1. The Church expressed her pastoral attention to the phenomenon
of tourism in 1969 in the Directory Peregrinans in terra (Congregation
for the Clergy, General Directory for the Pastoral Care of Tourism,
30 April 1969). 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
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" (John Paul II, Message for the
World Day of Tourism 2000, n. 5). 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; it is addressed more
directly 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.
I. The 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 travellers 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 visit any trip 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 (Statistics are supplied by
the World Tourism Organization [WTO], 30 January 2001). 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 dynamics.
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
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 in their
retirement, two periods that have become considerably longer.
It must be repeated 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 opportunity.
6. It should also be noted that although there is more free time, it
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 (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem exercens,
14 September 1981, n. 10), 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" (ibid., n. 25).
Together with work, however, free time increasingly appears 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 Saviour.
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 enjoy this fundamental
right fully as soon as possible.
2. Tourism and the Person
7. Rest constitutes one important reason why people want free time,
and it is also the most common reason for engaging in tourism. A trip
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 becomes
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
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
8. Tourist activity has a very close relation with nature. Since a
daily life is 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
efforts and strenuous risks. Nature basically constitutes the ideal
place for starting and developing tourism.
Greater ecological awareness is transforming man's relations with
nature. Following St Francis of Assisi's example (John Paul II in his
Apostolic Letter Inter sanctos, 29 November 1979, declared St
Francis of Assisi the celestial patron of ecologists"), people
should become accustomed to seeing a brother and a sister in everything
in creation in order to say to the Creator: "Praise to you, 0 Lord,
with all your creatures" (St Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the
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, if it is to survive. 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 of 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
9. Often interest in other peoples' cultures prompts a tourist trip.
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
favours peace and solidarity, constitutes one of the most precious
values derived from tourism.
In preparing for their voyage, tourists should read beforehand
appropriate documentation that will help them understand the people they
will encounter 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 is
often met 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 offering ample possibilities for taking an 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
This is the case, for example, with "weekends". They offer
the opportunity for brief trips, almost always in the nearby geographic
area, that favour 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 favour
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
exhibitions, and particular celebrations such as, for instance, the
choice of a place as the capital of culture or as the venue of a World
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 (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem
exercens, 14 September 1981, n. 23).
A second important aspect is formation. While it is clear 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" (Second Ecumenical Vatican Council,
Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, n. 35; cf. John
Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem exercens, 14 September
1981, n. 26). All tourist activity is at the service of persons; it is
conceived of as offering means to enable people to do what they have set
for themselves in free time.
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, for many countries, international tourism
has represented a determining factor for the development, and this will
predictably continue in the foreseeable 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 (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, 30 December 1987, n. 13]). It
has highlighted some conditions that must be respected in order to
safeguard the rights of persons and the environmental equilibrium. These
conditions propose a kind of tourism that adheres to the principles of a
"sustainable development", about which some points should be
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 centres 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 public health.
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 adjust,
solely on account of unassimilated, external factors.
It is also important for the economic development of tourist industry
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-restraint; 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 instant
development. The necessary measures should be adopted to stop this
process where it is under way, and to keep it from happening in the
13. For a correct understanding of tourist structures today, we
cannot fail to mention the relation of tourism with the process of the
globalization of the economy. Tourism, by nature, presents elements that
were at 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 favoured 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
On the other hand, a certain kind of globalization brings serious
consequences for the countries and for humanity. The gap between the
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 (cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia. in Asia,
6 November 1999, n. 39).
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 labour 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 favour 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" (John Paul II, Discourse to the Pontifical Academy of
Social Sciences, 28 April 2001, n. 2). 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 (John Paul II, Message
for the World Day of Peace 1998, n. 3), 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.
4. Tourism and Theology
14. Before such a broad phenomenon that influences persons'
and entire peoples' behaviour so profoundly, the Church has not
hesitated to follow the Lord's command and seek appropriate 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 ail, men are called
to accept the gift of salvation in the newness of life that radiates in
which the freedom and fraternity of the children of God stand out. The
time dedicated to tourism can in no way be left out of 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 practice, tourism invites Christians 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" (Gn
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" (Gn 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" (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Dies
Domini, 31 May 1998, n. 10).
This mission also includes knowing and experiencing the multiplicity
and variety of creation (cf. Sir 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 travelled 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 because of these
experiences" (Sir 34,9-12).
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 subdue it" (Gn
1,28), is recalled in various ways. It also treats 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
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. Rom 8,19-21; 2 Pt 3,13; Rv 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
Nonetheless, God does not cease to offer his covenant to men. On
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 1, 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 end time 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" (Rom 1,5), he
will be holy in all his conduct (cf. I Pt 1,16).
This is a gift that everyone receives and which "also serves
others, 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" (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptor
hominis, 4 March 1979, n. 21). Self-giving is what gives a
transforming power to Christians' action in the family and social life,
in work, rest and recreation. In free time, in fact, self-giving assumes
greater generosity because it allows one to offer more of one's time.
"The Paschal event: Easter possesses and confers the freedom
which makes our free time a most intimate principle", and this, in
turn, "should allow people ... to achieve authentic humanism ...
that of the 'Easter person’" (John Paul II, Homily in the
Funchal Stadium, Island of Madeira, Portugal, 12 May 1991, n.
6). For Christians, therefore, tourism My 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
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" (Rv 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"' (Rv 19,9) (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Dies
Domini, 31 May 1998, n. 38). 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"
(ibid., n. 68).
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" (Rom 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 honour of the nations" (Rv
21,26), brought to the new Jerusalem (cf. Is 60,3-7; MI 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.
II. Pastoral Objectives
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 to live 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"
(John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente, 10
November 1994, n. 57), 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
ordinary pastoral care and coordinated with the other sectors, such as
the family, school, youth, social promotion, stewardship of cultural
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 without distinction. In the local community,
Christians are educated for travel or trained to work in tourism. The
community's efforts seek to establish bonds of cooperation to promote
the human and spiritual values that tourism can favour. 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.
19. "Remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this,
some people have entertained angels" (Heb 13,2) (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, an 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. 1, 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. 11, 23, 2: PL 76, 1183]). 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 (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]. 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" (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptor
hominis, 4 March 1979, n. 14). In the Eucharistic
celebration, the central act 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 (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, nn. 3, 11), 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 Saviour echoes most strongly in this meeting of brethren coming from
such different places, who are united in one prayer proclaimed in
For the Eucharistic celebration, particularly the Sunday celebration,
to make these features 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 (In this context, it should be mentioned
that the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, 20 April 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. n. 105d.]).
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 issue information to encourage and support
tourists to benefit from this special time.
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 their sharing.
Special attention should be given to welcoming the 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 (Cf. CIC, can.
Especially in places where there are great numbers of tourists, the
Christian community must be aware of being "missionary by
nature" (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree Ad gentes,
n. 2), 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 capacity for attention conditioned by
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
highlights 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
21. Particular importance should be paid when planning visits for
tourists to places with a specifically religious significance that are
included among the destinations proposed to tourists today.
Outstanding among these are shrines, the goal 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
a suitable welcome to these visitors, which will help them to recognize
the meaning of their way and understand the goal to which they are
called (cf. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and
Itinerant Peoples, The Shrine. Memory, Presence and Prophecy of the
Living God, 8 May 1999, n. 6). 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
(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: PL 29, 423]).
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 reception 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 learn about the Christian faith.
At the same time, efforts should be made to avoid disturbing the
religious celebrations taking place 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 (cf. Pontifical Council for Culture, For a Pastoral Care
of Culture, 23 May 1999, n. 37)
The duty of hospitality also requires careful 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" (John Paul II, Apostolic
Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, 6 November 1999, n. 31) 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 be recognized, preserved and advanced"
(Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Declaration Nostra aetate, 28
October 1965, n. 2).
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" (John
Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris hominis, 4 March
1979, n. 13). This reality 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 light, 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 (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]). Knowing 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, Christians will make
personal efforts to help tourists to participate in the liturgical
celebrations. If necessary, they will bring their right to have the
necessary conditions to practice their faith to the attention of the
persons in charge of tourism.
At all times, Christians must abstain not only from any behaviour
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 behaviour that involves ostentatious 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 to spend on holiday.
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,
Christians should feel challenged in a special way to live their faith
through the witness of their behaviour and to try to open a prudent and
respectful religious dialogue with the persons they meet.
23. Most of the time, a journey is undertaken with the members of
one's family. We are aware that in contemporary society many
circumstances make family life, communication, co habitation 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 programme for a trip together, whose success requires everyone's
responsible participation, increases the opportunities for dialogue,
improves mutual understanding and appreciation, reinforces each member
of the family's esteem, and encourages generous reciprocity (cf. John
Paul II, Angelus, Castel Gandolfo, 1 August 1999).
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
24. Tourism also brings together people of the same age-group and
other circumstances such as their occupation 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
Worthy of mention among these groups, are the school tours of 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 (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris
missio, 7 December 1990, n. 82). 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 "joyful trips"
characterized by an unceasing thanksgiving and by a "sense of
trusting abandonment into the hands of God", so that "the
capacity to enjoy life, as God's primordial gift is preserved and
increases" (John Paul II, Letter to the Elderly, 1 October
1999, n. 16).
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 assist 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 inclusion for people in lonely or marginalized
situations. Through her participation, the Church gives witness to God's
particular predilection for the humble.
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 (cf.
John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus annus, 1 May 1991, n.
42) 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 labour 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 as 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" (ibid., n.
31). 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 to ensure 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 behaviour 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
concerning 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" (ibid., n. 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 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 income.
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" (John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace 1990,
n. 15) 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 aware of the need for an austere cooperative lifestyle in
their trips to the developing countries will be in vain if the tour
operators and promoters are not guided by an appropriate sensitivity.
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 programmes that are offered and the brochures 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 colour and
appeal. In these circumstances, it is obvious that objective in
formation is required from the promoters, with 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 favour the exercise of responsible freedom (cf John Paul II,
Message for the XV World Day of Social Communications 1981, n.
3). This responsibility extends to the entire trip including readiness
to receive the users' fair observations and useful suggestions
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. Thus,
Christian promoters should 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
programmes that attention will be given to the eventual needs of every
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 useful.
28. Tourists are often accompanied by guides who help them to achieve
the purposes of their journey. Very often, for tourists, guides are
directly responsible for the success or failure of their vacation. Truly
we will never sufficiently appreciate the influence that guides have on
tourists and, consequently, how important it is for them to obtain
appropriate 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 specific relationship 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 concerning 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, they
hold the key to 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 are often confided in and can act as
advisers and guides.
Christians who exercise their profession in tourism discover that
this is a very responsible post. 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 firm 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 especially sensitive to the
particular situation of the workers in this sector. Paying religious and
sacramental attention to their working conditions will be necessary,
without upsetting the timetables and routine of the community's life.
Consideration should also be given to 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 resource
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 family.
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
centres have an essential role where young people can meet for
instruction, reflection and the celebration of their faith.
The status 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
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" (Second Ecumenical Vatican Council,
Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, n. 3), 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" (ibid., n. 40).
This reciprocal service between 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 (John Paul II, Discourse to the Bishops of Liguria, 5
January 1982, n. 5) in tourism.
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 27 September 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
she 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 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.
III. Pastoral Structures
31. The evangelizing mission is a task that falls to 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 the action for the
edification of the Body of Christ" (Second Vatican Ecumenical
Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, n. 32). 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
(cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred
Liturgy Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 1), giving special
attention to respecting and adopting "with courage and
prudence" (Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi,
8 December 1975, n. 40) the aspects and the "language" of
every single people (ibid., n. 63; cf. 59-64).
The development of tourism and its growing importance for the
countries, deserve 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 (cf. Pius XII, Discourse
to the World Congress of the "Skal-clubs", 29 October
1952). 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" (John Paul II, Discourse to the III World
Congress of the Pastoral Care of Tourism, 9 October 1984), 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.
1. The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and
32. With the Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Apostolicae caritatis of
19 March 1970, Pope Paul VI instituted the "Pontifical Commission
for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People" 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 precise characteristics" (Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Apostolicae
caritatis, 19 March 1970).
With the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus (28 June 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 travels
undertaken for reason of piety, study or diversion will favour the moral
and religious formation of the faithful, and it aids the local Churches
so that all those who are way from their own residence can have adequate
pastoral assistance" (John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Pastor
Bonus, 28 June 1988, n. 151).
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 tourism
4. to cooperate with the centres 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 Day;
6. to keep regular contact with the Permanent Observer of the Holy
See to the World Tourism Organization (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).
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 programme for the common good of the
Church" (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree Christus
Dominus, n. 37). 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" (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Apostolos suos, 21
May 1998, n. 22). The Bishops' Conference pays special
attention to those themes that bring about innovative changes in society
and propose "forms and means of apostolate suited to the
circumstances of time and place". (CIC, can. 447)
Tourism is certainly one of those subjects that requires the
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 novelty of tourism, on the other hand, lies
in its constant evolution which is creating new lifestyles and new
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 programme 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 contact with other Bishops' Conferences, when
circumstances so require, in order to open channels of cooperation
between the home countries and countries of arrival for the exchange of
pastoral workers and for information and liturgical material in the
5. To promote formation programmes for tour guides, especially
those who take people 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 taught by the
"Catholic Cultural Centers" (The nature and mission of these
Centres are described by the Pontifical Council for Culture in For
a Pastoral Care of Culture, 23 May 1999, n. 32).
7. To envisage possible forms of cooperation between the
dioceses so that religious assistance can be organized better in the
places where there is a real tourist season.
8. To contact representatives of the other Christian
denominations in view of ecumenical cooperation in the major tourist
centres (Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Directory
for Ecumenism, 25 March 1993, nn. 102-142, 161-162).
9. To maintain a dialogue with the public authorities and
interested bodies in order to establish forms of cooperation for
programming and supervising tourists projects with particular attention
to defending 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
10. To promote the Church's presence at the "Fairs" of this
To coordinate all these activities, it is useful to create a body
within the Bishops' Conference (cf. CIC, can. 451), with a
group of experts representing the different sectors of tourism.
34. As an activity people do in their free time, as a
professional 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 an 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
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 (cf. CIC, cann. 459, 511).
Religious attention for tourists, integrated into the diocesan programme
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 life of the local community.
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
high tourist season 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 centres 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 expert staff from the different categories in the world of tourism
35. The parish "gathers into a unity all the human diversities
that are found there and inserts them into the universality of the
Church" (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Apostolicam
actuositatem, n. 10). It is the first school of hospitality,
especially when it comes together to celebrate the Lord's Day (cf. John
Paul II, Apostolic Letter Dies Domini, 31 May 1998, nn.
35-36). The parish is open to welcoming those who are passing through,
and it prepares its own faithful for the trips they intend to make.
Those who propose to live sincere witness to their faith in the world of
tourism can find support in the parish.
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 centres constitutes the first
concrete gesture of hospitality. Through this presence, the palish
invites all visitors to take part in the celebration of faith and
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 encounter 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
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 alert 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 (cf. John
Paul II, Discourse to the Congregation for the Clergy, 20 October
1984, n. 6).
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 respecting the liturgical
norms in force.
8. To keep the information regarding the parish services up-to-date
and to see to it that tourists can find this information in their
hotels, at information points or through other means of distribution.
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)"
(Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et
spes, n. 45). The Church follows the exemplary itinerary of her
Master and Lord (cf. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of
Migrants and Itinerant People, The Pilgrimage in the Great Jubilee of
the Year 2000, 25 April 1998, nn. 9-11), 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 of
God (cf. ibid., nn. 24-31).
Man's search becomes obvious and explicit in tourism. To satisfy his
desire to know other peoples and cultures, to develop his own personal
skills and to have new experiences, man will not give up 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 St
Augustine: "You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts
will not rest until they rest in you" (St Augustine, Confessions,
1,1,1: CSEL 33,1). 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" (St Augustine, Confession,
10,27,38: CSEL 33,255 1,1,1: CSEL 33, 1).
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" (John Paul II, Message for the
22nd World Day of Tourism 2001, n. 5), 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 (cf. Second
Vatican Ecumenical Council Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium,
n. 63), 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.
Vatican City, 29 June 2001, Feast of Sts Peter and Paul
Archbishop Stephen Fumio Hamao
Archbishop Francesco Gioia