Pope Benedict to visit Britain

The Holy See is expected to announce soon that Pope Benedict XVI is to visit Britain next year. Prime Minister Gordon Brown extended a formal invitation to the Pope during a private audience in February. The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales also sent him a formal invitation in 2007.

The historic visit will be the first official  first papal visit to Britain since Pope John Paul II made a pastoral visit in 1982.

During his time in the country, expected to take place in September next year, Pope Benedict will have a meeting with the Queen, head of the Church of England and will be accorded the full panoply of a state visit. It is possible the Pope will also stay with the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops' Conference of England & Wales, said: 'We are encouraged and pleased at the news which has emerged about the possible official visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK next year.

'We are glad the Holy Father is giving such consideration to the invitations he has received from Her Majesty's Government, which accord closely to the wishes and requests also expressed by the Bishops of England & Wales. 

"The prospect of a visit by Pope Benedict fills us with joy."

Source: CCN/BBC

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