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When Worlds Collide

Like most people (including many Catholics), President Bush likes only some parts of the present pope's views, those that already are part of his political stance. Buried deep inside an article in the Washington Post by Michael Abramowitz about the President's admiration for the pontiff (Building Ties With Catholics A Bush Priority, April 15 -- the nuthouse comments on the article are proof positive that newspapers need to moderate all comments posted on their Web sites) is this nugget of information relevant to our subject matter:

A sign of this respect will come this afternoon, when Bush and first lady Laura Bush greet Pope Benedict XVI after his plane lands at Andrews Air Force Base, the first time in his seven years in office that the president will leave the White House to receive a visiting foreign dignitary. Bush will host Benedict tomorrow for a private 45-minute meeting in the Oval Office after an elaborate official arrival ceremony featuring soprano Kathleen Battle singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." About 9,000 invited guests are expected on the South Lawn, more than were present for the arrival ceremony for Queen Elizabeth II last May.
The pope, who in protocol terms is the only person on the planet more or less equal to an emperor, outranks both the President of the United States and the Queen of England. No surprises there, but whaah? -- Kathleen Battle? Battle Hymn of the Republic? What the hell? Why on earth would she sing that?

Yes, that hymn was inspired by a visit to a Union Army camp on the Potomac here in Washington, but any of the spirituals that now make up most of Ms. Battle's repertoire list would be much more à propos. If you read the text of Battle Hymn, however, you find a delicious irony, in the fourth verse: "He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat." Stay the course, Kathleen!

You can watch the EWTN coverage of the papal visit, live on the Internet.

What actually happened.



Brava Ms. Battle! Beautiful job as always!


Ms. Battle actually sang "The Lord's Prayer by Albert Hay Malotte accompanied by Nancy Allen of the New York Phiharmonic on harp.

Anonymous said...

I am kinda confused. I thought Ionarts wrote another review whereyou clearly said that the Army Chorus sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and Kathleen Battle sang "The Lord's Prayer?" From what I read the first time, Ionarts did not like the singing of the Army Chorus or approve of the "Battle Hymn" being sung nor the televised media coverage that was given. Did you change your review? If you did, why?

Anonymous said...

And you did not have a picture of Diva Battle.

Charles T. Downey said...

You are confused. First, this is not a review, just relaying what was reported -- erroneously, it turned out -- in the Post. I have added a link to my later post, also not a review.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clearing that up for me.