||Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples
Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Tourism
I. The Reality of Tourism Today(Nos. 3-17)
1) Tourism and Free Time (Nos. 4-5)
2) Tourism and the Person (Nos. 6-10)
3) Tourism and Society (Nos. 11-13)
4) Tourism and Theology (Nos. 14-17)
II. Pastoral Objectives(Nos. 18-30)
1) Welcome (Nos. 19-21)
2) Living Tourism in a Christian Way (Nos. 22-29)
3) Cooperation between the Church and Society (No. 30)
III. Pastoral Structures(Nos. 31-35)
1) The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of
Migrants and Itinerant Peoples (No. 32)
2) Bishops’ Conferences (No. 33)
3) Dioceses (No. 34)
4) Parishes (No. 35)
1. The Church expressed her pastoral attention to the phenomenon of tourism in
1969 in the Directory Peregrinans in terra. At
that time, tourism appeared to be a launching pad with many possibilities for
the advancement of persons and entire peoples. Even then, however, the
Church appeared cautious with regard to various dangers that could come from a
kind of tourism that did not take moral criteria into sufficient consideration.
Over the years, tourism has undergone a great development involving millions of
persons and, in many ways, it has become one of the chief motors of economic
activity. The expansion of tourist activity has benefited many people and
whole countries, but, at the same time, it has often proven to be a source of
degradation of nature and even of people. The Church’s pastoral efforts
have followed these developments. In line with the indications given in the
Directory Peregrinans in terra and other interventions by the Holy Father,
many bishops, priests, religious and lay persons have been engaged in a creative
and on-going pastoral task to fill this dimension of human life with Christian
During these past decades, many Christians have gained a more complete view of
tourism and discovered both its positive and negative aspects. For many
ecclesial communities, the phenomenon of tourism has ceased to be a marginal
reality or cause for disturbance in their normal life and become an opportunity
for evangelization and communion. Tourism could become “a factor of
primary importance in building a world open to cooperation with all, through
reciprocal knowledge and direct contact with different realities”. Moreover,
the dioceses and the Bishops’ Conferences have provided themselves with
suitable pastoral structures, according to the needs in each place.
This document, which brings together all the requests and valid indications
given in Peregrinans in terra and the experiences of the different local
Churches, proposes to offer some reflections and pastoral criteria regarding
tourism in response to the new situations.
2. Tourism today is a multi-dimensional social and economic fact that can affect
people in different ways. Every year there are hundreds of millions of
international and domestic tourists. Moreover, millions of persons are
involved in tourism as workers, promoters and operators; still others are
employed in auxiliary activities or are simply residents in tourist localities. The
pastoral care of tourism is addressed to all these categories of persons.
This document is addressed to the Bishops who, in the framework of their
Churches, animate and direct all pastoral action. The document is also
addressed to priests, men and women religious; more directly it is addressed to
the laity who are called upon to carry out evangelization activity in this
specific area of social and secular reality.
It is up to all those to whom this document is addressed, each according to his
or her own role, to introduce the human and Christian values proclaimed in the
Gospel of Jesus Christ into tourism. (top)
REALITY OF TOURISM TODAY
3. Man’s need to move has been accentuated by the rapid development of the
means of communication, a greater freedom of movement between the different
states, and a more concerted juridical and social homogenization. In the
past, adverse natural or social conditions drove or forced more or less numerous
groups of people to change their place of residence. However, there have
always been travelers who set off with the desire to meet other peoples, to make
relations with other cultures, and to get a more global view of reality. These
are examples of what modern man has sought first through educational voyages and
then through present-day tourism.
In the varied world of mobility, tourism is specifically defined as an activity
that is carried out during one’s free time. It is now a social convention
to consider a tourist voyage any move outside of one’s usual place of
residence for a period of more than twenty-four hours and less than a year,
which is not aimed at carrying out any paid activities in the place of arrival. In
other situations, the reason for a voyage can also become compatible with
typically tourist activities, such as in the case of business travel, workers
organized in international firms, participants in congresses and formation
activities, sportsmen, and workers in the world of entertainment. And so
tourism offers a broad range of motivations and forms. Reference to free
time and to its meaning directed towards human development remains the criterion
for evaluating and assessing the practice of tourism.
4. Today in particular the phenomenon of tourism attracts attention first of all
because of the dimensions it has attained and the prospects for its expansion. In
the mid-twentieth century, when tourism became accessible to many in the
industrialized countries, there were approximately 25 million international
tourists; since then, this figure has grown to 698 million in the year
2000. Even greater growth is recorded in tourism within the national
territory of individual countries. For the year 2020, approximately 1.6
billion international arrivals are expected for reasons of tourism. The
tourist industry has turned into one of the chief economic forces in the whole
world, and it holds first place in some countries.
The dynamic and growing aspect of tourism has been accompanied by an innovative
and creative force whereby the offers have become increasingly responsive to
peoples’ needs and desires. Today tourism presents a great variety of
forms and constitutes a manifold and constantly changing reality.
At the same time, however, tourist activity displays negative aspects. The
persons who promote it or take advantage of tourism often use it for their own
illicit purposes, in some cases as an instrument of exploitation, and in others
as an occasion for aggression against persons, cultures or nature. This is
not surprising if we consider that tourism is not an isolated reality; it is an
integral part of our civilization and reproduces both its positive and negative
To outline and offer a basis for a correct Pastoral Care of Tourism, it is
necessary to be as fully aware as possible of the phenomenon. This document
does not presume to offer an analysis of this kind, nor would it be possible. However,
it does seem necessary to call attention to some primary aspects. In this
sense, four points should be stressed: the nature of free time and its role in
the lives of men and women today; the importance of tourism for the person; the
influence of tourism on the whole of society; the reflection on tourism guided
by the Word of God. (top)
1. Tourism and Free Time
5. Work and rest mark the natural rhythm of human existence. Both are
necessary for a person’s life to develop in its essential aspects inasmuch as
both constitute areas of authentic creativity.
In the history of humanity, work has always been experienced as a distressing
need, and working conditions have often been pitiful and even violent. The
process leading to an improvement in these conditions has been long; and
although it has accelerated in modern times, its benefits only reach a part of
humanity. Because of the most recent technological advances, not only
working conditions have changed, but also the nature of work itself, bringing
substantial transformations in people’s lives. One of the most
significant changes is precisely the greater availability of free time.
“Weekends” and paid vacations have contributed in a special way to
increasing free time. Moreover, in people’s lives today, free time
occupies a very important area during their youth and at the end of their
working life, two periods that have become considerably longer.
It must be reaffirmed that such free time is not accessible to everyone, and
millions of persons around the world, in the developed countries as well, do not
have free time or the economic and cultural means to live it as a real
6. It should also be noted that the greater availability of time still seems
insufficient to satisfy what society proposes, such as formative or social
activities or for rest and well-being, or to take into consideration the growing
amount of information that is often essential to ensure a person’s full
integration and participation in society. This gap between the time that is
really available and the time one would like to have produces a state of anxiety
that inevitably has repercussions on family and social relations.
In any case, work continues to be the basis for a person’s integration and
participation in society as well as the foundation of family life,
and the condition for realizing the “fundamental truth that man, created in
the image of God, shares by his work in the activity of the Creator”. Together
with work, however, free time appears more and more like a possibility for
personal realization and a space for creativity, a right that contributes to a
person’s full dignity.
Before this consideration of free time, the concept of rest should not be lost.
It is a need present in human nature that manifests an unrenounceable value in
itself. The meaning of rest, in fact, is not just the need to recover from
the toil of work. Its real meaning is grasped when in rest man dedicates
his time to God, recognizes Him as his Lord and Sanctifier, and dedicates
himself generously to the service of others, especially his family. The
concept of free time, on the other hand, stresses a person’s autonomy and
efforts at self-realization, dimensions that can achieve their fullness only in
fidelity to God the Creator and Savior.
There are many means available for living free time in a truly positive way: some
aid rest, contribute to physical recovery or to perfecting personal skills. Some
act to the benefit of the person’s individual dimension; others the social
dimension. Some are on-going while others are sporadic. Hence reading,
cultural and festive events, sports and tourism have become part of daily life,
as an expression of free time itself. All those who can take advantage of
free time should strive to discover all its human dimensions and use it
responsibly, while making efforts so all men will be able to fully enjoy this
fundamental right as soon as possible. (top)
2. Tourism and the Person
7. Rest constitutes one important reason why people try to have free time, and
it is also the most common reason for engaging in tourism. A voyage and a
more or less extended stay in a place different from one’s usual place of
residence predispose people to take a break from work and other obligations that
are part of social responsibilities. Rest thus takes on the form of a
parenthesis in normal life.
There is a danger that rest may be considered a time for doing nothing. Certainly
this conception does not correspond to the anthropological reality of rest. In
fact, rest consists principally in regaining the full personal equilibrium that
normal living conditions tend to destroy. Therefore, just stopping all
activity is not enough; certain conditions must also be created in order to
regain one’s equilibrium.
Tourism can facilitate these conditions not only because it involves going away
from one’s residence or usual environment, but also because through many
activities, it makes new experiences possible. These reinforce a person’s
harmonious and integral understanding both through a new contact with nature and
a more direct knowledge of the artistic and monumental heritage, and through
more human relations with other persons.
8. Tourist activity has a very close relation with nature. Immersed in a
daily life dominated by technology, tourists wish to have direct contact with
nature, to enjoy the beauty of landscapes, to learn about the habitat of animals
and plants, even by subjecting themselves to effort and risks. Nature basically
constitutes the ideal place for starting and developing tourism.
Greater ecological awareness is transforming man’s relations with nature. In
St. Francis of Assisi’s example, people
should become accustomed to seeing a brother and a sister in everything in
creation in order to go back to the Creator and say: “Praise to you , O Lord,
with all your creators”.
An objective perception of the limited resources and their distribution caused
by many human activities, together with greater awareness of the kinds of
equilibrium and greater appreciation for natural diversities are making a code
of conduct necessary which tourism must adopt, almost as a condition for its
survival. Moreover, its particular relation with those environments that
have proven to be ecologically more vulnerable – islands, coasts, mountains,
forests – imposes a specific responsibility on tourism which must be taken on
jointly by promoters, operators, tourists and local communities.
New proposals for tourism and new habits have thus emerged which should be
encouraged for their formative and human character. Direct knowledge about
nature through voyages for discovering its wonders, exercising respect for
nature’s equilibrium through a simpler kind of tourism, and the more
personalized contact with nature made possible by tourism in smaller groups,
such as in rural tourism, are changing in a positive way the daily habits of
people who are constantly allured by consumerism.
9. A tourist voyage often comes about through interest in other peoples’
cultures. Tourism offers the possibility for direct knowledge and dialogue
without intermediaries, which enable the visitor and the visited to discover the
wealth of their respective patrimony. This cultural dialogue, which favors
peace and solidarity, constitutes one of the most precious values derived from
In preparing for their voyage, tourists should get ready for this encounter by
looking for appropriate documentation that will help them understand and
appreciate the country they plan to visit. They should be informed about
the artistic patrimony, history, customs, religion and social situation of the
people they will meet. In this way, the dialogue that begins will be
sustained by respect for persons, be a living place of encounter, and avoid the
risk of transforming culture into a mere object of curiosity.
On its part, the local community should present its artistic patrimony and
culture to tourists with a clear awareness of its own identity, thereby
promoting synergies that every authentic dialogue generates. To invite
tourists to know its culture implies the commitment to live it deeply and to
protect it jealously. The rapid homogenization of customs and ways of life
that is taking place in the whole world often goes to the detriment of the equal
dignity that should be recognized in different civilizations. Tourism should not
become an instrument of dissolution or destruction, almost like an invitation to
the local communities to imitate everything that is foreign with the risk of
compromising their own values out of unjustified feelings of inferiority or
economic interests. In fact, just as it is useful for tourists to obtain
documentation prior to their voyage, so it is also necessary for the local
community to present its cultural patrimony in an authentic way to tourists
through appropriate information and guides, and with ample possibilities for
taking active part in its own way of life.
An authentic dialogue will contribute, among other things, to conserving and
giving greater value to entire people’s artistic and cultural patrimony, also
through generous economic support.
10. In the varied world of tourism, some situations come about that take on a
particular value in themselves and reveal certain human values.
This is the case, for example, with “weekends”. They offer the
opportunity for brief trips, almost always in the nearby geographic area, and
considerably favor the development of domestic tourism. This is a readily
accessible and common experience that provides the possibility to discover
one’s own cultural and spiritual roots. The same takes place in trips
motivated by local celebrations that contribute in a special way to bringing
families together and strengthening inter-personal ties.
Forms of tourism are also spreading for groups of people of the same age. Just
think of tourism for youth which is carried out to a good extent in the
framework of educational activity. These voyages favor learning group
living and discovering other peoples’ cultures during particularly significant
moments in life. On other occasions the goal is to take part in sports
events, festivals or other mega-events. The displays of violence that sometimes
accompany these events ought to urge young people to exercise their sense of
responsibility with regard to respect and living together.
The elderly also have many occasions to engage in tourism thanks to the
socio-economic conditions that permit many appropriate activities after
retirement. Tourism offers them the opportunity to have the knowledge and
experiences which were not possible in other periods of life. For the
elderly, tourism, when properly configured, can become a means to rejuvenate
their awareness of their active role in society, to stimulate their creativity,
and expand their horizons in life.
Lastly, the tourism sector is actively involved in other initiatives that
attract millions of persons and highlight some specific aspects of tourism. Among
these the following deserve special mention: “theme amusement parks”,
festivals, sports events, national and universal expositions, and particular
celebrations such as, for instance, the choice of a place as the capital of
culture or as the venue of a world day. (top)
3. Tourism and Society
11. Because of the proportions it has now reached, tourist activity has become
one of the main sources of work, both through the direct or indirect employment
it promotes and through the related services. Many countries are geared
toward tourism precisely for this reason, even if an adequate view of the
related working conditions is often lacking. In order to safeguard the
dignity of the persons who work in tourism, in addition to respect for the
workers’ rights recognized by the international community, some specific
aspects should be taken into consideration that require particular measures.
First among these is the fact that work in tourism is seasonal. Tourist
activity in general has seasonal rhythms that are particularly intense on
certain occasions of the year. This results in a fluctuating work demand with
temporary and variable employment that places workers in an uncertain and
precarious situation. In addition to this, there is the intense work with
particular working hours, the temporary distance from one’s place of residence,
the resulting disturbance of family and social life, and disorientation with
regard to religious practice. In this situation, not only the adoption and
rigorous observation of the laws regulating working conditions and social
security conditions are needed; measures should also be adopted that guarantee
every worker the possibility to live with his family and to participate in
social and religious life.
A second important aspect has to do with formation. While it appears quite
obvious that the outcome of tourist activity presupposes a high level of
preparation of the promoters and operators, adequate formation should also be
required for all personnel. In both cases it should be kept in mind that
tourist activity requires specific preparation that does not only concern the
technical aspect of the work, but also the condition in which it is done: i.e.,
in the context of human relations. In tourism it is still more obvious that
“just as human activity proceeds from man, so it is ordered towards man”. All
tourist activity is at the service of persons; it is conceived of as offering
means so that people can fulfill the decisions they have set for themselves in
Similar principles should also apply for the activities connected with tourism,
such as small businesses, the means of transportation, tourist agencies and
related sectors where cases have been recorded of attempts to get fast and
excessive profits from tourism.
12. In the past decades, international tourism has represented a determining
factor for the development of many countries, and this will predictably continue
in the future. The influence of tourism extends not only to economic activity,
but also to the cultural, social and religious life of the whole society. This
influence has not always brought about positive results for the overall
development of the society. It
has highlighted some conditions that must be respected in order to safeguard the
rights of persons and the environmental equilibrium. These conditions
converge in proposals of a kind of tourism that adheres to the principles
of a “sustainable development”, about which some points should be emphasized.
The principle of co-responsibility is the fundamental condition required of
tourist activity, whose planning and management of profits is referred to the
tour operators, civil authorities and local communities. The exercise of
this principle must be appropriately regulated by the public authorities in the
framework of the international principles that guide cooperation among states
and the institutional tasks that promote the overall development of a country.
Tourist activity must be harmonized, as far as possible, with the economy of the
whole country with regard to infrastructures and services, in particular
communications and the use of resources. A grave injustice is done when
tourist centers are provided with services that the local community does not
normally have. This is more reprehensible when these services have to do
with means necessary for a dignified existence, such as the water supply or
The contribution that tourism is called to give to a country’s economic
development should encourage the use and growth of products that are the results
of traditional activities, such as agriculture, fishing and crafts. This
contribution also requires the transfer of knowledge through the training of
managerial staff and workers. The use of resources derived from local
production should be compatible with maintaining its traditional character
without obliging it to make a transformation due solely to unassimilated,
It is also important for the economic development of tourist activity to respect
the conditions and even the limits dictated by the surrounding environment. In
the most vulnerable areas, such as coasts, small islands, woods and protected
areas, tourism should not only impose a reasonable self-limitation on itself; it
should also take on a considerable part of the costs for their protection.
Respect for these rules is especially necessary in the developing countries. We
all know that in many cases tourist initiatives have caused grave damage not
only to social life, culture and environment, but even to the country’s
economy through the illusion of instantaneous development. The necessary
measures should be adopted to stop this process where it is under way, and to
keep it from happening in the future.
13. For a correct understanding of tourist structures today, we cannot fail to
mention the relation of tourism with the process of globalization of the economy. Tourism,
by nature, presents elements that were the origin of globalization and which are
now accelerating it. The opening of frontiers to persons and firms and
legislative and economic homogenization have always favored tourism. Tourism
could be presented as the attractive face of globalization because of its
openness to cultures and its ability to encourage dialogue and living together.
On the other hand, a certain kind of globalization implies grave consequences
for the countries and for humanity. The distance between rich and poor
countries has been accentuated; a new form of slavery and dependency for the
weaker countries has been created, and a supremacy of the economic order has
been established that threatens the dignity of the person.
In this framework, the worst effects that go along with tourist development in
many places have been aggravated: the exploitation of persons, especially women
and children, in the area of labor and for sexual purposes; the spread of
diseases that seriously endanger the health of large segments of the population;
the traffic and consumption of drugs; the physical destruction of cultural
identity and vital resources, etc. Certainly globalization cannot be blamed for
these wounds of humanity, nor can tourism be considered solely responsible, but
the fact cannot be ignored that both can favor them.
“Globalization, a priori, is neither good nor bad. It will be what
people make of it. No system is an end in itself and the fact should be
emphasized that globalization, like every other system, must be at the service
of the human person, solidarity and the common good”.
This observation also holds true for tourism which must always safeguard
the dignity of the person, both of the tourist and of the local community.
Tourism can truly take on the role of promoter of “globalization in solidarity”,
so desired by John Paul II,
by increasing initiatives against global and personal marginalization in the
area of the transfer of knowledge, the development of cultures, the conservation
of the patrimony, and the protection of the environment. (top)
4. Tourism and Theology
14. Before such a broad-ranging phenomenon that influences persons’ and entire
peoples’ behavior so profoundly, the Church has not hesitated to follow the
Lord’s command and seek adequate means to carry out the mission entrusted to
her of scrutinizing the signs of the times and proclaiming the Gospel. All
the dimensions of human life have in fact been transformed by God’s saving
action, and all men are called to accept the gift of salvation in the newness of
life in which the freedom and fraternity of the children of God stand out. The
time dedicated to tourism can in no way be excluded from this history of
unending love in which God visits man and lets him share in his glory. Moreover,
a careful perception of the values that can be manifested in tourism suggests
the possibility of understanding some central aspects of the history of
salvation more deeply.
In practicing tourism, Christians are invited to give special thanks for the
gift of creation in which the beauty of the Creator stands out, for the gift of
paschal freedom which gives them solidarity with all their brothers and sisters
in Christ the Lord, and for the gift of the feast, whereby the Holy Spirit leads
them to the definitive homeland they yearn for and the goal of their pilgrimage
in this world. This is a “eucharistic” dimension that should make
tourism a time of contemplation, encounter and joy shared in the Lord “in
praise of his glory” (Eph 1:14).
15. The history of salvation opens with the pages of Genesis. In the
beginning, the first act of God’s love and wisdom culminates in the creation
of man and woman in his “image and likeness” (Gen 1:26). The
image and likeness to that divine love, from the beginning of time, has been
manifested as a creative force. Man and woman receive the invitation to
human creativity, which must recognize their fellow men in love and make the
earth “fit to live in”. This image and likeness is also present in the
need for rest, which celebrates the love fashioned into the beauty of creation.
Creation is the first gift given to man so as to “cultivate and take care of
it” (Gen 2:15). In his mission, man must consider, first of all,
that “coming as it does from the hand of God, the cosmos bears the imprint of
his goodness. It is a beautiful world, rightly moving us to admiration and
delight, but also calling for cultivation and development”.
This mission also includes knowing and experiencing the multiplicity and variety
of creation (cf. Si 42:24), as well illustrated by the testimony of the
Biblical voyager: “A much traveled man knows many things, and a man of great
experience will talk sound sense. Someone who has never had his trials
knows little; but the traveled man is master of every situation. I have seen
many things on my travels, I have understood more than I can put into words. I
have often been in danger of death, but I have been spared” (Si
Creation was given to man as the source of his sustenance and a means for
developing a dignified life, in which all the members of the human family must
share. In the pages of the Bible, this fundamental meaning of the divine
command, “Fill the earth and conquer it” (Gen 1:28), is recalled in
various ways. It also has concerns with the rest on the sabbath, which is
extended to the whole of creation, through the institution of the sabbatical
year, one of whose objectives is precisely to stress that the goods entrusted to
man are at everyone’s disposal (cf. Lv 25:6; Is 58:13-14). For
this reason, selfishly hoarding goods or accumulating wealth to the detriment of
others and wasting what is superfluous are among the deepest roots of the
injustice that offends God.
Essentially, at no time can man forget that the whole of creation is the gift
that speaks to him constantly about the goodness of his God and Creator. In
the intimate experience of this gift, contemplation on the creation accompanies
man in his religious life (cf. Ps 104), inspires his prayers (cf. Ps
148), and encourages him in the hope of the promised salvation (cf. Rm 8:19-21;
2 Pt 3:13; Rev 21:1; Is 65:17). This is the meaning
that man must give to the time for rest that has become longer, thanks to the
wisdom and technology that God has allowed him to develop.
16. Human history is a time that is both liberated and yet to be liberated. The
presence of sin in the world, the refusal to give a loving response to the
dialogue begun by God, has mortally wounded the human creativity that is
developed in work and in free time. After breaking the communion with God,
with others and with nature itself, man sees his own selfishness as an absolute
power and falls into a kind of slavery that keeps him from dedicating his time
to God, to others and to beauty.
Nonetheless, God does not cease to offer his covenant to men. In seeing the
suffering of his people, it is God himself who “comes down” to liberate them
(Ex 3:7-10) and lead them to a homeland where the fruitfulness of the
land will be the symbolic setting of a life of justice and holiness. The
code of conduct of the chosen people is based entirely on this command: “Be
holy, for I, Yahweh, your God, am holy” (Lv 19:2). The sabbath,
the day of rest, is instituted as a celebration of the freedom received and as a
remembrance of solidarity (cf. Dt 5:12-15).
Through this history, humanity is led toward the final times because only the
one who “emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave” (Phil
2:7), the Risen Christ, can grant man full freedom. In him, “the new
humanity” (cf. Eph 2:15), man is created anew in freedom and love
because in “obedience of faith” (Rm 1:5), he will be holy in all his
conduct (cf. 1 Pt 1:16).
This is a gift that everyone receives and which “also serves others and builds
the Church and the fraternal communities in the various spheres of human life on
earth because Christ teaches us that the best use of freedom is charity, which
takes concrete form in self-giving and in service”. 
is what gives a transforming power to Christians’ action in family and social
life, in work, rest and free time. In free time, in fact, self-giving takes
on the meaning of greater gratuity because it enables offering more of one’s
“The Resurrection has, and confers the freedom that animates free time as its
most intimate principle”, and this, in turn, “should make it possible for
man…to achieve authentic humanism…that of the ‘paschal man’”. For
Christians, therefore, tourism fully enters into the paschal dynamism of renewal;
it is a celebration of the gift received; it is a voyage of encounter toward
other persons with whom to celebrate the joy of salvation; it is a time to be
shared in action with solidarity that brings us closer to the restoration of all
things in Christ (Cf. Acts 3:21).
17. In proclaiming the Lord’s resurrection, Christians profess the certainty
that their path and their whole history are guided by the Father’s love for
“a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1). Moreover, as they
walk through the world, Christians live the feast promised especially in the
Sunday celebration, in which “to share in ‘the Lord’s Supper’ is to
anticipate the eschatological feast of the ‘marriage of the Lamb’” . Illuminated
by the certainty of this hope, “Sunday rest then becomes ‘prophetic’,
affirming not only the absolute primacy of God, but also the primacy and dignity
of the person with respect to the demands of social and economic life”.
The time for rest and free time offer the opportunity to know and appreciate
everything that has been anticipated in the past and present history of peoples,
“the glory, as yet unrevealed” (Rm 8:18), and in the whole of
humanity welcomed by the Father. In a special way, those achievements, in
which the spiritual search, religious faith, the understanding of things and
love for beauty are fashioned, are contemplated as “the glory and honor of the
nations” (Rev 21:26), brought to the new Jerusalem (cf. Is
60:3-7; Ml 1:11). This contemplation, in turn, reaffirms the
commitment with regard to the dignity of the person, respect for the culture of
peoples, and to safeguarding the integrity of creation. (top)
18. The world of tourism constitutes a widespread and multiform reality that
requires specific pastoral attention. The main purpose of the pastoral care
of tourism is to encourage the optimal conditions that will aid Christians in
living the reality of tourism as a moment of grace and salvation. Tourism
can certainly be considered one of the new Areopaguses of evangelization, one of
the “vast sectors of contemporary civilization and culture, of politics and
economics”, where Christians
are called to live their faith and their missionary vocation.
This overall objective indicates that the pastoral care of tourism must be
included in the whole range of the Church’s pastoral tasks. Therefore the
pastoral care of tourism must be organically included in the ordinary pastoral
care and coordinated with the other sectors, such as the family, school, youth,
social promotion, stewardship of cultural goods, ecumenism.
The local Christian community, which has its most direct expression in the
parish, is the place where the pastoral care of tourism develops. In the
local community, in fact, tourists are offered the Christian welcome that
accompanies them in their lives as believers, and welcome is given to every
visitor with no distinctions. In the local community, Christians are educated
for travel and trained to work in tourism. The community’s efforts
prepare for making bonds of cooperation to promote the human and spiritual
values that tourism can favor. Each of these important aspects requires a
differentiated and participative attention whose urgency can vary according to
the local circumstances and the local community’s possibilities. (top)
19. ”Remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have
entertained angels” (Heb 13:2). These
words indicate very well the crux of the pastoral care of tourism and identify
it with one of the fundamental attitudes that must characterize the whole
Christian community. Welcoming
tourists and accompanying them in their search for beauty and rest should be
motivated by the conviction that man “is the primary and fundamental way for
the Church, the way traced out by Christ himself, the way that leads inwardly
through the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption”.
In the Eucharistic celebration, the fulcrum of every ecclesial community, the
welcome offered to visitors has its deepest expression. In this celebration
the community lives its union with the Risen Christ, builds its unity with its
brethren, and offers the
most explicit witness that communion goes well beyond the ties of blood and
culture. The universality of the Church assembled by the Savior echoes most
strongly in this meeting of brethren coming from such different places, who are
united in one prayer proclaimed in different languages.
For the Eucharistic celebration, particularly the Sunday celebration, to make
these characteristics really visible, everyone, both tourists and residents,
will have to be able to take part in it. Naturally, it is essential to
preserve the celebration’s own character, which comes not only from its own
nature but also from the identity of the local Church that celebrates it. In
this sense, it is good to introduce the use of the tourists’ languages into
the celebration without impeding the participation of the local community or
altering the rhythm of the celebration. In addition to intervening through
comments or readings, it will be useful to distribute printed aids or plan a
moment of preparation before the celebration begins in order to allow the
tourists to take full part in it.
The celebration of the Eucharist is the most common moment for an encounter
between the local community and the tourists, but it should not be the only one. All
the other occasions when the local community meets for the celebration of faith,
particularly during the principal times of the liturgical year, are an
opportunity to invite tourists and to offer fraternal aid for their life of
faith. The local community should also plan meetings and prepare means of
information to encourage and support tourists to profit from this particular
It should not be forgotten that the Eucharistic celebration gives the basis of
the community’s life in charity and solidarity. Tourists cannot be
excluded from this essential aspect of the life of faith. They must be
truly interested in the problems of the host community which, in turn, must let
them know their real situation and offer them concrete occasions to demonstrate
Special attention should be given to the welcome for visitors who are members of
other Christian denominations and special care should be shown in responding to
their needs for the celebration of faith. The tourist phenomenon is often
the main reason for the ecumenical effort, and it appears to be the most
immediate means for making Christians discover the pain of separation and for
understanding the urgent need to pray and work for unity. This situation
should be welcomed as a gift of the Spirit to his Church, to which a totally
dedicated and generous response must be given.
20. Whether Christians are part of a host community or themselves tourists, they
are called upon to give witness in tourism to their faith and to re-discover an
opportunity for the missionary vocation which is the basis of their rights and
duties as Christians.
Especially in places where there are great numbers of tourists, the Christian
community must be aware of being “missionary by nature”,
and proclaim the Gospel with courage, generosity and respect, denouncing
injustices and offering paths of hope, even if the tourists’ stay is
relatively brief and their attention is conditioned by various circumstances.
In this context, all the elements that make up the religious, cultural and
artistic patrimony of the local community take on special importance. The
monuments, works of art, the cultural events or those inherent in its tradition
must be presented to visitors in a way that makes their connection with the
community’s daily life. In this way the community will deepen its own
identification with its past and feel encouraged in its desire to go forward
toward the future in fidelity to the Lord.
21. Another particularly circumstance in which hospitality for visitors should
be planned very carefully is in places with a specifically religious
significance that are included among the destinations proposed to tourists today.
Outstanding among these are shrines, the destination of Christian pilgrimages, where
many tourists also go both for cultural reasons, for rest or for their religious
appeal. In an increasingly secularized world dominated by a sense of immediacy
and materialism, these visits can be the sign of a desire to return to God. Shrines,
therefore, should offer suitable a welcome to these visitors, which will help
them to recognize the meaning of their way and understand the goal to which they
are called. Because of
the means used, this welcome will certainly be different from that reserved for
those who go to the shrine on a pilgrimage. However, after assuring due
respect for the identity of the place, all forms of exclusion or marginalization
with regard to the visitors must be avoided. The best service that can be
offered in order to lead them to reflect on their own religious sentiments will
be the explanation of the religious nature of the place and the meaning of the
pilgrimage that is made there.
On other occasions, a religious place is visited because of its outstanding
artistic or historic value, as in the case of cathedrals, churches, monasteries
and abbeys. The hospitality offered in these places should not be limited
to historic or artistic information however accurate; it should also highlight
their religious identity and purpose. It may also be useful to mention that
for many tourists such visits often constitute a unique occasion to know about
the Christian faith. At the same time, efforts should be made to avoid
disturbing the religious celebrations in course by planning the tourists’
visits according to the needs of worship.
The persons in charge of local pastoral care should encourage welcome and
provide training to receive the visitors. For this purpose, they should
encourage the faithful’s cooperation and give those who are interested not
only technical, but also spiritual training that will help them to discover a
means to live and give witness to their faith in this service.
The duty of hospitality also requires particular organization on the occasion of
other religious events that attract a great number of tourists because of their
traditional or popular character. Pastoral attention is called to directing
the religiosity that animates these visitors toward a more authentic personal
faith in the living God. The same attention should be given, as far as
possible, to the promotion that tourist agencies give to these events. Therefore
it will be necessary to seek the travel agents’ cooperation and provide them
with clear and accurate information about the religious significance of these
In many countries, especially in Asia, visitors show real interest in the major
religious traditions. The local Churches should contribute toward making
this encounter truly fruitful by involving tourists in the “dialogue of life
and heart” that they are
called to promote.
It is good to remind Christians who visit the places venerated by the faithful
of other religions to behave with the greatest respect and to assume an attitude
that will not offend the religious sensitivity of the persons who receive them. They
should take advantage of these occasions, when possible, to show their respect
through word and deed so that “the spiritual and moral goods and the
socio-cultural values found in these religions will recognized, preserved and
2. Living Tourism in a Christian Way
22. The encounter with Christ, sealed by baptismal grace, calls Christians to
follow the impulse of the Holy Spirit and to transform their lives so that
“Christ may walk with each person the path of life, with the power of the
truth about man and the world that is contained in the mystery of the
Incarnation and the Redemption and with the power of the love that is radiated
by that truth”. This
is the reality that constitutes the mission of the Church and reveals how the
heart of her pastoral action also lies in the reality of tourism.
First, everyone should recognize that the effort to live one’s free time as a
Christian must necessarily be sustained by a deep Christian vision of tourism. Careful
meditation on Scripture first will prepare Christians for contemplation of God
through the beauty of creation, communion with their brethren in the new saved
humanity, and, lastly, for the feast as a manifestation of the hope that
sustains everyone and renews everything. Illuminated by this grace,
Christians will discover that the time dedicated to rest and tourism is a time
of grace, a demanding occasion that calls them to prayer, celebration of their
faith and communion with their brethren.
For tourism to effectively take on a Christian form, Christians must share the
celebration of the faith with the local community, in particular the Eucharist
on the Lord’s Day and the most significant moments of the liturgical year
which often coincide with the vacation period. 
that they should never feel like strangers in any community and that in every
corner of the world they ought to feel at home and in a family, Christian will
make personal efforts to aid the participation of other tourists in the
liturgical celebrations. If necessary, they will assert their right to have
the necessary conditions to practice their faith to the attention of the persons
in charge of tourism.
At all times, Christian must abstain not only from any behavior contrary to
their vocation, but also from words, gestures and attitudes that can offend the
sensitivity of others. In particular, they will avoid a kind of behavior
that involves ostentations displays of wealth or squandering of resources. On
the contrary, tourists’ Christian witness should be made concrete in aid to
the neediest by giving them part of the money they planned for the voyage.
This kind of attitude in life, sustained by prayer, should be adopted especially
when the local circumstances make tourists’ participation more difficult in
the religious moments of the community, as for instance in countries with a
Christian minority. In such cases, Christian should feel challenged in a
special way to live their faith through the witness of their behavior and to try
to set up a prudent and respectful religious dialogue with the persons they meet.
23. Most of the time, a voyage is undertaken with one’s family members. We
are aware that in contemporary society many circumstances make family life,
communication, cohabitation and exchanges among family members difficult. Even
the use of free time, which is predominantly geared to individual preferences,
cannot correct this situation. From this viewpoint, family tourism can be
proposed as an effective means for strengthening and even rebuilding family
bonds. The program for a trip together, whose success requires everyone’s
responsible participation, increases the possibilities for dialogue, improves
mutual understanding and appreciation, reinforces each member of the family’s
esteem, and encourages generosity in mutual aid.
Family tourism offers parents a valuable occasion to carry out their role as
their children’s catechists through dialogue and example. Family tourism
is an exceptional opportunity for personal enrichment in the culture of life, in
respect for the moral and cultural values, and in safeguarding the creation. It
cannot be forgotten that the dimension of freedom, which is particularly present
in tourism, encourages and trains in responsibility.
24.The practice of tourism also brings together groups of persons by age and
because of other circumstances of working and social life. The Church’s
pastoral attention takes these groups into consideration and offers her aid so
that the promoters of tourism and the tourists themselves can live these
specific circumstances in all their human and spiritual richness.
Among these groups, in first place are the voyages by groups of adolescents and
youth, usually in the framework of their scholastic formation. The
organizers of these trips, especially those who are part of the Christian
educational sector or similar formative organizations, should strive to offer
the conditions necessary for making these travel experiences an occasion for
young persons to deepen their faith. Similarly, it will be useful to
welcome the initiatives of volunteers who dedicate part of their vacation to aid
in emergency situations or to the promotion of development. Particular
pastoral attention should also be given, both in the countries of origin and in
the host countries, to young people who take advantage of their vacations to
stay in foreign countries in order to learn languages.
On the other hand, there are more and more travel opportunities offered to the
elderly. They should be “voyages of joy” characterized by an unceasing
thanksgiving and by a “sense of confident abandonment into God’s hands”,
so that “the taste for life, a fundamental gift of God, is conserved and will
However, access to tourism is not within everyone’s reach. There are, in
fact, too many people who cannot take advantage of its benefits from the
personal or the cultural and social aspect. Under the name of “social
tourism”, many associations are working to make tourism accessible to all,
both through initiatives that aid persons and families with financing, and by
planning and developing certain tourist activities. The Church’s pastoral
attention should aim at assessing and supporting these initiatives that really
put tourism at the service of personal realization and social development. Associations
are also not lacking which, through tourism, offer very effective opportunities
for insertion for persons in lonely or marginalized situations. Through her
participation, the Church gives witness to God’s particular predilection for
25. As emphasized earlier, tourism represents a very important chapter in the
world economy and constitutes a network of activities that are developed today
in the area of market economy structures
immersed in a process of globalization. One fundamental objective of the
pastoral care of tourism therefore will be to see to it that the entire area of
management and labor in the tourist sector will be included and illuminated by
the Church’s social doctrine.
In tourism, the fundamental truth that should guide all economic activity seems
obvious which John Paul II has summarized in these words: “More than ever,
work is work with others and work for others: it is a matter of doing something
for someone else”. The
whole of tourist activity, in fact, has the person as its protagonist, and it
tries to satisfy some of the person’s most intimate and personal aspirations. This
special bond with the person imposes greater ethical requirements on tourist
activity which are expressed in respect for human dignity and rights, in
implementation of the principal of solidarity, in justice in working relations,
and in the preferential choice for the poor.
For this reason, the pastoral care of tourism should promote initiatives so that
the Christian operators and workers in the tourist sector will know the
Church’s social doctrine, with particular reference to the sector, and conform
their behavior to it.
26. With regard to the entrepreneurs and promoters of tourism, it will be useful
to stress some aspects of the Church’s social doctrine which are particularly
significant for their activity.
In the promotion of tourism, especially in creating new destinations or opening
up new spaces for tourist activity, investments should be considered a “moral
and cultural choice”. This
means that it is necessary to be guided by those criteria that consider economic
activity a service to persons and to the community, and not just as a source of
The ecological question, which is related to tourism in a very sensitive way, is
an aspect to be taken into due consideration in the promotion of tourist
activity. To respond to the “moral problem”
that the ecological crisis represents for today’s world, it is necessary to
promote initiatives to respect the environmental impact and to safeguard the
priorities of the local community, even at the cost of limiting tourist activity
if necessary. All efforts aimed at making Christians responsible for an
austere lifestyle with solidarity in their voyages to the developing countries
will be in vain if tour operators and promoters are not guided by an appropriate
The moral and Christian criteria that must inspire the promotion of tourism will
be effectively applied if there is the necessary cooperation between the
operators, the political leaders and the representatives of the local community. For
Christian tour operators, this cooperation constitutes an occasion for giving
witness, for communion and proclamation of the Kingdom of God in justice and
27. The tour programs that are offered and the presentation of destinations or
advertising about activities for the vacation period constitute the most visible
and inviting aspect of the world of tourism through which people see their
desires and dreams take on color and appeal. In these circumstances, it is
obvious that objective information is required from the promoters, absolute
respect for the dignity of persons and the characteristics of the places to
which the information refers, honesty with regard to the tour offerings, and
absolute reliability in the services proposed. If tourism is an expression
of the person’s freedom, any information that promotes it should favor the
exercise of responsible freedom. This
responsibility extends to the entire voyage and includes the willingness to
receive the users’ fair observations and useful suggestions afterwards.
The service that promoters offer to tourists obviously coincides with the
Christian virtue of charity which is exercised in giving appropriate advice and
in sharing the difficulties and joys of the way. Christian promoters should
thus be distinguished for the uprightness and respect with which they present
the places with a religious significance. They should also take care to include
and mention in their programs the attention to be given to the eventual needs of
The pastoral care of tourism will propose initiatives geared to giving Christian
promoters the occasion to reflect on the criteria of their action. Moreover,
it will be very important for them to receive, through the cooperation of other
persons, information that is suited to their needs about the places or religious
events that usually appear as tourist destinations. This action should also
be undertaken in cooperation with the competent bodies of other countries so
that the proposed objectives will also be achieved in the organization of
international tourism. In order to achieve these intentions, the presence
of the pastoral care of tourism bodies at the many fairs in this sector will be
28. Tourists are often accompanied by guides who help them to achieve the
purposes of their voyage. Very often, for tourists, guides become the most
immediate fashioners of the success or failure of their vacation. Truly we
will never sufficiently appreciate the influence that guides have on tourists
and, consequently, their responsibility to have adequate training for the
exercise of their profession.
For this reason, associations and meetings should be promoted, in which
Christians who work as guides can up-date their human and spiritual formation
and support one another in a task that requires respect, dedication and
attention to the spiritual good of the tourists. They should keep in mind
that their particular relation with the tourists requires their witness to the
faith in a special way.
When guides present places, monuments or events of a religious nature to
tourists, they should do so in an informed and competent way and with complete
awareness that they are in some way real evangelizers, while always using
prudence and respect.
The pastoral initiatives that refer to guides can also be extended to the
category of “animators”, which is growing numerically, and who are always
present in the tourists’ day. To a large extent, the key is in their
hands for transforming free time into a significant space, sound entertainment,
and human and spiritual growth.
29. Those who promote tourism and those who work in it have a specific role in
welcoming visitors; indeed, they, in some way, are the first protagonists. Through
their work they are in direct contact with the visitors, and they are the first
to know about their expectations and eventual disappointments; they often become
their confidants and can act as advisers and guides.
Christians who exercise their profession in tourism discover that they have a
great responsibility in this situation. The success of the visitor’s
stay, both humanly and spiritually, depends on their professional honesty and
In order to respond to this challenge, Christian tourism professionals should be
able to rely on the decisive support of the community and the pastoral workers. It
is essential to offer them specific preparation during the formation period,
both in professional schools and through other complementary initiatives. In
planning celebrations and catechesis, their working hours should also be taken
The pastoral care of tourism should be particularly sensitive to the particular
situation of the workers in this sector. Religious and sacramental
attention suited to their working conditions will be necessary, without
upsetting the timetables and rhythms of the community’s life. This
adaptation should also be taken into account in promoting the workers’
participation in parish life, apostolic movements, or the formation of specific
groups or specialized movements. Such formation is a tool of pastoral
action that should be encouraged with every possible resources both within the
area of work and outside of it.
There are some situations which should be given special attention, such as the
grave conditions in which workers often find themselves with regard to their
family life. The working conditions mentioned earlier can affect the normal life
of the family, of the husband and wife, or of the parents with the children both
because of working hours and because the worker is obliged to live far from the
During the formation period and at the beginning of their working life, young
people constitute another group which should be provided with a specific
service. These youth are living a decisive moment in their personal life,
and it will be very useful for them to be able to count on the Church’s
support. In this regard, the parish, groups and centers have an essential
role where young people can meet for formation meetings, reflection and the
celebration of their faith.
The condition of women working in the tourist sector constitutes another
priority which the pastoral care of tourism must keep in mind. All the
initiatives that lead to greater respect for women’s dignity and for their
specific place in the family and society should be intensified and supported. (top)
3. Cooperation between the Church and Society
30. In her mission in the world, the Church, on the one hand, “offers to
mankind the honest assistance of the Church in fostering that brotherhood of
man”, which facilitates
attaining the goals in consonance with human dignity; on the other, “she is
convinced that she can be abundantly and variously helped by the world in the
matter of preparing the ground for the Gospel. This help she gains from the
talents and industry of individuals and from human society as a whole”.
This reciprocal service of the Church and society is carried out first of all
through the specific mission of the laity. For this, the pastoral care of
tourism must set up and encourage cooperation with the public administrations
and with the professional organizations and associations working in tourism so
that the Christian vision of tourism can be spread and develop “the implicit
possibility of a new humanism”
Guided by this principle, the Holy See opened the Permanent Observer Mission to
the World Tourism Organization. Since 1980, this Organization has been
convening the World Day of Tourism on September 27th of each year,
and in 1999 it adopted the World Ethical Code of Tourism. On her part, the
Church joins in the celebration of the Day and gives it a spiritual significance
through the Pope’s yearly message. In this way it also shares the
inspiring principles of the Code.
Similarly, Bishops’ Conferences and the individual Bishops should try to keep
up an on-going dialogue with public administrations, both national and local,
with tourist promotion bodies, and with associations of tour operators and
workers so that the Church’s cooperation in building up a more just and more
peaceful world with solidarity will be expressed in concrete actions.
Close collaboration should also be sought on every level with the associations
that fight against situations that offend human dignity and in which tourism has
its own responsibilities, such as “sex tourism”, drug addiction, destruction
of the environment, the erosion of cultural identity, and plundering the
patrimony. In particular, Christians have the duty to denounce these grave
situations and to do what they can to eliminate them. (top)
31. The evangelizing mission is a task that falls upon the Church in fidelity to
the command received from the Lord. All the members of the Church are
called to take part in this fundamental task in a diversity that makes worthier
the true equality of all in “action for the edification of the Body of
Christ”. To carry out
her evangelizing mission, the Church seeks ever more suitable means and is
willing to renew them according to the needs of the times, giving
special attention to respecting and adopting “with courage and prudence”
the aspects and the “language” of every single people.
The development of tourism and its important growth for the countries, have
merited the Church’s pastoral attention, and she has followed this from its
first steps, animated by her experience in accompanying the path of so many
pilgrims for centuries. Aware
that the new dimensions of the phenomenon of tourism call for “concerted
efforts on the part of the different members of the Christian communities”,
the Church has proposed some criteria for coordinating the work in the different
areas of action. The following guidelines, in continuity with the previous
interventions, intend to encourage the joint efforts of those who feel called to
work more directly in the world of tourism. (top)
The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant
32. With the Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Apostolicae caritatis of March
19, 1970, Pope Paul VI instituted the “Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral
Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples” which depended on the Congregation for
Bishops. Through that document, the institution that was created took on a
very important role in present-day society with regard to the enormous increase
in movements made possible by technological progress. With regard to
tourism in particular, the same document points out that this involves “an
enormous mass of persons and, in the social area, constitutes a new feature with
With the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus (June 28, 1988), the
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples was
created which substituted the Commission and took on its competencies. With
reference to tourism, Pastor bonus states that the Pontifical Council
“makes efforts so that the voyages undertaken for reason of piety, study or
diversion will favor the moral and religious formation of the faithful, and it
aids the local Churches so that all those who are outside of their own residence
can have adequate pastoral assistance”.
In carrying out the mission entrusted to it, the Pontifical Council has the
following main objectives:
1. to promote and coordinate an on-going analysis of the
development of tourism, in particular its influence on the spiritual and
religious life of persons and communities;
2. to propose pastoral guidelines that can be adopted
jointly or by groups of countries;
3. to keep permanent contact with the Bishops’
Conferences in order to coordinate and support the pastoral initiatives in the
4. to cooperate with the centers of higher ecclesiastic
studies and research institutes that include the study of tourism in their
5. to plan the annual celebration of the World Day of
Tourism and to prepare and distribute catechetical material on the theme of the
6. to keep regular contact with the Permanent Observer of
the Holy See to the World Tourism Organization.
2. Bishops’ Conferences
33. The Bishops’ Conferences are an organism constituted “so that by sharing
their wisdom and experience and exchanging views they may jointly formulate a
program for the common good of the Church”.
The Apostolic Letter Apostolos suos specifies: “In dealing with new
questions and in acting so that the message of Christ enlightens and guides
people's consciences in resolving new problems arising from changes in society,
the Bishops assembled in the Episcopal Conference and jointly exercising their
teaching office are well aware of the limits of their pronouncements. While
being official and authentic and in communion with the Apostolic See, these
pronouncements do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium”. In
the activity of the Bishops’ Conference, a preferential place goes to pastoral
attention to those themes that bring about innovative changes in society and the
proposal of “forms and means of apostolate suited to the circumstances of time
Tourism is certainly one of those themes that requires attention on the part of
the Bishops’ Conferences. It in fact is an area that is still new for
society and in particular for the communities whose territory and cultural
patrimony are becoming the destination of international tourism. The
newness of tourism, on the other hand, lies in its constant evolution which is
creating new lifestyles and new habits.
We will mention some concrete initiatives that can be adopted by the Bishops’
Conferences in the area of tourism:
1. To provide all the bishops with an up-to-date picture
of the tendencies in the tourist movement in the country, its means, social
influences on the people and on the working world, and the religious needs of
the tourists. This information should refer both to domestic and
international tourism. When the size of tourism’s development in a
country so requires, it will be useful to entrust this task of study and
analysis to a permanent observatory at a Catholic university or an
ecclesiastical institute in the country.
2. To create a training program geared especially to the
workers in the pastoral care of tourism, which can be adopted by the different
seminaries and formation institutes so that all the dioceses can have duly
prepared priests and pastoral workers.
3. To offer a set of guidelines to the ordinary pastoral
care so that all the faithful will have a suitable catechesis on free time and
4. To make contacts with other Bishops’ Conferences,
when circumstances so require, in order to open channels of cooperation between
countries of departure and countries of arrival for the exchange of pastoral
workers and for information and liturgical material in the different languages.
5. To promote formation programs for tour guides,
especially those who accompany the visits to places of a religious nature and
also for students in schools and centers for tourist and hotel training.
6. To include tourism among the subjects taken up by the
“Catholic Cultural Centers”.
7. To envisage possible forms of cooperation between the
dioceses so that religious assistance can be organized better in the places
where there are great seasonal gatherings of tourists.
8. To set up contacts with representatives of the other
Christian denominations in view of ecumenical cooperation in the major tourist
9. To maintain a dialogue with the public authorities and
interested bodies in order to establish forms of cooperation for programming and
supervising initiatives of tourist activity, with particular attention to the
defense of the cultural identity of the local communities, the rights of those
employed in the sector, the correct use of the artistic-religious patrimony, and
the respect with which visitors must be received.
10. To promote the Church’s presence at the “Fairs” of this sector.
To coordinate all these activities, it is useful to create a body within the
Bishops’ Conference, with a
group of experts representing the different sectors of tourism. (top)
34. As an activity carried out by people during their free time, as a work
sector in which many exercise their profession, and as a whole series of
activities that characterize a place as a tourist destination, tourism is
present in a great part of contemporary society. Integrated in this way
into the daily life of communities, tourism is a dimension that diocesan
pastoral care must consider as its ordinary component and, as such, be found
among the sectors that are the object of the regular attention of the local
Ordinary and his consultative Councils.
Among the objectives of the pastoral care of tourism on the diocesan level, the
following should not be absent:
1. To offer a Christian vision of tourism that will lead
the faithful to live this reality with a commitment to faith and witness and
with a missionary attitude. This objective should be kept in mind in
preaching, catechesis and in the use of the communications media. Similarly,
efforts should be made so that suitable formation will be offered in schools for
appreciating the values of tourism in harmony with the dignity and development
of individual persons and of entire peoples.
2. To train pastoral workers who can promote in a
specific way the pastoral work in this sector. When the needs of the
diocese so require, some priests and lay persons should be offered the
opportunity to have greater specific formation.
3. To study the reality of tourism in the diocese,
formulating the pastoral criteria and proposing the actions to be undertaken in
the Presbyterial and Pastoral Councils. Religious
attention for tourists, integrated into the diocesan program of pastoral
activity, should be carried out in ways suited to their language and culture,
without making this a separate reality or creating difficulties for the local
4. To adopt measures in the periods of greater tourist
density in order to optimize the service of the most visited parishes and to
foresee, if necessary, bringing in priests from other parishes and the
cooperation of priests from other dioceses or other countries.
5. To express words of welcome to tourists from the
diocesan Church through a letter from the Bishop, especially at the beginning of
the most intense tourist periods and through aids that will facilitate
information and participation in the celebrations and life of the local Church.
6. To promote the formation of groups and associations
and the collaboration of volunteers in managing the Church’s patrimony that is
open to visitors and in giving hospitality to tourists in such a way that the
opening hours are long enough.
7. To build parish and community centers more suitable to
the pastoral care of tourism, taking the new urban and social realities into
8. To keep contact with the leaders of other Christian
denominations in order to adopt measures that will contribute to a better
religious service for their faithful, according to the criteria and norms set
down by the Holy See and the Bishops’ Conferences.
9. To encourage cooperation with the local public and
administrative authorities, with associations of operators and workers, and with
the other organizations involved in tourism.
10. To create a diocesan Commission for the pastoral care of tourism that
will coordinate and animate the pastoral care of this sector and of which
experts from the different categories of persons in the world of tourism are
35. The parish ”gathers into a unity all the human diversities that are found
there and inserts them into the universality of the Church”.
It is the first school of hospitality, especially when it comes together to
celebrate the Lord’s Day.
The parish is open to welcoming those who are passing through, and it prepares
its own faithful for the voyages they intend to make. In the parish those
who propose to live sincere witness to their faith in the world of tourism find
Considering the parish community as a point of encounter and support for
pastoral action implies first of all that the parish will be present through its
structures in the places where tourism takes place. The visible sign of
the Church and parish centers constitutes the first concrete gesture of
hospitality. Through this presence, the parish invites all visitors to take
part in the celebration of faith and fraternal communion.
However, in planning the pastoral care of tourism, the parish community should
not only be involved in welcoming visitors; it should also prepare its own
faithful to practice tourism in a Christian way and support those who act and
work in tourism.
In adopting the objectives proposed by the diocesan Church, some of the concrete
initiatives to be undertaken by the parish include the following:
1. To develop a catechesis on free time and tourism when
the local situations call for this, both for the Christian residents and for the
2. To encourage and promote action to support and prevent
groups who may be victims of an erroneous promotion of tourism or of tourists’
3. To promote, welcome and encourage the action of
apostolic groups dedicated particularly to persons living and working in the
tourism sector, even when these are not found within the parish itself.
4. To form a permanent group of lay persons to study and
propose pastoral actions to be undertaken in the field of tourism.
5. To adapt the services to the tourists’ needs in
places where there are many tourists so as to facilitate personal contact, the
celebration of faith, individual prayer, and the witness to charity.
6. To create specific services for workers in tourism,
according to their working hours and conditions.
7. To propose appropriate measures so that visitors will
be able to take part in the Eucharistic celebrations in their own language or
with other expressions of their culture, always in respect for the liturgical
dispositions in force.
8. To keep the information up-to-date regarding the
parish services and to see to it that tourists can find this information in
their hotels, at information points or through other means of distribution. (top)
36. Tourism is the ideal occasion for man to realize that he is a pilgrim in
time and space: ”Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the
consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of
God’s love: ‘To re-establish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens
and those on earth’ (Eph 11:10)”. The
Church follows the exemplary itinerary of her Master and Lord,
and teaches people to discover their true vocation. In all men’s hearts,
in fact, the deep restlessness of the condition of Homo viator is
manifested; the thirst for new horizons is felt; the radical certainty is
experienced that the goal of existence can only be attained in the infiniteness
Man’s search becomes obvious and explicit in tourism. To satisfy his
desire to know other persons and cultures, to develop his own personal skills
and to have new experiences, man will not renounce dedicating a part of his free
time to tourism. This search expressed in tourism is made not only when
people undertake great voyages or dangerous adventures; it is also particularly
obvious in the efforts by individuals and families to have one or more days of
rest together, in the inconveniences of a trip to visit relatives or friends,
and in the collaboration that a group excursion requires.
After encountering God in favorable psychological conditions, in the beauty of
nature and art, tourists will feel the need to say with Saint Augustine: “You
have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts will not rest until they rest in
you”. And also,
“Late have I loved you, o beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
And here you were inside of me and I was outside: and here I sought you…I have
tasted You and now I hunger and thirst for you”.
After opening up to a universal fraternity, a sharing in a “dialogue between
the civilizations and cultures to build a civilization of love and peace”, tourists
will join in the Psalmist’s hymn: “How good, how delightful it is for all to
live together like brothers” (Ps 133:1).
With Mary, the Mother of God and image of the Church,
all tourists, awed by the beauty contemplated in creation (cf. Wis 13:3),
will praise the Lord (cf. Lk 1:46), and tell of the wondrous deeds he has
accomplished (cf. Sir 42:15-43,33), thereby bringing a message of hope to
their brothers and sisters in humanity. (top)
Vatican City, June 29, 2001, Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
STEPHEN FUMIO HAMAO
CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY, General Directory for the Pastoral Care of
Tourism (April 30, 1969).
JOHN PAUL II, Message for the World Day of Tourism 2000, 5.
Statistics are supplied by the World Tourism Organization (WTO), January 30,
Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Laborem exercens(September 14, 1981),
JOHN PAUL II in his Apostolic Letter Inter sanctos(November 29, 1979)declared
St. Francis of Assisi the “celestial patron of ecologists”.
ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI, Canticle of the Creatures.
Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Laborem exercens (September 14, 1981),
SECOND ECUMENICAL VATICAN COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes,
35; cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Laborem exercens (September 14,
With regard to the development achieved in the period that has been mentioned
(1960-1980), JOHN PAUL II writes: “It cannot be said that these various
religious, human, economic and technical initiatives have been in vain, for they
have succeeded in achieving certain results. But in general, taking into
account the various factors, one cannot deny that the present situation of the
world, from the point of view of development, offers a rather negative
impression” (Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo rei socialis [December 30, 1987],
Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia (November 6,
JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
(April 28, 2001), 2.
JOHN PAUL II, Message for the World Day of Peace 1998, 3.
JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (May 31,1998), 10.
JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptor hominis (March 4, 1979), 21.
JOHN PAUL II, Homily in the Funchal Stadium, Island of Madeira, Portugal
(May 12, 1991), 6.
JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (May 31, 1998), 38.
JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente (November 10,
The early Christians considered hospitality a fundamental duty and one of the
most authentic expressions of charity. It was considered an important human
and Christian virtue, a manifestation of community life, a inviolate right of
the stranger, a way to reach God, a gift that comes from heaven, a possibility
to do good and thus to expiate one’s sins (cf. ST. GREGORY NAZIANZEN, Orat.
8,12: SCh 405,270; ST. AMBROSE, De Abrah. I,5,32-30: PL 14,
456-459; ST. MAXIMUS OF TURIN, Serm. 21, 1-2: CCL 23, 79-81; ST.
GREGORY THE GREAT, Hom.In Evang.II,23,2: PL 76, 1183).
Let us remember the praise of CLEMENT OF ROME: “Who in fact could stay with
you and not recognize your firm faith adorned with every virtue, not admire your
wise and lovable piety in Christ, and not exalt your generous practice of
hospitality?” (Ep. Ad Corint. 1,2: SCh 167,101).
JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptor hominis (March 4, 1979), 14.
The Eucharist is in fact a “sign of unity” and a “bond of charity” (ST.
AUGUSTINE, In Ioan. Tract. 26:13: PL 35,1613); cf. also SECOND
VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium 3,11).
In this context, it should be mentioned that the Institutio Generalis
Missalis Romani (April 20, 2000) also lists, among those who exercise the
liturgical ministry, the persons who welcome the faithful at the door of the
church and take care of them (cf. No. 105d.).
Cf. CIC, can. 225.
SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree Ad Gentes, 2.
Cf. PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PASTORAL CARE OF MIGRANTS AND ITINERANT PEOPLES,
The Shrine. Memory, Presence and Prophecy of the Living God (May 8,
Especially by visiting the Holy Land, the hidden and mysterious countenance of
God can be found through the silent testimonies of Christ, such as the places
and the objects, and the word of God can be understood better. ST. JEROME
stated: “The Greek historians are understood so much better when one has seen
Athens, and the third book of Virgil [of the Aeneid] when one has sailed
from Troad…to Sicily and from there to the mouth of the Tiber; and so one
understands Holy Scripture better when one has seen with one’s own eyes Judea
and contemplated the ruins of the ancient cities” (Praef.In Liber Paralip: PL29,423).
Cf. PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE, For a Pastoral Care of Culture (May
23, 1999), 37.
JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia (November 6, 1999),
SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Declaration Nostra aetate (October
28, 1965), 2.
JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris hominis (March 4, 1979), 13.
In this way, what St. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM hoped for will come to be: “Our minds
feel raised higher, our soul becomes stronger, our commitment greater, our faith
more ardent” (De Droside martyre 2: PG 50,685B); In the
information he gives about St. Simeon Stylites, THEODORET OF CYRUS states: “He
who comes for a spectacle returns from it learned in divine things” (Hist.
Relig. 26,12: SCh 257, 188).
Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Angelus, Castel Gandolfo (August 1, 1999).
Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio (December 7, 1990),
JOHN PAUL II, Letter to the Elderly (October 1, 1999), 16.
Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus annus (May 1, 1991), 42.
Ibid., 36. JOHN PAUL II makes this clarification: “I am referring
to the fact that even the decision to invest in one place rather than another,
in one productive sector rather than another, is always a moral and cultural
JOHN PAUL II, Message for the World Day of Peace 1990, 15.
Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Message for the XV World Day of Social Communications 1981,
SECOND ECUMENICAL VATICAN COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes,
JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the Bishops of Liguria (January 5, 1982), 5.
SECOND ECUMENICAL VATICAN COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium,
Cf. SECOND ECUMENICAL VATICAN COUNCIL, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum
PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi (December 8, 1975),
Ibid., 63 (cf. 59-64).
Cf. PIUX XII, Discourse to the World Congress of the “Skal-clubs”
(October 29, 1952).
JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the III World Congress of the Pastoral Care of
Tourism (October 9, 1984).
PAUL VI, Apostolic Letter Apostolicae caritatis (March 19, 1970).
JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus (June 28, 1988), 151.
Without prejudice to what is set down in art. 46 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor
bonus regarding the competencies of Section II of the Secretariat of State.
SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree Christus Dominus, 37.
JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Apostolos suos (May 21, 1998), 22.
CIC, can. 447.
The nature and mission of these Centers are described by the PONTIFICAL COUNCIL
FOR CULTURE in For a Pastoral Care of Culture (May 23, 1999), 32.
PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PROMOTION OF CHRISTIAN UNITY, Directory for
Ecumenism (March 25, 1993), 102-142, 161-162.
Cf. CIC, can. 451.
Cf. CIC, can. 459, 511.
SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Apostolicam actuositatem, 10.
Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (May 31, 1998), 35-36.
Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the Congregation for the Clergy (October
20, 1984), 6.
SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes,
Cf. PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PASTORAL CARE OF MIGRANTS AND ITINERANT PEOPLES,
The Pilgrimage in the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 (April 25, 1998),
Cf. Ibid., 24-31.
ST. AUGUSTINE, Confessions, 1,1,1: CSEL 33,1.
ST. AUGUSTINE, Confessions, 10, 27, 38: CSEL 33, 255 1,1,1: CSEL
JOHN PAUL II, Message for the 22nd World Day of Tourism 2001,
Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium,