Pope John Paul II's 1987 visit to the United States : the Pope's relationship with American Catholics
Flores, Lisa Angela
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John Paul's epic visit to the United States in 1987 was viewed by American Catholics with both joy and frustration. By rhetorically analyzing the discourse from John Paul's 1987 visit to the United States, I answered two questions: (1) What is the relationship between John Paul and American Catholics? and (2) How is that relationship constructed through the rhetoric of both John Paul and American Catholics from the 1987 United States visit? To answer these questions, I did an emic analysis of five speeches given by John Paul to American Catholics during the visit and three speeches given to John Paul by American Catholics during the visit. I then did a rough content analysis of the 20 remaining speeches given by John Paul to American Catholics and the 11 remaining speeches given to John Paul by American Catholics. In my analysis, I looked for rhetorical devices used in the speeches. The relationship between John Paul and American Catholics is strained; however, this conclusion is not surprising given the tense situation existing between John Paul and American Catholics prior to the visit. John Paul sees himself as having complete authority over American Catholics. He is concerned about them, and he shows his affection for them, but he will accept no deviation from church doctrine. American Catholics are loyal to the church, but they want a more even distribution of the authority. They want dialogue with Rome. In addition to determining the relationship between John Paul and American Catholics, I confirmed the importance of the speaker-audience relationship, for the rhetorical construction of the relationship affects the success of the communication. The rhetorical critic can use the method I developed to study the speaker-audience relationship. The rhetor can also use knowledge of the speaker-audience relationship to construct more effective rhetoric.