By John-Henry Westen

ROME, January 29, 2006 ( – Baltimore’s Cardinal William Keeler, has announced that Pope Benedict XVI will likely visit the United States next year. In an announcement on WBAL radio, the Cardinal said that he made inquiries while in Rome two weeks ago and was informed that the Pope, “is planning to come to the United States next year, and that the visit to Baltimore was part of the program that he looked forward to participating in.”

Vatican experts have suggested that the likely date for the visit will be October which would coincide with the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. Rocco Palmo, the celebrated Vatican expert for the UK’s Catholic paper, The Tablet, suggests that the Pope will address the General Assembly as have his predecessors.

Others, however, have suggested that the Papal visit may come as early as May, 2007. Catholic World News speculates that the Pope has told several prelates that he plans to attend a meeting of the Latin American bishops’ conference (CELAM) in Aparecida, Brazil, in May 2007 and that he may add to his trip other Western nations.

Any speculation on a papal visit must be tempered with the knowledge that Benedict will celebrate his eightieth birth-day on April 16, 2007.

Should speculations around the General Assembly prove true, Vatican watchers will be interested to hear Pope Benedict speak at the United Nations, especially given his vocal criticism of the organization.Â

  Writing in the Italian newspaper Avvenire in 2000, then-Cardinal Ratzinger denounced the UN vision of a “new world order.” He specifically condemned the philosophy coming from UN conferences and the Millennium Summit which “proposes strategies to reduce the number of guests at the table of humanity, so that the presumed happiness [we] have attained will not be affected.”

At that time, the man who is now Pope Benedict, urged Christians to protest the dangerous “new world order” proposed by the United Nations. He said, “At this stage of the development of the new image of the new world, Christians – and not just them but in any case they even more than others – have the duty to protest.”