It would take an act of God to keep spiritual activist Rita Warren away from her time-honored spot on the East Front during the upcoming papal visit, the Capitol Hill fixture assures HOH.
Warren, who has come to be known as the “Jesus Lady” following a decades-long crusade that brings her to Congress each week with a life-sized statue of Christ in tow, typically camps out every Thursday just a stone’s throw from the House chamber.
Security is expected to be extremely tight this week as Pope Francis descends on D.C. for a high profile speech to Congress scheduled to be simulcast on a giant screen facing the West Front. The ensuing lockdown means most of the congressional campus will be off-limits to civilians without event-specific credentials. Per Warren, those close to House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving have attempted to dissuade her from setting up shop during the papal address.
“I’m not compromising. ... I’m still coming up,” she maintains, essentially defying Irving to cart her away while the whole world is watching. “It’s my day. It’s Jesus day on Thursday.”
She is not, however, interested in seeking an audience with the visiting pontiff.
“I don’t care to see the Pope. He’s just a man,” she said.
While Warren does hold onto a personalized letter Pope John Paul II sent her ages ago, the octogenarian activist stressed that these days she only takes marching orders from a higher power.
“If I get to see him [Francis], I’ll be cordial. But I won’t call him ‘Father,’” she asserted.
That said, she does see a silver lining to have His Holiness around for a few days.
“I don’t think the pope is going to be very happy if you arrest me,” she offered Irving in a closing thought.
Irving did not respond to email inquiries seeking comment about Warren's plans.
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