Public to see little of Pope Benedict during visit

March 31, 2008 6:59:08 AM PDT
On October 6th, 1979, Pope John Paul II emerged from a car's sunroof, waving and smiling to thousands of cheering onlookers who lined Washington streets and even climbed trees for a glimpse of the Roman Catholic leader.Things will be very different when Pope Benedict XVI arrives in April this year.

Security concerns and a tighter schedule will mean the public will have fewer chances to actually see him.

Benedict has just one public event in the nation's capital: A Mass at the Nationals stadium on April 17th. And he'll be traveling through the city in a closed car or in the popemobile, a specially designed and secure vehicle used by the pontiff during public appearances.

In New York, where he is scheduled to address the United Nations, visit Ground Zero and celebrate a Mass at Yankee Stadium, the public's access is also expected to be limited.

Benedict's lower profile also will be due to the fact that he is a quieter man than John Paul, and at 80 is more than two decades older than his predecessor was when he came to town - the last visit by a pope to Washington.