Pope to visit UK in 2010

Pope Benedict’s visit would only be the second by a head of the Catholic Church since Henry VIII declared himself head of the church in England more than 500 years ago, and the first as a head of state.


Details of his visit have yet to emerge but the trip is set to be the first official state visit by a pontiff – John Paul II’s visit in May 1982 was on a pastoral basis and did not follow an official invitation by the UK government.

Masses were held in cities including Cardiff, London, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh and he also met the Queen and Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said he had long hoped for such a visit.

Our correspondent said the prime minister’s invitation in February had been “warmly received” by the Vatican and was linked to the beatification of Cardinal Newman – England’s most celebrated convert to Roman Catholicism.

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