Pope goes on-line for the first time

 History was made yesterday when Pope John Paul II sent out his first official e-mail document ''Ecclesia in Oceania' to dioceses in the Pacific. Several hundred cardinals, bishops, religious, priests and laypeople clapped as the Holy Father pressed the 'send ' button. The Pope said he would have preferred to visit Oceania in person - "But it was not to be!" he said. "Therefore, the Pacific comes to the Bishop of Rome." The Holy Father recalled the 1998 Synod during which the bishops of Oceania met to analyze the task of evangelization undertaken by missionaries of the not-so-distant past. The peoples of Oceania, its natives and immigrants, he said, are the real wealth of the continent of scattered islands. Catholics make up 27% of the continent's 30 million inhabitants. In the face of the political and economic problems of Oceania's peoples, the bishops were not discouraged, he said. Instead, they understood more clearly that the Holy Spirit was calling the Church to a new evangelization, which he described as: "a new missionary adventure that is rooted in the contemplation of the face of Christ, the rich legacy of the Great Jubilee." To read a summary of the document click on: Ecclesia in Oceania summary