Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Evidence Points to Authenticity of St. Paul's Tomb

Pope Says Scientific Analysis Seems to Confirm Tradition

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2009 - The tomb of St. Paul may indeed contain the remains of the Apostle of the Gentiles, Benedict XVI affirmed in his homily at the closing of the Year of St. Paul.

The Pope presided at first vespers this evening for the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, which marked the conclusion of the Pauline Year. The celebration took place at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where it has traditionally been believed St. Paul was buried.

"An authentic scientific analysis" conducted on the sarcophagus conserved in the basilica, the Holy Father said, "seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that these are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul."

"A tiny hole was dri lled into the sarcophagus -- which over many centuries had never been opened -- in order to insert a special probe, which revealed traces of costly purple colored linen fabric, laminated with pure gold and a blue fabric with linen filaments," Benedict XVI explained.

"Grains of red incense and protein and chalk substances were also discovered," he continued. "There were also tiny bone fragments, which were sent for carbon-14 testing by experts who were unaware of their origin. These were discovered to belong to a person who had lived between the first and second centuries."

St. Paul is said to have been beheaded at Aquas Salvias -- where the Church of Tre Fontane was then erected -- while he was buried at the place where the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls now stands, and where two basilicas -- one ordered by Emperor Constantine and the other the so-called basilica of the "Three Emperors" (Theodosius, Valen tinian II and Arcadius) -- were constructed during the fourth century.

Despite the fact that the original tomb of St. Paul had been the object of profound devotion on the part of pilgrims from the beginning, over the centuries it disappeared from view and eventually could no longer be identified.

During the reconstruction of the basilica, which had been destroyed by a fire in 1823, two marble plaques dating from the time of Pope Leo the Great (440-461), which contained the barely visible inscription "Paolo Apostolo Mart" ("Paul the Apostle Martyr"), were discovered beneath the "confessio" altar.

The first archaeological inspections, which took place in 2002-2003 in the area of the "confessio," permitted the identification of the remains of the Constantinian and Theodosian basilicas.

Between May 2 and Nov. 17, 2006 excavations were carried out that brought to light a marble sarcophagus 2.5 meters long and about 1.2 meters long, which rested on layer of clay floor dating from 390, the time during which the Constantinian basilica was expanded.

Beginning in 2007, visitors were allowed to enter below the basilica's altar to pray before the tomb of the Apostle.


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The extraordinary courage of Pope Pius XII against Hitler

Click on this website address for astonishing article:



Film Documents Life of Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 23, 2009 - Rome Reports has released the first in-depth documentary on Benedict XVI from his childhood in Bavaria, Germany, through the first years of his pontificate.

Titled "Benedict XVI: A Love Affair With the Truth," the 54-minute biographical film includes footage of Joseph Ratzinger as a boy growing up in Nazi Germany, to his ordination to the priesthood, as a cardinal and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and his election to the papacy.

"This film reveals the real Joseph Ratzinger, a man who always sought and loved the truth, and has combined a brilliant mind with the pastoral heart of a shepherd in love with his flock," reports HDH communication, the exclusive distributor of Vatican Television Center productions.

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On the Net:

For more information:


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Researcher Discovers Important Documents from World War II

Pave the Way Foundation Researcher Discovers Important Documents from World War II

More than 2300 pages of documentation, now available for historic study, shed further light on the activities of Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church from 1940-1945.

New York. June 16, 2009- The New York based Pave the Way Foundation (PTWF) has announced the discovery of over 2300 pages of original documents from the war years 1940-1945 during the course of our private research of the papacy of the war time Pope Pius XII. Many of these documents along with other previous discoveries are available for international viewing on our website www.ptwf.org. An initial review of the documents gives strong support to the argument that Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) worked diligently to save Jews from Nazi tyranny.

President of PTWF, Gary Krupp has stated, “In the furtherance of our mission to identify and eliminate obstacles between religions, PTWF has been engaged in a multiyear private research project to publicize the actions of the Vatican during WWII. With over 1000 books written on this subject, it became painfully obvious that this controversy will never be resolved even after the opening of the Vatican Secret Archives up to 1958.”

This large discovery was made in a very small diocese in a monastery in Avellino, Italy. It is possible (and likely) that many more vital documents could be found in larger dioceses, if researchers simply took the time to look.

Additionally, PTWF German representative Michael Hesemann has researched just a few documents from the Vatican Secret Archives, which are currently open up to 1939. Here again we discovered many examples of the direct actions and of the pastoral ministry of Eugenio Pacelli (Pius XII) to save Jews from Nazi tyranny. We also located documented proof of Pacelli’s direct intercession to protect the Jews of Palestine from the Ottoman Turks in 1917 and his encouraging the idea of the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine in 1925.

Gary Krupp further stated “Since presumed history has been the justification for hatred, vendettas and wars throughout civilized human existence, aren’t the historians charged with a moral and vital responsibility to get the story straight? People are killed every day because of historical vendettas. A personal disappointment resulting from our research was the realization that we all have been let down by many who represent themselves as historians. These individuals, with private agendas, have simply failed to research the evidence of this era properly and have remained silent when the absurd fanatics manipulate the truth. If PTWF, as amateur fact finders, can uncover so much information, how is it that the so-called historians and academic institutions have allowed the 46-year-old assessment of Pius XII to continue unchallenged? The universal academic response to this historical void has only been that “we reserve judgment of Pacelli until the Vatican opens the un-catalogued section of full papacy of Pius XII.” The result of this academic negligence has been discord and anger among people.”

The universal accolades and gratitude to Pope Pius XII was radically changed in 1963 with the performances of the fictitious play The Deputy by Rolf Hochhuth performed five years after his death. We have discovered, through confirmed testimony that this play was part of a KGB plot called “seat 12”, which was strategically planned to destroy the reputation of the Catholic Church. One must compare this intentional manipulation of facts to that of Rolf Hochhuth’s close friend David Irving who, as the world famous Holocaust denier, still preaches his distorted account of the holocaust under the label of historian.

From our unbiased research, and based on the mountains of evidence we have discovered, the undeniable conclusion is that Pope Pius XII was a true hero of WWII. Quite possibly he saved more Jews than all of the world’s religious and political leaders combined. Moreover, in the true spirit of heroism, he did all this with the direct threat of German rifles leveled 200 yards under his very windows.


Document Names Pius XII as Co-Conspirator Against Hitler

Foundation to Publish New Evidence from Germany

NEW YORK, JUNE 22, 2009 - A foundation that promotes interreligious dialogue is publishing new documents from Germany that gives evidence of Pope Pius XII's work against Hitler during World War II.

Gary Krupp, president of the New York-based Pave the Way Foundation, affirmed this Sunday in a statement to ZENIT that despite accusations of being "pro-Hitler," the Pontiff was actively opposing the Nazi leader.

The foundation acknowledged the controversy surrounding the Pope's actions during Hitler's regime, and asserted that this is a "continued source of discord between Jews and Catholics."

Thus the organization launched a "thorough investigation to uncover documentary evidence and record eyewitness testimony" about the real story of Pius XII.

The president, himself a Jew, stated, "In the furtherance of our mission we are continuously working hard to locate and post as many documents possible of the war years in order to clarify the papacy of Pope Pius XII."

He added, "During a recent mission to Germany, along with our [foundation's] representative in Germany, Michael Hesemann, we discovered and posted many new unseen original documents on our Web site that may change the face of this entire controversy."

This evidence, the statement asserted, "seems to confirm that Pope Pius XII was an active enemy of Adolph Hitler."

Krupp explained that the Pope was "named as a co-conspirator in the assassination attempt on Hitler's life of July 20, 1944."

On the foundation's Web site, he added, is posted the image of the Kaltenbrunner Report to Adolf Hitler dated Nov. 29, 1944 on the background of the plot.

"The report specifically names Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, as being a party in the attempt," he said.

The president also noted the online posting of the actual affidavit of Heinrich Himmler's deputy and German commander in Italy, General Karl Wolff.

He reported: "Wolff testifies that he was ordered by Hitler to plan an invasion of the Vatican to kidnap Pius XII and seize the Vatican. This kidnapping plan has been discounted by many historians because of a lack of documented proof."

7,000 saved

Krupp said that another event that added to the controversy concerns the deportation of over 1,000 Jews who were taken from Rome and killed at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

He stated that the foundation posted the "original cable from German command in Berlin to SS headquarters in Rome, ordering the arrest of 8,000 Roman Jews to be taken, not to Auschwitz, but to the labor camp of Mauthausen."

Krupp continued: "Only a little over 1,000 were arrested after a successful papal intervention.

"We have confirmed the personal and direct action of Pope Pius XII to stop the arrests of the Jews in Rome Oct. 16, 1943. No evidence has yet turned up about why those arrested were taken to the death camp of Auschwitz rather than the labor camp."

He speculated, however, that "because of the successful papal intervention to stop arrests, the order to Mauthausen was countermanded by persons unknown and over 1,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz to their death in retribution."

After the arrests, Krupp noted, Pius XII sent a representative to appeal for the release of the 1,000 Jews, but "he was refused admittance."

The cable suggests the possibility that "the Church believed they could rescue these 1,000 victims and negotiate their release," he affirmed.

The president reported that the Pontiff "ordered that Jews of Rome were to be given sanctuary in Church properties and Catholic homes, suspending cloister rules so that men could be admitted to convents and women to monasteries throughout Europe."

"He literally hid over 7,000 Jews in one day," Krupp added.

He encouraged people to visit the foundation's Web site, to view the documents in order to "learn the truth and draw your own conclusions of the actions of the Holy See during the war."

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On the Net:

Pave the Way Foundation: www.ptwf.org


Friday, 19 June 2009

On Pope Pius XII

"Fighting Nun" Publishes New Book on Wartime Pontiff

By Edward Pentin

ROME, JUNE 18, 2009 - She may be 87, but Sister Margherita Marchione isn't even close to retiring.

The indomitable sister of the Religious Teachers Filippini, and ardent defender of Pius XII, has just published a new book on the wartime Pontiff which she launched in Rome last month. Called "Pope Pius XII -- An Anthology on the 70th Anniversary of Coronation," the work is just one of over 60 she has written. Most of them are passionate defenses of Pius against accusations he did too little to save Jews in World War II.

Meeting Sr. Margherita is always a pleasure. A loveable, tiny nun whose broad New Jersey accent matches her tough resilience in clearing Pius's name, she ardently defends Pope Pacelli's holiness and innocence at every opportunity. And her historical research is supported by a growing number of prominent figures, including the highly reputed Jewish historian Sir Martin Gilbert and -- increasingly -- rabbis and ordinary Jews.

She began campaigning to clear Pius XII's name after hearing of the many Jews who were saved through hiding in the convent of her Order in Rome. She also has especially fond memories of meeting the wartime Pope in 1957. "Just that one time I met him, I can still visualize him," she recalls. "Just thinking about him, I can hear his voice -- there was something about him that was so saintly."

But this isn't mere sentiment: She backs up these claims with hard facts. He was not silent, she says, as his condemnations of Nazism were regularly reported in L'Osservatore Romano and on Vatican Radio; she stresses that whatever the bishops or apostolic delegations did in Europe to save Jews was on the Pope's instructions; moreover, she argues that all the convents, monasteries and the Vatican itself opened their doors to hide Jews because Pius XII had asked them to. "What more could he have done?" she asks.

What Sr. Margherita and many others have been trying to counter is the so-called black legend – a smear campaign masterminded by communists in the Soviet Union after the War to discredit the ardently anti-Communist wartime Pope. He was not silent during the war, says Sr. Margherita and others in his defense, but kept a low profile in order to avoid aggravating the situation of the victims.

Sr. Margherita also is quick to brush away one criticism which often comes up: that other Catholics who lost their lives to save Jews, and who have not yet been beatified, should be elevated to the altars before Pius XII who survived the war. She insists Pius XII did lay down his life -- he risked his own self and was prepared to die (a recent testimony has given credence to rumors that the Nazis secretly planned to kill or kidnap Pius in 1943). "Can you picture the kind of fear he experienced day in and day out?" she says. "What would happen to him and the Catholic Church, the Vatican? He had a terrible responsibility."

Sr. Margherita is keen to invite Catholics to pray to Pope Pius XII for his intercession for a miraculous cure where this might be needed. There is a prayer for this purpose:

"O Jesus, Eternal Pontiff, you deigned to elevate to the supreme dignity your Vicar here on earth, your faithful servant Pius XII and to him you gave the grace of being an intrepid defender of the faith and a courageous asserter of justice and of peace, a devoted glorifier of your Holy Mother and a luminous model of charity and of all the virtues. Deem worthy now, in view of his merits, to grant us the grace that we ask of you. We are certain of his efficacious intercession and we hope to see him one day glorified on your altars Amen."

Sr. Margherita remains ever hopeful that she will see Pius XII beatified in her lifetime. And it's a hope coupled with characteristic good humor. In a recent telephone call to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, she told him: "I'll be back in the fall for the beatification."

"Pope Pius XII -- An Anthology on the 70th Anniversary of Coronation" is published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana as a bilingual edition in Italian and English. For more information, visit www.sistermargherita.com/articles.htm.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

More Proof of Hitler's Plan to Kill Pope Pius XII

Son of German Intelligence Officer Comes Forward

ROME, JUNE 16, 2009 - New evidence published today by the newspaper of the Italian bishops gives more credence to the belief that Adolf Hitler had planned to either kidnap or kill Pope Pius XII.

It has long been conjectured that Hitler had ordered the SS commander in Italy, General Karl Wolf, to seize the Vatican and take the Pope.

Dan Kurzman wrote about it in his 1997 book "A Special Mission: Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius the XII," which is based on interviews with Wolf himself. Wolf's accounts, however, could never be verified.

New evidence published today by Avvenire now points to the role of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (the Third Reich's main security office) in devising a plot to take out the Pope.

The newspaper cited the testimony of Niki Freytag Loringhoven, 72, the son of Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven, who during World War II was a colonel in the High Command of the German Armed Forces.

According to the son, days after Hitler's Italian ally, Benito Mussolini, had been arrested at the orders of King Victor Emmanuel III, Hitler ordered the Reichssicherheitshauptamt to devise a plot to punish the Italian people by kidnapping or murdering Pius XII and the king of Italy.

Hearing of the project, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the German counterintelligence service, informed his Italian counterpart, General Cesare Amè, during a secret meeting in Venice from July 29-30, 1943.

Also present at the meeting were colonels Erwin von Lahousen and Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven, who both worked in Section II of German counterintelligence, which dealt primarily with sabotage.

Canaris, Von Lahousen and Freytag von Loringhoven had all been part of the German resistance against the Nazis.

Amè, upon returning to Rome, spread news of the plans against Hitler in order to block them, which proved successful. The plan was quickly dropped.

According to Avvenire, this testimony coincides with the deposition given by Von Lahousen during the Nuremberg war crimes trials on Feb. 1,1946 (Warnreise Testimony 1330-1430).

Canaris was later dismissed as the head of German intelligence in February 1944, put under house arrest, and then executed in 1945.

The two colonels participated with Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg in the failed July 20 Plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


VATICAN CITY, 6 JUN 2009 ( VIS ) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

"Yesterday, Friday 5 June, His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabian minister for foreign affairs, accompanied by a delegation, visited the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue where he was welcomed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of that dicastery, Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary, Msgr. Andrew Vissanu Thanya-anan, and Msgr. Khaled Akasheh, head officer for Islam.

"During the meeting ideas were exchanged concerning the best way to follow up on the Madrid Conference of 16-18 July 2008 which, at the initiative of King Abdallah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, brought together leaders of the main religions of the world".

Ambassador to the Vatican

What effect does serving as a diplomat in the city of Rome, at the Holy See, have on a diplomat? Sometimes, a very spiritual one...

By Andrew Rabel

Editor's note: From time to time, Inside the Vatican publishes interviews with key figures in Rome, both in and out of the Roman Curia.

Some of these figures are in the large diplomatic community in Rome, for the "Eternal City" remains a great world "listening post," so much so that many countries have decided it makes sense to send an experienced and senior public figure to Rome to represent the views of the country's government to the Holy See, but also to the other members of the world's diplomatic community in the city.

This month, we publish a brief interview with a man who represents this reality quite well: Ambassador Tim Fischer, former deputy Prime Minister of Australia, now Australia's ambassador to the Holy See. The interview was conducted by Andrew Rabel, himself an Australian, who writes on Australian affairs, and other important matters, for Inside the Vatican.

Mr Tim Fischer (photo), former head of Australia's National Party and Deputy Prime Minister in the Howard Government from 1996 to 1999, is the first resident Australian Ambassador to the Holy See ever.

Australia has had diplomatic ties with the Vatican since 1973, and is now one of 177 sovereign states which has formal relations with the Holy See.
But, until Fischer's appointment last year, the Australian ambassador to the Holy See (not to be confused wth the Australian ambassador to Italy), was the ambassador to Ireland, who also cared for the Vatican post (career diplomat Anne Plunkett last carried out that double function).

Fischer was appointed by Prime Minister Mr Kevin Rudd to represent Australia in Rome on July 21, 2008 -- the last day of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Australia for World Youth Day.

Austrialia's Foreign minister, Stephen Smith, when Fischer's appointment was announced, said that it was "the right time" to appoint a resident ambassador to the Vatican.

"The Prime Minister and I came to the conclusion in the run-up to World Youth Day that having established diplomatic relations (with the Vatican) in 1973, that given there are another 69 countries that have another ambassador in residence ... that it was appropriate that we become the 70th," Smith told reporters.

"The Vatican do not accept the ambassador to Italy as an ambassador to the Vatican -- they are separate states.

"Our ambassador in Rome has plenty to do with our Italian relations. We came to the conclusion that it was appropriate at this point in the cycle to have a fully fledged ambassador in residence.

"(The Vatican) has significant interests and significant influence, and size is not often the best qualitative judge of the influence that a particular state... or interest might bring to bear.”

Fischer, 63, is married. He and his wife Judy have two sons, Harrison and Dominic.
Fischer is well known for his love of trains, and his love for the Himalayan nation of Bhutan, having been once chairman of the Australian-Bhutan association.

Now, in his first extensive interview since taking the post on February 13 in the presence of the Holy Father (on which occasion the Holy Father showed great compassion for Australians suffering from the terrible bushfires in those days), Mr Fischer talks about his mission — and the effect working in Rome has had on him spiritually.
Fischer spoke with Australian Inside the Vatican correspondent Andrew Rabel, who met with Fischer at the end of May in the Australian Embassy to the Holy See on Via Paola in Rome.


How have you found being the Australian Ambassador of the Holy See, since you assumed the post in February? One remembers in late April, the incident with The Chasers (an Australian comedy group) who sent a balloon over the Vatican violating its airspace, which led to your criticism of them...

Australian Ambassador to the Holy See Mr Tim Fischer: It's a tremendous privilege to be the first resident-in-Rome Australian ambasssdor to the Holy See. I find the Holy See, as a nation-city-state and as a member of the United Nations [it has observer status] a vibrant vehicle of "information power," or knowledge power — of "soft power." It is good for Australia to "plug into" this "soft power" on key issues, such as inter-faith dialogue, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and so forth, but also on issues like poverty, people-smuggling, piracy, and food security... As for the balloon over the Vatican, it's an incident which is still ticking slowly through various statges of the Italian legal process...
How does having a diplomatic post like this differ from when you were the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and leader of the National Party?

Fischer: Well, I'm in one spot. I'm here in Rome, in and out of the Vatican again this morning for meetings, so it's different because you're not traveling so much and you have one job, not several company boards or several aspects of a complex portfolio, as Federal Minister for Trade and Deputy Prime Minister.

So to that extent, it is busy, it is stimulating, and a fraction easier for being all on the one, broad canvas of activity, a great variety of activities, and a great privilege to be the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See.

Do you think the success of World Youth Day in Australia last year -- when on the last day of the Pope's visit Mr Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister announced your appointment as the first residential Australian Ambassador to the Vatican -- has deepened the relationship between Australia and the Holy See?

Fischer: Yes. And that Youth Day visit certainly set up a platform for a great and warm welcome for everyone from the Holy Father on down, a better understanding and a higher profile for Australia and for Sydney here in Rome, and in many other parts of the world. It was a great success, and the Cross was handed over on Palm Sunday during the Mass to the Madrid cardinal, and so the event established by John Paul II goes on. I think it did a lot of good within Australia, and it continues to help me in my work.

The event has been significant in that it seems a lot of pilgrims have met each other at different World Youth Days, and have actually married.

What similarities do you see in regard to the vision Australia and the Holy See have or share in regard to international affairs?

Fischer: I have just completed a course with some Asian diplomats on the international policy of the Holy See. I helped get Dr Sayakane Sisouvong to come to that course -- he's the Director General of the ASEAN group of nations, and of course our links with Asia remain in focus as well.
I think there is agreement with the Vatican historically on a range of issues. Take one: cluster bombs. The effort to ban cluster bombs was an initiative of the Vatican ambassador to Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, which led to some countries going to Norway, including Australia, represented by Foreign Minister Mr Stephen Smith, and signing off on the cluster bombs initiative. Australia has worked closely with the Holy See on issues like cluster bombs, like nuclear disarmament, like food security, and will continue to do so.

However, Pope Benedict said when you had your audience with him to take up your post, "How ironic it is, however when some groups, through aid programs, promote abortion as a form of maternal health care, taking a life, purportedly to improve the quality of life". Recently my state of Victoria passed legislation decriminalizing abortion, to the point of not even allowing the right of conscientious objection in regard to health professionals. Does this somehow sour the relationship between the two countries?

Fischer: Events in national legislatures like those of the USA and Australia are watched closely by the papal nuncios in those countries, and they report back to Rome. I have as my starting off point of instruction, the broad policies of the Australian government. I am not a conduit between the Catholic Church of Australia, and its headquarters. I am a conduit between the Australian government and its policies, and the nation and city state of the Holy See.
There is an obvious difference.

So I don't feel myself in any way a prosecutor or an activist, because I'm an ambassador.
Nevertheless, I report on and respond to those matters I'm instructed to by Minister Stephen Smith, to work for the good husbandry of the relationship, and obviously we have a wide-ranging set of discussions, with a wide-range of interlocutors on difficult subjects, as well as easy subjects. I lam no longer a member of the Australian parliament, I am an ambassador, so I don't feel it is appropriate for me to prosecute domestic issues from here. We'll agree to disagree from time to time with the Holy See on some areas, but on the vast majority of issues the positions of the Australian government are in harmony with those of the Holy See.

Could you tell me a little bit about Domus Australia, and what the purpose behind its construction is?

Fischer: It is located within five minutes of Stazione Termini. It is going to end up with about 70 bedrooms and quite large shower cubicles because there is not so many decent sized ones in Rome. It is complete with a chapel which is a magnificent chapel and we hope we'll have Anzac Day Masses at that chapel, amongst other things, because it is easy to get into and from. Now it was a purchase made by the Sydney Archdiocese and Cardinal Pell. It is being managed by Dr Danny Casey. Art work has been commissioned and a two-year refit of the building.

You are a Catholic yourself. How important is this fact in regard to how you do your job?

Fischer: Many of the ambassadors here are not Catholic. For example, the German ambassador is a Lutheran, and this is in no way a barrier to his professional work as an ambassador. It happens, yes, I'm a Catholic, less than perfect practicing Catholic. I try, but that is not really a must, it's not really a requirement of the job, over the years the Vatican and the Curia have made that quite clear.

In respect of the nomination of my name, the Curia turned it around in two days, which was an incredible effort, because normally it takes a couple of weeks for the nomination to be granted approval by the Vatican, and that allowed the Prime Minister to make the announcement in the presence of the Pope at Mascot [Sydney airport] and that was pretty exciting.

I heard that you participated in the Easter ceremonies at the Vatican, and may have experienced a deeper conversion. Is there any truth to this?

Fischer: I attended the Easter Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday services. It was certainly a great honor to be present at those, and they were very motivating. The Easter Saturday night one, from 9 pm to 1 am, was an interesting service, the Vigil Mass. Let me just say the progress with my faith is a matter between my Maker and myself, and I'm happy to be quoted as saying that, and clearly it was a great joy to be close to the action, for the first time ever to attend Easter in Rome, and the standouts were definitely the magnificent Easter Thursday Mass at St John Lateran. It was truly uplifting, and I'm very happy to say that.
On a lighter note, I am very happy to welcome various school groups and other groups to Rome from Australia, as part of their test of knowledge. I say I will rendezvous with them at the fountain in St Peter's Square, nearest to Australia.