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Pope will beatify Cardinal Newman, meet Queen Elizabeth on September trip

March 16, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI will meet Queen Elizabeth II, preside at the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, and travel to Scotland during a 4-day visit to the United Kingdom in September, British Church and government officials have confirmed.

This will be the first official visit ever made by a Roman Pontiff to Great Britain. While Pope John Paul II visited in 1982, that trip was classified as a "pastoral" rather than "official" visit, sidestepping questions about a meeting with Queen Elizabeth, who is technically the head of the Church of England as well as the nation's monarch. On this visit, which will accentuate ecumenical relations, the Pope will meet formally with the Queen.

During his pontificate, Benedict XVI has presided only at canonization ceremonies, leaving beatifications to other prelates. But apparently because of his special devotion to Cardinal Newman, he will personally beatify the great 19th-century convert and theologian at a Mass in Coventry. He will also visit Birmingham, where Cardinal Newman lived and worked at the Oratory.

During his visit to Scotland the Pontiff will stop in Edinburgh (where he will meet with the Queen at her Scottish residence) and Glasgow.

In London the Pope will meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury and hold an ecumenical service. He will also speak to political leaders at Westminster Hall, the historic site where St. Thomas More was tried and convicted.

The Vatican traditionally does not release the full schedule for a papal trip until shortly before it takes place, but Pope Benedict had already confirmed his plans for the September visit.


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  • Posted by: TheGillerans6870 - Mar. 16, 2010 7:00 PM ET USA

    It seems to me that by going to Westminster Hall, the Pope is showing that he's not afraid of getting just a tiny bit "in your face". Of course, I wholeheartedly approve.