Gerry McCann: "our faith has been vital in the search for Maddy"

 Gerry McCann, father of missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann, spoke of the vital importance of his Catholic faith, during the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, on Saturday. "Our Catholic faith, going to Mass, and the prayers of countless people have been of vital importance to me and my wife Kate since our daughter Madeleine disappeared," said Mr McCann, during the hour-long interview. Gerry McCann, who is originally from Glasgow, gave full answers to during a wide-ranging interview by BBC 2 Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark, followed by further questions from members of the audience. Such is the massive interest in the Madeleine McCann story that the large auditorium was packed with leading television executives, broadcasters and journalists. Mr McCann explained that the brief meeting he and Kate had with Pope Benedict XVI, at the end of the weekly General Audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday 30 May, was arranged with the help of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. He revealed that Cardinal Cormac had told them that Pope Benedict would meet other Catholic parents in similar circumstances. "The cardinal made clear that it wasn't necessary to have a high profile media campaign to be given this opportunity," he said. Madeleine disappeared from her room in her family's holiday apartment in Portugal during the evening of 3 May while Gerry and Kate McCann were dining in a nearby restaurant with friends. Despite an international search and a high-profile publicity campaign, Madeleine, of Rothley in Leicestershire, has not been seen or heard of since. Mr McCann acknowledged that he and his wife had initially sought publicity, but there was now a "lack of control" in the coverage. "Huge amounts had been written with no substance and a lot of it is not true," he emphasised. "The compromise had always been do we do something because it will help Madeleine," he said. He revealed that the media campaign to find Madeleine would be scaled down and take on a "low-key format." He added that he had now started to think about returning from to the UK and his job as a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester. "The real difficulty we have is leaving Portugal as a family of four when we arrived as a family of five," said Gerry McCann, who remained controlled and calm throughout.

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