It will be a busy new year for
Benedict XVI. During 2009 the Pope will travel to Africa, and he might also
visit the Holy Land and Germany. He will publish his third encyclical. as well as the
second part of his book "Jesus of Nazareth" and a papal document on the Bible.
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
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.