Archbishop Carroll signals 'interesting' election campaign
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll has suggested on Vatican Radio that this year's Federal Election campaign will be "very interesting".
"It will be a very interesting election campaign, I believe," he said.
However he sought to avoid controversy and refused to be drawn on whether the bombing in Madrid and the effect of the war in Iraq would have any political consequences in Australia in this election year.
Archbishop Carroll is in Rome with 32 other Australian bishops for the five-yearly ad limina visit. He gave the broad ranging interview as the first week of the ad limina draws to a close.
He told Vatican Radio that the visit had been of considerable value thus far, with visits to Vatican congregations proving "pleasant and informative".
He said the pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles was of great importance to the Bishops.
"And of course, the meeting with the Holy Father was a highlight," he said.
"But also, the conversations we've had with various congregations have been of considerable value.
"We've had fairly general discussions unless a specific issue has been raised by either a congregation or a bishop."
Archbishop Carroll said topics discussed in the various meetings have included vocations and the shortage of clergy, family life and ways the Church can support and promote family life, liturgy and the issue of refugees.
Following another round of meetings with Vatican congregations, the Bishops were due to celebrate Mass at St Maria Maggiore, one of Rome's four great Basilicas.
The program for Friday includes a visit to Assisi.
Tomorrow night promises to be a big occasion for Cardinal George Pell, as he takes possession of his titular church, S. Maria Domenica Mazzarello.
Ad Limina meetings of considerable value - Archbishop Carroll (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 18/3/04)
Vatican Radio 105 Live | Audio of Archbishop Carroll interview (requires Real Player)
Archdiocese of Sydney: Maria Domenica Mazzarello
Australian Bishops concelebrate Mass before St Peter's tomb (CathNews 17/3/04)
Australian Bishops Begin Visit to Rome (Zenit 15/3/04)
John Paul II Sees Hope for Church in Netherlands (Zenit 15/3/04)
Bishops gather for spiritual pilgrimage (Southern Cross Mar 04)
Pope raises refugee question with Hobart archbishop (CathNews 16/3/04)
Audiences (Vatican Information Service 15/3/04)
Ad limina visit underway with Italian TV appearance (CathNews 16/3/04)
Australian bishops set for ad limina visit to Rome (CathNews 8/3/04)
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
19 Mar 2004