Smart move as new pontiff "Beattie-fied"

He has been in the job only two months, but already Pope Benedict XVI has been Beattie-fied, quipped the Courier Mail today.

The pontiff met Premier Peter Beattie in St Peter's Square yesterday (Rome time). The encounter between God's representative on earth and the representative of God's own country lasted just a few seconds.

But it was long enough for Mr Beattie to continue his campaign to elevate Queensland to the top of the list of travel destinations for the Pope.

"I congratulated him on behalf of all Queenslanders and Australians and wished him well," Mr Beattie said. "I also invited him to come and visit us."

The Premier was at the front of a group of dignitaries, including several nuns from around the world, selected to meet the Pope after the papal audience.

Mr Beattie's statement said Pope Benedict had "smiled and thanked him before moving off".

In other Australian political news, Mark Vaile has been elected the new leader of the National party and is to be Australia's next deputy prime minister. The Age describes Mr Vaile as a "devout Catholic and father of three".

"I do believe I have what it takes to undertake that job," Mr Vaile said.

"I've never been one to hide my light under a bushel."

Smart move as new pontiff Beattie-fied (Courier Mail 24/6/05)
Vaile takes over Nationals (The Age 23/6/05)

Government passes buck on poverty and inequality (St Vincent De Paul Society News 23/6/05)[pdf format]
Church Leaders meeting with the PM: welcome progress on poverty but signal there is more to be done (Catholic Communications NZ 23/6/05)

24 Jun 2005