All over Washington I have friends who will catch a glimpse of the Pope this week - either during the mass, joint session of Congress, or at the White House.
In case any of you out there are lucky enough to meet the Pope this week - here are some Pope Protocol tips provided by my friend Elizabeth Heng.
1) How to address the Pope? ‘Your Holiness’ or ‘Holy Father.’ If you are lucky enough to have more time with him, you should introduce yourself and tell him something about yourself (e.g. Your Holiness, my name is Elizabeth and it’s an honor to meet you….) but don’t talk about TV shows—he hasn’t watched television in 25 years.
2) How to greet the Pope? You may genuflect and kiss his right hand ring if you are Catholic or you may greet the Pope with a handshake. Unlike a celebrity, do not touch the Pope without invitation—though, you probably shouldn’t touch people without invitation in general.
3) If you are at the Joint Session, White House Dinner or any other event with the Pope, please stand up and applaud during his entrance and exit. During his exit, make a point of keeping eye contact on him until he fully exits the room.
4) During the Joint Session, it is inappropriate to interrupt His Holiness’ speech whether it be in approval or disapproval of his message. Unlike the State of the Union, it is also inappropriate to clap or give standing ovations during the speech. This is considered very very tacky.
5) How to dress? Both women and men need to have their shoulders and knees covered and do not wear a hat. Try not to wear any flashy jewelry.