Pope hails benefits of holidays

Pope Benedict XVI, who is on holiday in the Italian Alps, has extolled the virtue of taking a holiday to escape the frenetic pace of day-to-day life.

The BBC reports that he himself began a mountain holiday in the secluded chalet used by his predecessor John Paul II in northern Italy's Aosta Valley last Monday. His activities have included taking mountain walks, playing Mozart on the piano, praying, writing and studying.

He will later travel to his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo near Rome.

He gave thanks for his own holidays "after the first months of demanding pastoral service".

In contact with nature, people can again find their true dimension - they rediscover themselves as creatures, small but at the same time unique

The National Catholic Reporter's John Allen writes that for Joseph Ratzinger, "vacation" does not mean idleness or leisure in the traditional sense.

He said in his weekly column on Friday: "Unlike John Paul II, Benedict is not a man given to long walks in the mountains as a form of meditative prayer. Instead, he has shipped several cases of books and papers to the nine-room, two-story chalet in Les Combes as resources for his thinking and writing. Since his normal round of audiences, meetings with heads of state and curial officials, and other ceremonial duties are suspended, he has time to concentrate on shaping the main intellectual and administrative lines of his pontificate.

"Some time ago, the pope made reference to this dimension of his break: "I can't wait to go on vacation, because I have much to think about."

John L Allen: Benedict's busman's holiday (National Catholic Reporter 15/7/05)

Pope hails benefits of holidays (BBC 17/7/05)
Pope delivers blessing from his mountain vacation retreat (Associated Press/Boston Herald 17/7/05)
Pope hails vacations as escape from frenetic life (Reuters 17/7/05)
Benedict XVI: "Holidays, a gift of God necessary to reinvigorate body and spirit" (AsiaNews.it 17/7/05)
Pope Benedict reveals new style in first three months of Pontificate, says analyst (Catholic News Agency 15/7/05)
In new book, Pope Benedict challenges idea of pop-culture Jesus (Catholic News Agency 15/7/05)
Pope's Harry Potter qualms highlighted before new book published (Ecumenical News International 15/7/05)
John L Allen: Ratzinger homestead up for sale (National Catholic Reporter 15/7/05)
John L Allen: Communion and Liberation (National Catholic Reporter 15/7/05)
John L Allen: The papal entourage (National Catholic Reporter 15/7/05)
Sensational find in Germany: 600-year-old papal seals (Raiders News Update)
Pope's vacation sounds pleasant note (Agence France-Presse/USA Today 17/7/05)
Pope Observes Silence for London Victims (Zenit 14/7/05)
Benedict XVI Writing a Book, Says Cardinal (Zenit 14/7/05)

18 Jul 2005