolutionaries, Builders & Titans, Artists & Entertainers, Heroes & Icons, Scientists & Thinkers. And yet, someone as eminently qualified as Benedict XVI to make it in all those categories except Artists and Entertainers - a claim none of the other persons found worthy to make the list can make - is left out egregiously. As egregious as when in 2007, Time omitted both the President of the United States - who happened to be George W. Bush, and the Pope - from its list.

No matter what the list-compilers personally think, there are two unique positions one cannot simply ignore in making up these lists - which are really more of a promotional job for the list compilers than a genuine 'honor' - and these are Pope and President of the United States.

The one religious figure in the 2009 list is evangelical pastor Rick Warren. Though I am shocked (!) that the liberals at Time also ignored one of the all-time liberal icons, the Dalai Lama, who made the list last year, along with Bartholomew I - though, I repeat, not Benedict XVI. As venerable as both the Dalai Lama and Bartholomew I are, can anyone really say that at at any one particular point in time, they are or have been more influential than the Pope?

And can TIME explain what makes an established icon influential this year and not the next year (unless he is no longer in power, as most political leaders can get to become, or unless he dies)?

The strange thing is that in 2005, before more than a handful of people around the world had even thought about Cardinal Ratzinger as a potential Pope, Time included him on its first Top 100 Most influential people!

If he was influential as Cardinal Ratzinger, how can he be less influential as Pope Benedict VXI? Or perhaps they only included him in 2005 as a 'Look how clever we are!' stunt, almost a perverse jeer at their liberal fellow travellers to whom the very name Ratzinger was - and continues to be - anathema.

So now, people like those silly chattering women on ABC's The View can boast that they are more influential than the Pope!

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/19/2009 6:18 PM]