Monday, September 28, 2009

Czech trip was low-key, but pope is ’very happy’

Photo by AP
Pope Benedict XVI arrives at Ciampino Military airport, near Rome today at the end of his pastoral trip to the Czech Republic.

Boston Herald
By Associated Press
Monday, September 28, 2009 - Added 4h ago

PRAGUE — Pope Benedict XVI wrapped up a low-key pilgrimage to the fiercely secular Czech Republic on Monday, reaching out to nonbelievers and calling on an increasingly diverse Europe to embrace Christian teachings.

Throughout the three-day visit, the crowds were contained, and so was the pope’s rhetoric.

Although he often wades into contentious issues such as abortion or same-sex marriage, this time a conciliatory Benedict — apparently unwilling to antagonize already apathetic Czechs — made no direct mention of either.

But the Vatican pronounced the pontiff’s 13th foreign trip a success. So did President Vaclav Klaus, a non-Catholic, who called it "extraordinarily successful."

Benedict’s spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the 82-year-old pope was "very happy" with the response in the ex-communist country, one of Europe’s most secular nations.

While acknowledging there is little the Vatican can do to radically change the situation, Lombardi said the church must send a loud and clear appeal as a "minority" and get out its message of love and hope.

See also from National Catholic Reporter, "A great weekend for affirmative orthodoxy in Prague."


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