Nuncio tells Catholics to "live Christianity"
Visiting Albury to speak with 60 priests and monks from the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, Papal nuncio, Archbishop Ambrose Battista De Paoli, emphasised the importance of "living" Christianity.
The Border Mail reports that Benedict's ambassador to Australia, Archbishop Ambrose Battista De Paoli, spoke in Albury on Tuesday about challenges facing the main Christian churches in Australia.
Declining numbers in the pews and a clergy shortage were among the problems, the Pennsylvania-born Apostolic Nuncio said.
Albury's St Patrick's parish assistant priest, Fr Michael Kennedy, is national president of the 350-strong Confraternity, which represents mainly those with a traditional Catholic outlook.
It is holding its annual conference until Friday.
Archbishop De Paoli, a priest for 45 years, is fluent in French, Italian and Spanish. He was appointed an archbishop in 1983 after diplomatic service in Zambia, Venezuela, Canada and the Vatican.
Since 1983, he has been the Vatican's nuncio or delegate in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana and Japan. He has worked in Canberra since March last year.
"After Sri Lanka, Africa and Japan, it's a different world in the same world," he said. "Each area has its own particular challenge.
"The biggest challenge for (Australian) mainstream churches, of which the Catholics are part, is the decline in numbers attending worship weekly or periodically.
"A lot of other religious expressions are coming up, many of them offshoots of Christianity as such. They have their own style which somewhat clashes with the traditions of the main churches."
But Archbishop De Paoli said that Christianity was more than going to church. It was rather a matter of people "living their Christianity" and also demonstrating that lifestyle to non-Christians.
On the clergy shortage, Archbishop De Paoli said priests and laity could not do without each other "but one does not take the place of the other."
Archbishop De Paoli would not be drawn on details of the Pope's Sydney visit in July 2008, which is being handled by the Sydney Archdiocese. He also said he wasn't in Australia to give orders, just to give advice.
Pope's envoy visits Border (Border Mail 12/7/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy
New Apostolic Nuncio for Australia (CathNews, 20/12/04)
Alternative priests' council hits back on mandatory celibacy (CathNews, 28/1/05)
13 Jul 2006