Pope Benedict's UK itinerary -- how it looks now

A "top-secret" Vatican delegation which everyone seemed to know about was in the UK last week to plan the details of the papal visit expected 16-19 September. There'll be no official announcement of the itinerary until at least March, but this is what has been sketched in:

Thurs 16: Pope received by Queen in Scotland, at Holyrood.


Fri 17: Pope received by Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at Lambeth Palace in London; then goes to Parliament to address about 1,000 MPs and dignitaries; then crosses the road to preach at the mother church of the British state, Westminster Abbey.

Sat 18: Mass at Westminster Cathedral; and in the afternoon some sort of large, outdoor youth event.

Sun 19: Beatification of Cardinal Newman at a major outdoor Mass at Coventry airport (which is inside the Diocese of Birmingham, the diocese where his Cause is based).

Much here, of course, could still change before the itinerary is officially announced in March. But the basics look as if they are in place.

The Lambeth Palace-Parliament-Westminster Abbey triangle offers a wonderful ad extra opportunity to address the neuralgic issues of equality laws versus freedom of religion, and to lay out a compelling vision of church-state co-operation. Pope Benedict will want to persuade sceptics and scoffers that the best guarantee of their own cherished liberties lies in the preservation of the Church's presence in the public square. 

Saturday and Sunday will be principally ad intra -- directed at Britain's Catholics, and onlooking Christians (especially Anglicans). But the beatification ceremony is likely to reprise his Friday themes, showing how freedom, truth, conscience and obedience all tie up in the life and works of this most brilliant English intellect.

My bet is that this visit will be, for Benedict XVI, one of the highlights of his pontificate, because it touches so directly on the core issues he cares about most.

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William Callaghan
9 years 1 month ago
Very disappointed that Wales has been completely overlooked by those planning this visit. I understand that the Pope is 83 and can't be a global megastar as his predecessor was, but I do feel that the Bishops Conference could and should have put Wales into the agenda, we are part of the Universal Church, or at least that's what I thought we were. If Scotland can have another visit, then I do not see any reason why wales can't. Welsh Catholics have been completely ignored yet again and we will have to watch on tv while the english and scots have him to themselves once more.
Bill Barker
9 years 1 month ago
The Pope is preaching at Westminster Abbey on St. Patrick's Day?
Gerelyn Hollingsworth
9 years 1 month ago
I don't think the Pope will preach at Westminster Abbey (Protestant). I think he'll appear at Westminster Cathedral (Catholic).

Gerelyn Hollingsworth
9 years 1 month ago
Reading it again makes it clear that he's going to BOTH of them. Lovely symbol to Roman and English Catholics that the doors swing both ways.
Liam Richardson
9 years 1 month ago
This visit will occur in September, not March.
William Callaghan
9 years 1 month ago
If this is a visit to Great Britain, then could I ask why Wales has been given no time for a second papal visit. If Scotland can have one again, then I don't see why us in Wales have to be ignored, JP2 visited us in 1982 but I'm afraid us welsh catholics won't be given a chance to take part in this visit by the looks of the above schedule. Oh well, have to watch on television, thanks to Rome and the Bishops Conference of England AND Wales for forgetting Wales's part in this visit.
8 years 7 months ago
Well, quite a lot has been happening recently. We have just had a party of officials over from the Vatican for a final planning meeting. That went very well - they managed to visit most of the places where Pope Benedict will be going and the group has now returned to the Vatican. Westminster Abbey


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