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Warmly welcomed in Scotland, Pope underlines Britain's Christian heritage

Catholic World News - September 16, 2010

Well over 100,000 people lined the streets of Edinburgh to welcome Pope Benedict XVI on September 16 as he began his state visit to Great Britain.

The Pontiff had arrived in Scotland at 10:30 on Thursday morning. Greeted at Edinburgh airport by Prince Philip, he was driven to Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II. In her welcoming remarks, the British monarch said: “Your Holiness, I am delighted to welcome you to the United Kingdom."

In his own remarks, Pope Benedict reminded the queen that the name of Holyroodhouse “recalls the Holy Cross and points to the deep Christian roots that are still present in every layer of British life.” Laying the foundation for what will likely become an important theme of his public remarks during this trip, the Pontiff said that “the Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years.” He emphasized that the Christian heritage should remain a central feature of the country’s life.

The Pope expressed his appreciation for the cooperation that the British government has offered to the Holy See on various efforts, particularly in the search for a stable peace in Northern Ireland. Queen Elizabeth, too, had spoken of her gratitude for the Church’s efforts on that issue.

The name of Holyroodhouse, Your Majesty’s official residence in Scotland, recalls the “Holy Cross” and points to the deep Christian roots that are still present in every layer of British life… As a result, the Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years. Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike.

The BBC report on the Pope’s first public appearance called attention to 150 demonstrators from the Protest the Pope group—who accounted for about one-eighth of 1% of the entire crowd that greeted the papal motorcade.

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  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Sep. 16, 2010 5:09 PM ET USA

    I hope the presence of the Holy Father will touch the hearts of at least a few souls and bring them back into the Church or maybe even into the Church for the first time. If he could offer the traditional Mass with the chant, polyphony, bells, incense and reverence to go along with his presence and his words I believe that many hearts would be touched in a positive way.

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