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 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 105, December 2007







Archbishop Agostino MARCHETTO

Secretary of the Pontifical Council

for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People


Dear friends and brothers,  

1) We live in an ever more complex world and also for this reason feel the need for new ways or organizing ourselves, of planning and, why not, of teaching and learning, always in conformity with the Tradition of our Christian and priestly vocation.

Our society yearns for peace, and equality of rights and opportunities for everyone. It calls for the protection and safeguard of the environment to be able to live in a healthier way, foster the life of the affections and improve interpersonal relations. All this however is continuously being jeopardized, and thrown into crisis, by the fact that we live in a consumer society in which mass values, relativism and selfishness reign.

In this, Vatican Council II must be our compass, as response to the signs of the times. And one of those signs is human mobility, including tourism[1]

2) A new phenomenon like contemporary tourism has a need for “a new evangelization: new in its fervour, in its methods, and in its expression”[2]. It is clear that this does not mean changing the contents of the faith, since the truth is eternal, since Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever (cf. Heb 13: 8): He is the Truth that is revealed in the fullness of time. This does not imply that the Gospel bears no relation to ourselves, our culture and our analysis of the needs of man, and of humanity: that would not be a “Gospel” capable of saving man, man in his entirety, and everything that is rooted in the heart of man (cf. Gaudium et spes, no. 3). Nor does it mean that we should abandon whatever the modern mentality, as also expressed in tourism, has difficulty in accepting. The new evangelization to which I refer is based on the certainty that in Christ there are “unsearchable riches” (Eph 3:8), which are not exhausted in any culture, nor in any period, and on which everyone can draw, including tourists. 

3) Evangelization, therefore, must be fervent because in the world of tourism too there is a secularising reality, or an atheist reality, or one of indifference. 

All this demands, apart from new fervour, a profound zeal to imprint on the pastoral care of tourism “a fresh forward impulse, capable of creating within a Church still more firmly rooted in the undying power and strength of Pentecost a new period of evangelization” (Evangelii nuntiandi, 2). For our part, an evangelization that is new in its fervour presupposes an unshakeable faith, strong pastoral charity and great hope that, under the action of the Holy Spirit, a particular kind of mysticism, and a very powerful enthusiasm in the preaching of the Gospel, may be generated. “The truth of Christ must illuminate minds and hearts with the active, tireless and public proclamation of the Christian values”[3]. The recent reflection of Pope Benedict XVI in Verona is illuminating in this respect[4].

4) I set all this as a kind of background of our Meeting. I now wish to make some prefatory remarks on its specific theme: i.e. tourism as a ‘transverse reality’, in its pastoral aspects. I wish, first, to point out that transverse themes have a particular specificity: they are aspects that, in complexity, cross through various fields of evangelization. In our case they present a sum of important questions that need to be treated in their totality. On the other hand, the fact that the questions posed in our field can be considered ‘transverse’, since they are questions with various dimensions, may make our theme appear hazy and lacking in precision.

Let us further consider ‘transversality’, or the inter-dimensional perspective, as an interpretational tool that integrates different realities, initially in their cultural, social, economic and human context. It is this context that conditions our pastoral service.

In this inter-dimensional and global complexity, tourism is one of the most important sectors of human mobility, with a remarkable rate of growth. Over 200 million wage earners are employed in it at the world level. This is the highest number of employees – it is said – in any economic sector: it is one of the signs of globalization. In some tourist regions of Europe, tourism also makes an important contribution to improving and boosting employment and economic development, despite the fact that it is the cause, at the same time, of many social, cultural and ecological problems – as you know all too well –. Here too the inter-dimensional perspective of tourism is manifested due to its presence in various human spheres.

In any case, even if it is true that, in some sense, everything is now interconnected, and no human activity can be considered isolated and independent from the rest, what I wish to emphasise by using the term ‘transverse’, is that the relation of tourism with other sectors is not contingent or transient, but the condition and cause of its very development. Let us take the economic activity of tourism as a clear example of this. Today tourism impacts on the growth of the world economy in a significant way. In fact, if we consider its various branches, we will see that tourism plays a decisive role and exerts a decisive influence in the fields, for example, of the building industry, transport, trade, handicrafts, food consumption, entertainment and so on. And the same happens in other fields, such as culture, the environment, the artistic heritage, sport (it is enough to think of the Olympics, car races or international football championships).  

5) Bearing in mind this realistic context, of evangelization and the inter-dimensional perspective, it is particularly important for us here today and tomorrow to draw on the richness of past experiences and meetings, and stimulate the creativity of each for the future. This is not the first time, besides, that I emphasise that creativity is one of your finest characteristics in a world in very rapid movement.

So, in turning our gaze to the past, we would like here to recall, also with some fond memories, the World Congress of Bangkok of 2004. It was an important stage in our pastoral mission, because – like every World Congress – it was revealed as a gift of God, thanks to the examination of some important questions regarding tourism and renewed communion. The holding of this Congress, for the first time outside Europe, also gave us the opportunity to reinforce our catholicity and to feel with a greater sense of participation the injuries of those who suffer as a result of tourism, especially women and children. Tourism, we have to recognise, is not always something salutary in its effects.

6) In preparation for this two-day Meeting, you will also have reflected – as we asked you to do – on what has been done in these two years since the Bangkok Congress, on how that meeting has influenced your pastoral action and on what attention you have paid to its recommendations. Allow me however to refresh your memory, by citing some Recommendations formulated at Bangkok: first those on the formation (nos. 2 and 8) of those directly employed in tourism, so that “a human face” may be increasingly given to it. It is the Church’s task in fact to guide moral and spiritual formation, also by supporting all the efforts aimed at serious professional training. We hope, now, that useful and practical suggestions, with possible applications in the various European countries, may emerge in this sense in the course of our Meeting.

The same question of formation was recurred to, again at Bangkok, in Recommendation no. 11, with its proposal to “institute courses on the phenomenon of tourism in Catholic and Pontifical Universities, as well as in centres of formation for priests and religious”. A pastoral aspect involving various dimensions is already apparent here. The intention of the delegates at the Congress was – it seems to me – to foster “knowledge” of tourism especially from a pastoral and sociological point of view, as a human phenomenon. Widening our gaze beyond the Universities, it would also be useful to conduct a detailed investigation on the Church institutions established with the pastoral care of tourism in mind, in order to ascertain their results and identify their problems. To this end, research could be promoted on tourist parishes, on the provision of liturgical material, on catalogues and guidebooks for the presentation of and visits to the artistic and religious heritage, without forgetting an analysis of the opportunities for meeting other religious communities in the places visited[5]

7) That brings me to the second aspect of the inter-dimensional perspective on which we could dwell, namely that of tourism as an occasion for meetings between peoples. Recommendation no. 12 of Bangkok thus urged that “receiving and sending communities” – i.e. the host communities and those from which tourists come – be “psychologically and liturgically prepared, so that the encounters between them would enrich both”. Now, in the European reality that is ours, this recommendation ought to be systematically taken on board, if it has not already been implemented. And in doing so we ought not to limit ourselves to offering superficial information, as travel agencies sometimes do, but enable Christians to better understand their own religious experience and that of others. It goes without saying that respect, which is at the basis of any form of dialogue, will be one of the fundamental aspects of our attitude, especially if our interlocutors belong to other religions and cultural traditions. In this way we will be able to admire the presence of Seeds of the Word[6] in them, though without relativizing our Christian and ecclesial identity. 

8) A third Recommendation of Bangkok that I would like to remind you of especially concerns the active involvement of our host communities. In fact, in no. 13 of the Final Document, it is suggested that a plan be formulated “that would also aim to motivate members of receiving communities to volunteer in working in the tourism ministry”. This recommendation does not only rely on the positive attitude of the host community, the willingness of volunteers to welcome visitors, and knowledge and use of the language of tourists, but also considers tourism as a great opportunity for witness[7]. Hence the importance of humbly revealing one’s own faith to the visitor (cf. 1 Pt 3: 15-17). This is translated into hospitality and solidarity, firmly rooted in a strong cultural identity[8]. The tourist’s visit, moreover, also offers the gift of mutual enrichment, social communion and the chance to build something together that may endure beyond the single episode of the meeting. 

9) I would also like to recall, finally, Recommendation no. 10, with its suggestion, very practical in nature, that websites be created in dioceses and parishes in relation to the goals set out above. Is this not also an application of ‘transversality’?

We know that the Internet is an ocean with many seas, some of which are calm, others stormy. That means that the use we make of this tool must be entrusted to sound technical experts and trusted webmasters. Moreover, since we are speaking of a medium that aims by its very nature more at presentation than content, we must strive to ensure that the pages we publish on the web be imbued with a pastoral spirit and reveal our Christian identity.  

10) At this point let us look to the future, beyond Bangkok, without indulging in futurology, a subject practiced, or abused, by many today, as regards the Church. Here, more systematically, we may start out from a consideration of the global dimension of tourism also in its pastoral aspects, to which I have already alluded.

This ought not to be something new to us, if we bear in mind the wide-ranging Documentation and papal Teaching on the pastoral care of tourism[9]. The Church in fact has long felt the need to be present in the world of tourism[10]. She recognises its inter-dimensional nature, and, thanks to it, the possibility of positively influencing, for example, the unity and development of the family, the identity of communities, the social fabric, ecumenical, inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, and the relations between peoples and globalization. “This global objective indicates that the pastoral care of tourism must be included as a whole among the pastoral tasks of the Church. Therefore, the pastoral care of tourism must be organically incorporated into the ordinary pastoral mission and coordinated with other sectors, such as the family, schools, youth, social promotion, the management of cultural properties and ecumenism”[11]. As you see, it is part of a transversal reality with the engagement by the Church in order to ensure that tourism is not experienced as an isolated parenthesis, a time that is squandered in the life of the individual and of communities.  

11) During this Meeting it will be our task to identify the ways in which the Church can reinforce her presence in the wide-ranging world of tourism, and to suggest the possible different guidelines to be followed in the European context, taking into account the needs of the various nations. A contribution in this sense, albeit in a more global dimension, will be offered to us by the representatives invited here from the Congregations for the Evangelization of Peoples and for Catholic Education, from the Pontifical Councils for the Promotion of Christian Unity, for the Laity and for Culture, from the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, together with more specific presences, such as that of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), the Secretary General of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) and the two Offices of the Governatorato and Vicariate of Rome.

12) In this global perspective, what I particularly want to stress, precisely due to the inter-dimensional character of tourism, is the need for those who have responsibilities either in public administration or in private initiative, businesses, hotels, tour operators and so on, to intensify and structure their collaboration, also with us. On this point, in relation to the tourist industry and, more generally, to the economic world, an opportunity that has not yet been sufficiently used, needs, I think, to be grasped. I refer to the tradition of Codes of Ethics in the business world, to the more recent codes specific to the tourist industry, to which has been added, more recently, a new resource, so-called “philosophic counselling”, to which many businesses recur and which has the objective of increasing the moral well-being of the individual and society. Would it not be appropriate for us to focus our studies on these new themes, in line with what has already been said about the presence of tourism in the Catholic Universities? Of course, this would further compound our work, but that is our duty and also our joy, with the eyes of faith.  

13) In conclusion, we ought therefore – as I said – to intensify formation, especially the formation of pastoral workers, so that they gain an ever better knowledge of the nature, forms, implications, impact and pastoral opportunities of tourism. But we also need to foster the formation of the faithful, so that they perceive the importance of this phenomenon, a global reality, and incorporate it into the context of the Church. We need to develop, if we don’t have them already, suitable instructions to give to Christians on holiday to enable them to discover how recreation can be reconciled with the richness of religious celebration, without limiting it to Sunday Mass. Certainly we cannot limit ourselves just to that, if we want to conduct a real pastoral ministry of tourism.  

14) If we continue to attest that tourism is a means of dialogue, promotion of peace, aid to development, understanding the memory of other peoples and spiritual growth, we will then have a need for protagonists able to translate this conviction into reality. So, in this sense, we too are the promoters of tourism with a new face, with a soul, or supplement of soul, especially bearing in mind the interdependent nature of the mission of our Church that is expressed in an integrated pastoral ministry, both the ordinary parish and territorial ministry, and that, more specific, to people on the move (cf. Christus Dominus, 18). This also means that the pastoral care of tourism should be shared between the local Church from which tourists come and the local Church in the countries they visit, in the context of the universal Church, with all their links in terms of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. All pastoral activities have a single denominator: the person. They need to be placed in symbiosis.

So, come on, conference delegates! Let’s get down to work!



L’Arcivescovo Agostino Marchetto ha introdotto con questo intervento i lavori della Riunione dei Direttori Nazionali per la Pastorale del Turismo in Europa, che si è svolta nella sede del Dicastero a  Palazzo San Calisto, il 6 e 7 Novembre 2006. Egli ha invitato i partecipanti a valersi del Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II, giustamente interpretato, quale bussola di orientamento per l’odierna società europea, fortemente caratterizzata dalla mobilità umana, di cui il turismo è una componente assai rilevante. Ha quindi illustrato il tema della riunione nel suo aspetto generale, e cioè “il turismo una realtà trasversale”, dato che esso tocca vari ambiti e influenza diversi settori della vita, condizionandone nel tempo lo sviluppo stesso. L’Arcivescovo ha fatto dunque riferimento al contesto culturale, sociale, economico e umano del turismo. Passando agli aspetti pastorali, egli ha messo in evidenza come la trasversalità sia anche caratteristica della relativa pastorale specifica, che sempre più dovrà dilatare il suo impegno, integrandosi anche nella pastorale ordinaria, in settori come la famiglia, la scuola, i giovani, la promozione sociale, la giustizia e la pace, e la gestione dei beni culturali. Non si può trascurare, oggi, un altro aspetto trasversale pastorale, vale a dire l’attenzione all’ecumenismo e al dialogo interreligioso, mentre non può mancare il dialogo fra Chiesa locale d’origine e d’arrivo dei turisti per una loro efficace assistenza spirituale e cristiana. È anche questo tema trasversale. Si dovranno, pertanto, individuare i modi per rafforzare la presenza della Chiesa nel mondo del turismo in prospettiva di evangelizzazione e trasversalità, forti dei risultati finora conseguiti, specialmente tenendo in conto l’ultimo convegno mondiale, a Bangkok, impegnati nell’attuazione delle sue Raccomandazioni.

Mons. Marchetto ha poi insistito sulla necessità di intensificare la collaborazione con quanti hanno responsabilità, sia in ambito pubblico che nell’iniziativa privata, nell’ambiente turistico, tornando a sottolineare la necessità di approfondire la formazione degli Operatori pastorali in ottica trasversale. Egli ha auspicato altresì un’adeguata preparazione dei fedeli perché possano essere operatori di un turismo dal volto nuovo, in grado di tradurre in realtà le sue potenzialità di dialogo e promozione della pace, di aiuto allo sviluppo e conoscenza della memoria di altri popoli, di crescita spirituale insomma.




Tel est le titre de l'intervention de S.E. Mgr Agostino Marchetto aux travaux de la Réunion des Directeurs nationaux pour la Pastorale du Tourisme en Europe, qui s'est tenue au siège du Dicastère, Palazzo San Calisto, les 6 et 7 novembre 2006. Il a invité les participants à puiser dans le Concile Œcuménique Vatican II - suivant une interprétation correcte – s'y référant comme à une boussole d'orientation pour la société européenne contemporaine, fortement caractérisée par la mobilité humaine, dont le tourisme constitue une composante importante. Il a également illustré le thème de la réunion sous son aspect général – c'est-à-dire "le tourisme vu comme une réalité transversale" – étant donné qu'il touche différents milieux et qu'il influence divers secteurs de la vie, en en conditionnant le développement dans le temps. S.E. Mgr Marchetto s'est alors référé au contexte culturel, social, économique et humain du tourisme. Puis, passant aux aspects pastoraux, il a mis en évidence la façon dont la transversalité constitue aussi une caractéristique de la pastorale spécifique inhérente, qui devra toujours plus développer son engagement, en s'intégrant également dans la pastorale ordinaire, dans des secteurs comme celui de la famille, de l'école, des jeunes, de la promotion sociale, de la justice et de la paix  et dans la gestion des biens culturels. Et on ne peut pas non plus, aujourd'hui, négliger un autre aspect transversal de la pastorale : l'attention à l'œcuménisme et au dialogue interreligieux, tout comme, pour une assistance spirituelle et chrétienne efficace des touristes ne peut manquer le dialogue entre leur Eglise locale d'origine et celle de leur arrivée. Il s'agit là aussi d'un autre thème transversal. Aussi, faudra-t-il identifier les modalités pour renforcer la présence de l'Eglise dans le monde du tourisme, dans un perspective d'évangélisation et de transversalité, forts des résultats déjà obtenus, en particulier en tenant en compte le dernier Congrès mondial de Bangkok, en s'engageant la mise en œuvre de ses Recommandations.

Mgr Marchetto a ensuite mis l'accent sur la nécessité d'intensifier la collaboration avec tous ceux qui ont des responsabilités, dans le domaine public comme dans celui de l'initiative privée et dans le milieu du tourisme, en soulignant une fois encore le besoin d'approfondir la formation des agents pastoraux dans une optique transversale. Il a également souhaité une préparation adéquate des fidèles pour qu'ils puissent devenir eux-mêmes les agents d'un tourisme au nouveau visage, capable de traduire dans la réalité ses potentialités de dialogue et de promotion de la paix, d'aide au développement et à la connaissance de la mémoire d'autres peuples ; bref, de croissance spirituelle.


[1] Cf. Agostino Marchetto, La Chiesa di fronte al turismo, segno dei tempi [The Church in response to tourism, sign of the times], Address to the Conference promoted by the National Office for the Pastoral Care of Leisure Time, Tourism and Sport, Viterbo (Italy), 16 March 2006, published in the Proceedings of the Conference: Notiziario n°. 16, July 2006, Quaderno della Segreteria Generale CEI (Italian Bishops’ Conference).

[2] John Paul II, Address to the Assembly of CELAM, Port au Prince, Haïti, 9 March1983, III.

[3] John Paul II, Inaugural Address to the 4th General Conference of the Latin-American Episcopate, Santo Domingo, 12 October 1992, n° 10; cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the participants in the Fourth National Congress of the Italian Church, Verona 19 October 2006: L’Osservatore Romano, Anno CXLVI-N°. 243, of 20 October 2006, pp. 6-7.

[4]  Cf. Benedict XVI, ibidem.

[5] Cf. the 1st Meeting on the Pastoral Care of Tourism and of Pilgrimages in the Countries of the Middle East and of North Africa, Beirut, Lebanon, (5-7 March 2003), Proceedings edited by the General Secretariat of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon and published in Lebanon in 2004.

[6] Cf. Pontifical Council for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people, Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi, 3 May 2004, nos. 96 and 97.

[7] Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the participants in the Fourth National Congress of the Italian Church, Verona 19 October 2006, loc. cit.

[8] Cf. Pontifical Council for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people, Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Tourism (29 June 2001), no. 20. 

[9] Cf. Pontifical Council for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people: roman_curia/ pontifical_councils/migrants/index_it.htm and the magazine People on the Move Undredth No. (Indices from No. 51 to No. 99 Supplement).

[10] Cf. Agostino Marchetto, La Chiesa di fronte al turismo, segno dei tempi [The Church in response to tourism, sign of the times], Address to the Conference promoted by the National Office for the Pastoral Care of Leisure Time, Tourism and Sport, Viterbo (Italy), 16 March 2006, l. c.

[11] Pontifical Council for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people, Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Tourism (29 June 2001), no.18.