While the Holy Father spends July in the serenity of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, he is dedicating time to penning a number of important documents. Among the pieces on his to-do list are the speeches to be given in the U.K. this September.
While a variety of news reports have speculated on the activity of the Pope during his summer retreat to the hilltop palace at Castel Gandolfo, a piece by the Vatican specialist Paolo Rodari in Sunday's edition of the Italian paper Il Foglio gives an overview of the Holy Father's writing aspirations during his "time off."
Rodari described the three major works at the Pope's fingertips as: not an entire book as had previously been reported in the Italian press, but an "appendix" to his Jesus of Nazareth books, the basic framework of his fourth encyclical and his addresses for the late-summer trip to Scotland and England.
According to Rodari, the brief addition to the Jesus of Nazareth series will cover the infancy of Jesus as recounted in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and the encyclical will present his perspective on "faith," a logical choice after the first three, which focused on social issues, charity and hope.
The Holy Father is drafting his Cardinal John Henry Newman-centered discourses during this time, as well, wrote Rodari, observing that, "The figure of the ex-Anglican English prelate was important for the formation of the Pontiff and his contribution could be important to the Church today."
Pope Benedict XVI's schedule for the trip includes ample opportunities to reflect on the life of the cardinal, including his beatification ceremony, which the Holy Father will preside over on the fourth and final day of his voyage.
Examining the agenda, particular moments offering the Pope the possibility of speaking about the 19th- century English cardinal include a meeting in London with a delegation from the Anglican Church led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Sept. 17; a Eucharistic celebration in Westminster Cathedral on Sept. 18; a prayer vigil in Hyde Park the next day; and, of course, the beatification ceremony in Birmingham on Sunday, Sept. 19.
The Birmingham Oratory announced in their Church bulletins this month that following the beatification ceremony, the Holy Father will also go their Chapel, dedicated to St. Philip, where he will become the first pilgrim to pray at their new shrine to their founder, Cardinal Newman.