Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Pope to Visit Britain

Pope Benedict is to visit Britain next year in what will be the first papal trip to the UK since Pope John Paul II in 1982.

Gordon Brown extended an invitation to visit the United Kingdom to Pope Benedict in February.

The trip is expected to take place in September 2010 after Gordon Brown gave him a formal invitation during a private audience in February.

Pope Benedict is likely to meet with the Queen and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and possibly stay at Buckingham Palace.

A preliminary itinerary includes visiting London, Birmingham, Oxford and Edinburgh.

However, British officials say that a trip to Northern Ireland is unlikely.

The Pope is also expected to be invited to address both houses of parliament in Westminster.

Pope John Paul II died in 2005

Confirmation has not been given by Downing Stree or the Vatican, however, government officials are expecting an announcement soon.

The leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, the Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, is yet to confirm the pontiff's visit.
"Any announcement about a possible visit by the Holy Father to this country we would expect to come from the Holy See."
Pope John Paul II's visit in 1982 almost did not go ahead because of the Falklands War.

He met the Queen during his six day stay, but did not visit Downing Street or meet the Prime Minister.

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