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Meet Australia's new ambassador to the Holy See, John McCarthy

2012-12-02

JOHN McCARTHY
Australia's Ambassador to the Holy See
"I was the head of the Catholic Lawyers in Australia, the St. Thomas More Society for many years and served in the executive for many many years before that.”

When World Youth Day was held in Sydney back in 2008, the relationship between the two states was reinforced even more. The following year, Tim Fischer was appointed as the country's first resident ambassador before the Holy See.

On October 17th, 2010, the first Australian saint, Mary MacKillop was canonized. Then in 2011, the  Australian embassy helped organize this historic train ride, from the Vatican's own train station to the town of Orvieto to mark the 60th anniversary of Catholic Charity Caritas.

Now McCarthy says part of his mission is to continue to put Australia on the map, both literally and figuratively. As part of this goal, he gave the Pope a map of indigenous Australia, when he presented his credentials before Benedict XVI.

JOHN McCARTHY
Australia's Ambassador to the Holy See
"There is a famous painting in the Vatican, in the Secretariat of State of the world in the 16th century as they knew it at that time. It shows the outline of all the continents, but it doesn't show Australia, the great south land is not there. I came to Rome amongst other things to put Australia on the map, on that map.”

There are about 5.7 million Catholics in Australia, which is roughly 28 percent of the  population.  Interestingly one of his six children is a Catholic priest, who studied in Rome. Even though Catholics are not the majority, McCarthy says the Church does have a firm presence there.

JOHN McCARTHY
Australia's Ambassador to the Holy See
"The Church when, it's seen, looking towards Rome from Australia, it is not an institution or a group that is dying out.”

But without a doubt, it was the ambassador's grandson who stole the spotlight, when McCarthy met the Pope at the Vatican.  The young boy leaned forward and kissed the Pope.


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