September 16, 2010.
Queen Elizabeth II cordially greeted Pope Benedict XVI, beginning his 4 day visit to the UK. He was received by the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, in the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Balmoral.
All ceremonies of state are held in this Palace during those months of the Queen's official residence in Scotland.
The Pope presented the Queen with a copy of the Codex Aureus of Lorsch, a manuscript of the gospel from the 8th century. It was a gesture rich in symbolism, as the original work had been divided long ago, a piece of it was kept in England and the other in the Vatican Library.
In turn, the Queen presented the Roman Pontiff with a series of 16th century Hans Holbein prints from the Royal Collection. Among them is an illustration of St. Thomas More.
In their speeches, the Queen thanked Benedict for the Catholic Church's role during the Northern Ireland peace process and highlighted the Pope's struggle for peace and his struggle against poverty.
We know from experience that through committed dialogue, old suspicions can be transcended and a greater mutual trust established.
The German Pontiff thanked the British people for their fight against the Nazis in WWII, giving Hitler's Germany as an example of what society becomes without God.
Let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a reductive vision of the person and his destiny.
Before leaving Pope Benedict, the Queen introduced him personally to Scottish authorities and together they greeted a group of young people in traditional Scottish dress to the sound of Scottish bagpipes.