July 5, 2010
. The Vatican has announced the pope's visit to the UK from September 16th through the 19th. The pope was officially invited by Queen Elizabeth II and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England, Wales and Scotland.
This will be the first official state visit by a pontiff to the UK, in other words, it will be the first time a pope addresses the entire population at the request of Queen Elizabeth II.
The first papal visit was made by John Paul II in 1982. He came as a leader of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI's visit is different because as an official state visit, he will take part in ecumenical and inter-religious meetings. And as a guest of the Queen the pope, the visiting Head of State, will address the nation as a whole.
During the pope's visit, he will meet with Queen Elizabeth II in the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh and will celebrate an open-air Mass in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, where Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in 1982.
He will meet with the archbishop of Canterbury, the main leader of the Anglican Church, at Westminster Abbey and will celebrate Mass at Westminster Cathedral.
The pope will spend the last day of his trip in Birmingham where he will beatify the English Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman at a park Newman liked to visit.