THERE IS CONSIDERABLE speculation here over just how the Pope proposes to go about turning the Church into the "Church of the Poor." He said recently that he was working on "gradual but not timid reforms" to bring the Church closer to the spirit of poverty preached in the Gospel. He gave no details of his plans, but Vatican sources said that chief among them was the removal of invested capital from the stock market to banks and to other traditional forms of saving. The Vatican sold shares in some Italian companies not long ago, and also disposed of properties, including a substantial building in the heart of Paris.
The Pope has always been particularly sensitive to criticism of the vast wealth the Vatican is supposed to have stored away, and of its other wordly trappings. He has already stripped the Vatican of a good deal of its ancient splendour. He said recently that far from having a super abundance of money, the Vatican scarcely had enough left to pay its taxes after it had met the cost of its widespread activities.
The work of salvation, like any other work, requires money. Just how Pope Paul proposes to streamline Church finances will make another fascinating chapter of contemporary Vatican history for the future.
Papal visit hope
THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS of Papua, New Guinea and the Solomon islands are making a strong bid to persuade Pope Paul to stop at Port Moresby on his flight to Sydney in November. From an ecclesiastical point of view. a visit by the "missionary Pope," however brief, would give a tremendous Jilt to activities throughout this vast. important missionary territory.
At Bornana, Port Moresby, the Church has a major seminary to which the Papua, New Guinea and Solomons bishops send students for the priesthood from 17 different dioceses. At present about 60 native seminarians are in training.
"It would be a wonderful thing for these young men, and also encourage others to enter the priesthood, if Pope Paul could visit the seminary, or even, if time did not allow this, just meet and talk to them at the airport." a missionary priest with wide experience in New Guinea told me in Rome.
"It would mean that in one hit he would meet the representatives of 17 dioceses from the entire area and it would also greatly hearten the native clergy."
Archbishop Virgil Copas, of Port Moresby. is urging the Papal visit through the Apostolic Delegate to Australia. Papua and New Guinea, Archbishop Gino Paro, in Sydney.
Bishop Leo Arkfield of Wewak. a Divine Word Missionary. who is president of the Episcopal Conference of Papua, New Guinea and the Solomons, has written direct to Pope Paul and also to Archbishop Paro and the autho