Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pope Benedict to arrive next year for grand tour of United Kingdom

Millions will turn out for only second papal visit to Britain since 16th century

By Andrew Grice and Jerome Taylor
Thursday, 24 September 2009

Negotiations for a visit by Pope Benedict XVI have been underway for nearly three years

Ever since Henry VIII broke with Rome to establish the Church of England in 1534, Britain has often been regarded as something of a rebellious outpost of the Catholic world. Until John Paul II's rapturous six-day visit to the UK in 1982, no pope had set foot on British soil since the Reformation.

Now, Pope Benedict XVI is to follow in his predecessor's footsteps. According to government sources, Gordon Brown has been told that the pontiff has accepted his invitation to visit "all parts of the UK". It is believed the Pope will arrive next autumn and visit England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Queen has been informed.

When John Paul II touched down at Gatwick in 1982 for a six-day pastoral visit, millions flocked to catch a glimpse of him in his Popemobile as he toured the country holding Masses for Britain's four million Catholics.

Negotiations for a papal visit for Benedict have been ongoing for much of the past three years, and in February the Prime Minister extended for the fourth time an official invitation to the Pope to visit the UK.

See also:

From CNA, "British reports of papal visit bring Archbishop Nichols joy"

From the Belfast Telegraph, "Pope Benedict may visit Northern Ireland"


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