When the President met the Holy Father...
I don't think it was ho hum at all.
I watched BBC coverage of the event - the coverage went 12 minutes and the commentary was detailed and very much focused upon the Obamacare policies and the Vatican's objection to the restraints upon religious freedom the health care initiative poses. BBC stated the Vatican made it clear the Pope is concerned as well, and that the Holy Father brought up the touchy issues related to life and religious freedom issues. Media knows what the issues are and what they mean for American Catholics. The BBC was not at all dismissive of the papal audience. Unlike the rancorous comments filtered through segments of the Catholic blogging core.
I may be wrong, but I do not remember the press covering President Bush's visits to the Vatican with MSM anchors in Rome to report on it as extensively.
BBC coverage here.
I tend to view such encounters as having a deeper spiritual effect: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."*
On a lighter note, Deacon Kandra focuses on Pants.
Deacon's post asks what you should wear to meet the Pope ... If you are a woman of course, since Susan Rice showed up in black with the requisite mantilla - but she wore pants. Deacon didn't strike me as making a negative comment - but I got the impression he thought it was a strange look.
There are protocols that are dated and maybe not necessarily enforced. Some women show up without a mantilla - Angela Merkel for instance. Pantsuit yes - but Merkel did not wear a mantilla - maybe heads of state are not obliged, but Queen Elizabeth wears a veil. (Although even Hilary Clinton wore a dress with a mantilla as First Lady.) Anyway, women in Europe wear pants - just like American women do - I bet a black pantsuit is considered acceptable. The dress mantilla had to make it even more acceptable for Rice.
Susan Rice looked great. I've seen women at Mass looking much worse - jeans and running shoes, a parka, yet they have a mantilla slapped on.
Mantillas go with everything.
* "Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them." - The Little Prince