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Rome Reports

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Benedict XVI, Agenda For The Year 2009

Benedict XVI will travel in March to Cameroon and Angola. In Cameroon he will meet with bishops from around the continent and he will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Angola?s evangelization. The Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, says that Africa will be the highlight of Benedict XVI?s agenda during 2009. The Pope has repeatedly called on developed countries to remember the terrible conflicts on this continent and to take concrete action to end poverty and the terrible living conditions of its people. The Pope knows this fact because 90% of the continents hospitals depend on Catholic institutions. The Vatican will actively participate in this year?s International Year of Astronomy that celebrates 400 years since of Galileo Galilei?s first telescopic observations. In addition to encouraging dialogue between science and faith, some speculate the Pope could allow documents of Galileo?s legal process to be published. Also, 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Holy See, an event that could encourage Barak Obama to visit the Vatican during his first European tour. But perhaps the main concern of the Pope will remain the violent persecution Christian minorities suffer in the Middle East and India. Especially in the Holy Land and Iraq, where violence is vanishing the oldest Christian communities on earth.