Most-viewed CNS stories for April

In a month that included the historic visit to the United States by Pope Benedict, it figures that the most-viewed story on our home page for April would instead be about liturgical renewal. Bloggers and others are passionate about issues surrounding the liturgy, and their links to stories like these always have an affect on any site’s Web stats. (They’re also passionate about the Mormon faith, as shown by No. 2 below. More on that later.)

But eight of our most-viewed stories were indeed on the papal visit. Check them out if you missed any of our coverage the first time around:

1. Vatican official calls liturgical renewal ‘irreversible path’

2. Ecumenical meeting marks first time Mormons join in papal gathering

3. Pope to visit New York, Washington in April, papal nuncio confirms

4. Pope Benedict greeted by Bush as he begins first U.S. visit

5. Pope calls sex abuse scandal ‘countersign’ to Gospel of life

6. At ground zero, pope offers silent prayer, comforts survivors

7. Cardinal Dulles gives farewell speech as Fordham’s McGinley professor

8. Nuncio says pope comes to strengthen faith, hope, love of U.S. church

9. Singers who will perform for pope consider it a singular experience

10. Four key phrases help unlock meaning of pope’s speech at U.N.

More on Ronald McDonald children meeting the pope

Do you remember our story on the disabled kids from the Ronald McDonald House in New York who got an unscheduled opportunity to meet Pope Benedict? If you were touched by that story, you’ll be even more touched by this Dominican Friars blog post which includes a YouTube video of TV coverage of the event. It’s one more example of how people were amazed with their personal encounters with the pope.

No ‘Time’ for the pope

Time magazine has published its annual list of the 100 people it believes are most influential in the world. The Dalai Lama, leader of the world’s Tibetan Buddhists, is there. So is Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. But Pope Benedict XVI was not among the Time editors’ choices.

He was, however, 60th in the poll conducted among Time readers.

Some of my Italian colleagues — perhaps like some Time readers — were shocked that the pope didn’t make the list. So they asked Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the papal spokesman, to comment.

Father Lombardi said he was not particularly upset by the pope-less list.

In fact, he said, “I’m pleased the pope is not there because they used criteria totally extraneous to an evaluation of moral and religious authority.”

In a list that includes politicians, actors and sports stars, “I find it positive that they do not confuse the pope’s type of authority and service with other, mundane characteristics.”

At least one Time writer wanted the magazine to rank the chosen 100 instead of just listing them. He even attempted to come up with a mathematical formula for doing so.

But, again, Father Lombardi defended the Time editors: “It would be difficult to make comparisons or give a scale when dealing with such diverse characteristics.”