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The book details 50 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and the Holy See (X/Chiara Porro)

A new book from the Australian embassy to the Holy See remembers the ups and downs of Australia’s relationship with the Holy See on the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Source: The Catholic Leader.

Marking Milestones: Forging a Better Future contains a dozen entries from people who have had close connections to the events as they happened over the period.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd recounts the changing face of the Catholic Church in Australia as the country embraced multiculturalism and its population boom in the late 20th century.

Mr Rudd says the Catholic population of Australia has tripled since the Whitlam government established diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

The Holy See, he wrote, enjoyed a unique position in diplomatic relations because it had influence over large populations within the borders of many countries across the world.

For this reason, he said, the Holy See was comprehensively engaged across the gamut of transnational issues.

Mr Rudd also reflected on World Youth Day Sydney 2008.

He was prime minister at the time and had been told to expect about 250,000 people at the “Catholic Woodstock”.

It turned out 500,000 people showed up.

“The domestic spirit of goodwill during World Youth Day was overwhelming, as evidenced by the many enduring images from that time,” Mr Rudd said.

Josephite Sister Maria Casey writes about the “long and winding” road to canonisation for St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.

Sr Maria recounted the day of the canonisation.

“For millions, the broadcasts gave a new window to Australia, especially its culture and ability to celebrate a woman who had so much for the poor, needy and the First Nations people,” she said.

The book is published by the Vatican Publishing House.


New book looks back on Australia and the Holy See over 50 years of diplomacy (By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader