By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Even though Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting the United States when its 2008 presidential campaign will be in full swing, he will keep himself above the political fray, said the Vatican's secretary of state.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone told the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana that "someone said there's always an electoral campaign under way in the United States" no matter what time of year it is.
"The pope is nonpartisan," the cardinal said in the magazine's Jan. 6 issue.
"One certainly cannot control eventual exploitation" by people who might use the pope's visit to gain political advantage, he added.
The April 15-20 trip, Pope Benedict's first visit as pontiff to the United States and the United Nations, will include visits to the White House to meet outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush and to ground zero in New York.