Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Prague

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Prague Saturday morning for a three-day visit to the Czech Republic. Addressing his first audience in English after a few words in Czech, the pontiff called upon Czechs to rediscover the Christian traditions that helped shape their culture, and recalled the bravery of Cardinals Josef Beran and Frantíšek Tomášek, Archbishops of Prague who steadfastly opposed to the communist regime. The first stop on the pontiff’s schedule was the Carmelite church housing the Infant Jesus of Prague, a wax statue that has been revered by Catholics since the early 17th century. Pope Benedict then drove by thousands of onlookers to Prague Castle to meet with President Václav Klaus and other politicians. The papal visit is the first since the last of John Paul II’s three visits to the country 12 years ago. Pope Benedict did however visit the Czech Republic as a cardinal in 1992, when he lectured at the Church of Saint Vojtěch in Prague.