Over at Australia Incognita we’re reminded to pray for the Holy Father and the Australian bishops as they make their ad limina apostolorum visit in the coming days.  There is also a link there to a radio interview with Archbishop Phillip Wilson, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Canon 400 #1 of the Latin Code of Canon Law states that “in the year in which he is bound to submit the report to the Supreme Pontiff, the diocesan Bishop is to go to Rome to venerate the tombs of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and to present himself to the Roman Pontiff.”  [see also c. 399: a report is to be submitted every five years to the Supreme Pontiff on the state of the diocese entrusted to the diocesan bishop].

The importance of the ad limina visits is also stressed in articles 28-32 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus.  Article 29 states: “These kinds of visits have a special importance in the life of the Church, marking as they do the apogee of the relationship between the pastors of each particular Church with the Roman Pontiff.  For he meets his brother bishops, and deals with them about matters concerning the good of the Churches and the bishops’ role as shepherds, and he confirms and supports them in faith and charity.  This strengthens the bonds of hierarchical communion and openly manifests the catholicity of the Church and the unity of the episcopal college.”

Given recent events in Australia, this is an important time for the bishops to spend some time with the Holy Father.  There could well be some interesting conversations.  Let’s indeed pray that the bishops’ pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and their meetings with the successor of Peter, will be a time of grace.


* Tony Dixon has more to add about the ad limina visits at vexilla regis.

* There is an article on the Australian Bishops’ ad limina on ZENIT.