Pope Benedict XVI is going to deliver the Thought For The Day on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Eve morning. The Holy Father recorded Thought For The Day in Rome today.
Gwyneth Williams, controller of Radio 4, said: "I'm delighted Pope Benedict is sharing his Christmas message with the Radio 4 audience."
"It's significant that the Pope has chosen Thought For The Day to give his first personally scripted broadcast - and what better time to do so than on the eve of the biggest celebration on the Christian calendar."
Thought For The Day is broadcast within the Today programme at 7.45am from Monday to Saturday. It offers approximately three minutes of personal reflection from faith leaders and believers of a variety of religious denominations.
BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, who is Catholic, is understood to have approached Vatican officials about a contribution from the Pope ahead of his state visit.
The National Secular Society has expressed anger over the broadcast. NSS president Terry Sanderson said in a statement: "After the overkill from the BBC during the Pope's visit, this indicates the corporation's obsession with religion, whereas the nation is largely indifferent to it."