VATICAN CITY (AFP)
Pope Benedict XVI took a helicopter to his summer residence
outside Rome on Tuesday for a long holiday after a tough year
marked by the scandal over leaks of confidential papers from the
The 85-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church will hold
general audiences on Wednesdays from August 1 until September in
Castel Gandolfo, following a break in July.
There will be some official duties for the pope this month,
including meeting with a group of cardinals who have been
investigating the leaks.
On July 11, he will also attend a concert given by the
Israeli-Argentine maestro Daniel Barenboim with his Arab-Israeli
orchestra, the West-East Divan Orchestra, which will perform one
of his favourite composers Beethoven.
He will also celebrate mass in the nearby town of Frascati in
The pope has used previous summer holidays in the ancient palace
on a hillside overlooking Albano Lake to work on his biography of
The pope has a busy programme in September and October, including
a diplomatically sensitive trip to Lebanon on September 14-16.
In October, he will also launch the Year of Faith on the 50th
anniversary of the Vatican II Council.