Bickering over Pope's Australia visit
THE Vatican has had nothing official to say about the jarring notes over Pope Paul's trip to Sydney next month, caused by Anglican Archbishop Marcus Loane's boycott of an ecumenical service arranged for the occasion and the invitation by Protestant extremists to the Rev. Ian Paisley to go out there and let fly with his particular brand of religious bloody-mindedness.
But individual Vatican personalities, especially those concerned with the ecumenical movement, have expressed surprise that the Pope's trip should be made an excuse for religious bickering on one hand and straight out religious intolerance on another in a young country where goodwill, tolerance and understanding among all religious denomina
tions have made great progress in recent years.
Archbishop Loane is among those who have objected to the proposed Paisley visit.
Pope Paul will be visiting Australia primarily to meet his own bishops in the AustraliaNew Zealand-Pacific Islands zone. Secondly and naturally, he wants to meet as many people as possible, Catholics and non-Catholics, on their own ground.
And while he has always frankly warned that the road to Christian unity is difficult and that. on the Catholic side, it cannot become a question of compromise in which Catholic tradition will be sacrificed, he has also, as we all know, spent much of his seven-year pontificate in appealing for peace and goodwill among all nations and all peoples and the thorough examination of every means towards the gradual
process of reconciliation between Christian Churches.
The World Council of Churches and other nonCatholic Christian bodies and leading personalities like the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Patriarch Athenagoras have joined him in this.
On previous !trips abroad, for whatever major purpose. the Pope has never overlooked ecumenical aspects.
As "the Pope on the move," Pope Paul believes that it is his duty to "know better the peoples of the world," which is one reason why he has been looking forward so keenly to visiting first the Philippines, then Australia, on what will be his ninth journey abroad.
Certainly. wherever he goes, he expects nothing but normal courtesy and has no wish to cause trouble or inconvenience to anyone.