It has not been a good few weeks for Brussels Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, the embattled leader of Belgium’s Roman Catholics.
Pope Benedict spent Thursday in Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up in what is now the northern part of Israel. With no pressing political issues there, his sermon and speeches had a more religious focus than some recent ones.
Wednesday was Palestinian day in Pope Benedict’s schedule. He spent the whole day in Bethlehem and met Catholics, refugees and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He spoke out clearly in favour of a Palestinian homeland, deplored the Israeli wall that snakes around the town and spoke with sympathy of the difficulties the Palestinians face. Taken together, they were a strong expression of Vatican support for the Palestinians.
Esteban Israel in Mexico City writes:
Mexico’s 20 million Catholics had to resort to a televised Mass on Sunday after health authorities shut down churches nationwide to prevent the spread of a new flu virus that has seized headlines throughout the world.