First State visit to UK

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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.

Statement from Vatican Press Office

Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following declaration at midday today:

“Accepting the invitation of Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, and of the Bishops’ Conferences of England and Wales, and of Scotland, His Holiness Benedict XVI will make an apostolic trip to the United Kingdom from 16 to 19 September.

“In the course of his trip, the Holy Father will visit Her Majesty the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, and preside at the celebration of the Eucharist in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. In London he will meet representatives from the worlds of politics, culture and business in Westminster Hall, participate at an ecumenical celebration in Westminster Abbey, and preside at a celebration of the Eucharist in Westminster Cathedral and at a prayer vigil in Hyde Park. Finally, he will preside at the celebration of the rite of beatification of Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman at Cofton Park, Birmingham”.