The opening of Domus Australia in Rome is a good thing. Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop Barry Hickey, Archbishop Denis Hart and Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett, the bishops whose dioceses have paid for it, are to be congratulated for bringing it to fruition.
Domus Australia is not only a practical good in the comfort and familiarity it will offer Australians in Rome. Like the canonisation of St Mary MacKillop, it reaffirms that Australia and Australians are a constituent part of the universal Church. It is a statement of confidence, and optimism. However, some questions could be asked. While its rates are undoubtedly competitive, at mid-season rates of €189 (A$252) a night per couple and low-season rates of €90 (A$127) a night for single use of a double room, one wonders who can afford to stay there other than Australian diocesan officials on business paid for by their dioceses or the wealthy. Many Aussie pilgrims are probably more likely to continue to stay in the convent B&Bs scattered all over the eternal city.