Pope Speaks to Press En Route to Australia and Wyd Sydney, 2008

Vatican Radio
July 12, 2008

[with audio]

Pope Benedict XVI spoke with reporters travelling with him to Sydney, Australia for World Youth Day, 2008. We have this report...

An Australian journalist who asked what hopes the Holy Father has for the future of the Church in Australia, where the journalist said society is profoundly affected by secularism and indifference toward religion.

Pope Benedict responded, saying Australia shares in the successes and failures of the Western World, but that the desire for Himself that God put in the heart of every human being can never be completely suppressed or extricated

Religion is always present in the world, and will be always present because God is present in our hearts…

As with the in-flight press conference on the way from Rome to the United States this past April, reporters were anxious to know whether and what Pope Benedict plans to say regarding the clerical sex abuse crisis…

Up PBXVI down under…

Pope Benedict said paedophilia is "incompatible" with being a priest, and that "It is essential for the Church to reconcile, to prevent, to help and to see guilt in this problem."

[B]eing a real priest is incompatible with this [sexual abuse] because priests are in the service of our Lord.

The Holy Father also discussed the need for citizens and politicians to be better stewards of creation, saying he hopes to raise consciences about climate change.

Pope Benedict left Rome on a special Alitalia flight with Vatican officials and journalists aboard.

The plane departed from Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport Saturday just after 10 a.m. Rome time, and is scheduled to land roughly 20 hours later.

At 10 days and The trip is the longest of the Holy Father's papacy, and centres on World Youth Day events, which include an all night vigil service and an open-air Mass on the weekend of Sunday the 20th.

We spoke with World Youth Day, Sydney's principal organizer, auxiliary bishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher…

I think, in Australia, people who don't yet know Pope Benedict very well, are going to experience similarly the warmth of this father-figure, and many of them in fact are searching for a father figure in their lives – this man, who, on Christ's behalf and his own, loves them, and is there to embrace them, and to teach them with that wonderful mind that he brings to his pontificate, so I think they will encounter something very special in seeing Pope Benedict close up, and hearing him teach them.

Other highlights of the Holy Father's trip include a scheduled visit to Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel, dedicated to Australia's first Blessed, whose cause for canonization continues, a biblical via crucis that will see the Holy Father lead the first station, and Mass in the Sydney cathedral with Australia's bishops, seminarians and religious novices.

Pope Benedict returns to Italy on July 21.


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