Vatican workers set up Christmas tree donated by Haider
A Christmas tree from Carinthia, the Austrian province governed by extreme right-wing politician Joerg Haider, has arrived in Rome as a present to the pope.
AFP reports that Haider will present the 33 metre high tree to Pope John Paul II on Saturday.
The papal audience granted to Haider, whose extremist utterances have included praise for Adolf Hitler's Waffen SS, has caused outrage in the Italian Jewish community and political circles.
Last week, the Vatican defended its decision. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's secretary of state, said: "No one should be surprised by the fact that the Holy See is open to everyone."