The big issue of the day is whether Congressmen and women should rise to applaud when the Pope pauses for breath in his inaugural address on September 24.
Everything, it appears, is political. Here’s the tenor of debate in the Catholic press:
Is a papal address to Congress like a symphony or an opera? If it is a symphony, then members of Congress should sit quietly through the address until the pope finishes. You do not applaud during a symphony, even between movements. If it is opera, then the members would be permitted to jump up and applaud whenever they think the pope hits the right note.
In the political theater that is Washington, this distinction really matters. The state of the union address is clearly opera with the president’s party responding to applause lines. Should this be the model for the pope’s address to a joint session of Congress on September 24? The general consensus is that the Democrats are better off if the papal address is treated like an opera while the Republicans would be better off with a symphony.
Read on here.