VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of people converged on St Peter’s Square in one of the biggest crowds ever seen at the Vatican on Sunday to participate in the beatification of Pope John Paul II.
Streams of people some 30 wide moved toward the Vatican area from all directions from before dawn to get a good spot for the Mass where Pope Benedict was to move his predecessor a step closer to sainthood.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope John Paul II moves a step closer to sainthood on Sunday when his successor beatifies him before an expected crowd of several hundred thousand people.
Pilgrims from all over the world, many from the pope’s native Poland, have flocked to Rome to witness the beatification mass and take part in the biggest event in the Italian capital since the late pope’s funeral in 2005.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people from around the world descended on Rome on Saturday for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, six years after his death.
“It’s almost as if he is here,” said Enzo Arzellino, who traveled all night on a bus from southern Italy with his parish group to attend the beatification on Sunday.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope John Paul’s coffin was exhumed on Friday ahead of his beatification as tens of thousands of people began arriving in Rome for one of the biggest events since his funeral in 2005.
The Vatican said the coffin was removed from the crypts below St Peter’s Basilica while top Vatican officials and some of the late pope’s closest aides looked on and prayed.
ROME (Reuters) – Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi hopes to revive plans to relaunch Italy’s nuclear energy sector in one or two years, he said on Tuesday after the government last week shelved plans to allow the construction of new plants.
Following mounting public concern over safety in the wake of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima reactor, the government scrapped plans for a referendum called previously to win public approval for new reactors.
ROME (Reuters) – Pope Benedict took questions from a child in Japan, a Muslim woman in Ivory Coast and a mother caring for a son in a permanent coma in his first televised dialogue with the public, broadcast on Good Friday.
The German-born pontiff, like his Polish predecessor John Paul, has allowed rare televised interviews with journalists but his direct contact with the general public marked a new step for the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict lamented the widespread abandonment of religion in Western countries at a Holy Thursday ceremony, saying the heartlands of Christianity were turning away from their faith.
The German-born pontiff said during the service at St. Peter’s Basilica it sometimes seemed as if the West had become bored by its own history and culture.
ROME/PARIS (Reuters) – Europe must drop nuclear energy after a radiation leak from Japan’s earthquake-damaged atomic reactor proved there are no safety guarantees, European green groups said on Saturday.
Opposition politicians and environmental groups in France, Italy and Germany said Europe had no chance of protecting its people from nuclear accidents if technologically advanced Japan could not secure its atomic reactors from natural disasters.
ROME, March 12 (Reuters) – Italy will not change plans to
relaunch its nuclear energy sector after a blast at a Japanese
atomic plant was triggered by an earthquake, a senior government
politician said on Saturday.
Italy is the only Group of Eight industrialised nation that
does not produce nuclear power, but Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi wants nuclear plants to generate a quarter of the
country’s electricity in the future.
ROME (Reuters) – The United Nations expressed serious concern on Friday about the impact of the Libyan uprising on food security across North Africa because of the region’s dependency on cereal imports.
“The ongoing crisis will likely have a significant impact on food security in Libya and in nearby crisis-affected areas,” the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation said in a statement on Friday.