Pope's 'Astonishing' Visit to Britain

09/18/2010 Comments (12)

A nun laughs as she chats with a police officer while she waits to see Pope Benedict XVI's popemobile cross Lambeth Bridge in central London Sept. 17. (CNS photo/Andrew Winning, Reuters)

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster described the events of yesterday in which the Pope gave addresses in Westminster Hall, Westminster Abbey, and Lambeth Palace as “astonishing.”

It was the first time the Successor of Peter had ever set foot in any of these historic buildings which at any one time have been pillars of Church and State in Britain for the past thousand years.

In his first briefing of the visit to journalists today, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the welcome the Pope received at Westminster Hall and Abbey were “extraordinary”. He added that the Pope was “very impressed” by the richness of the Anglican liturgy in Westminster Abbey. 

The Vatican...READ MORE

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The Pope's Westminster Hall Speech

09/17/2010 Comments (5)

The Holy Father’s speech to representatives of civil society, academic, cultural and entrepreneurial world, diplomatic corps and religious leaders in Westminster Hall:

Mr Speaker,

Thank you for your words of welcome on behalf of this distinguished gathering. As I address you, I am conscious of the privilege afforded me to speak to the British people and their representatives in Westminster Hall, a building of unique significance in the civil and political history of the people of these islands. Allow me also to express my esteem for the Parliament which has existed on this site for centuries and which has had such a profound influence on the development of participative government among...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, great britain, westminster hall

Possible Threat to Pope Emerges During Interreligious Meeting

09/17/2010 Comment

News has come in this afternoon that London police have arrested five men in relation to a potential threat against the Holy Father.

Details are few, but some reports say they are not British citizens but of Arab origin.

In a verbal statement to the press, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said the Vatican have complete trust in the police, there was no need to change plans and the police were taking the necessaary measures. The situation isn’t particulaly dangerous he said, adding that he remembered the situation was more dangerous in Sarajevo. “The Pope is happy about this trip and calm,” Fr. Lombardi said, and recalled the words the Pope made on the plane in which he said that...READ MORE

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Pope Offers Alternative to Celebrity Culture

09/17/2010 Comment

A nun waves a papal flag after Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, Scotland, Sept. 16. The pope was on a four-day visit to Great Britain. (CNS photo/Dylan Martinez, Reuters)

On his first morning in London, the Pope travelled to St. Mary’s University College, where he addressed educational leaders and students.

He spoke of the need for educators to teach with wisdom, and offered young students an antidote to a celebrity culture in which money, fame and career appear the only goals in life.

The Holy Father arrived a little late owing to logistical problems, and had earlier celebrated a private Mass in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Wimbledon. But the delay meant a large and excited crowd that had gathered outside the nunciature were able to cheer a little more until he left for the Catholic College in south west London.

St. Mary’s has a good...READ MORE

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Pope Arrives in Britain

09/16/2010 Comments (14)

The Holy Father has landed in Scotland and his state visit to Britain is well underway.

He was met at Edinburgh airport by the Duke of Edinburgh and was driven by motorcade to Holyroodhouse Palace. The streets near the palace were lined with well wishers.

During the national anthem of the United Kingdom, Benedict removed his zuchetto as a mark of respect.

In his speech to the Queen at Holyroodhouse Palace, the Pope stressed the deep Christian roots of the country from which so much good has been achieved. He recalled the great Christian figures of the past, the line of Christian monarchs, and figures such as William Wilberforce to Florence Nightingale, David Livingstone to Cardinal...READ MORE

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Scots Await Pope Benedict

09/15/2010 Comments (1)

A former Presbyterian church turned into a club called 'Sin' on Edinburgh's Cowgate street.

I’ve arrived in a blustery and sunny Edinburgh at the start of this eagerly anticipated papal visit to Britain which begins here tomorrow (Thursday).

But as I write in Zenit, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Queen had changed her mind and withdrawn the invitation. No Vatican flags are on display here (though these will no doubt come out tomorrow) and the only thing reminding you of the visit are notices of travel disruption.

This is not so surprising given that Scotland is the home of Presbyterianism. Edinburgh is also the birthplace of the 18th century empiricist David Hume, and the country as a whole only has a Catholic population of 667,000 - about 13% of the total.

But the...READ MORE

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Father Samir on Ground Zero Controversy

09/11/2010 Comments (108)

Earlier today I spoke about the controversies surrounding the 9/11 memorial this year with Father Samir Khalil Samir, the respected Jesuit and Egyptian scholar of Islam who teaches in Beirut and at the Pontifical Oriental Institute here in Rome. He gave this interesting analysis of the situation:

What are your views on the controversy over the Ground Zero mosque, or as it’s also been described, the Islamic cultural centre in New York?

I don’t have all the facts here, but the plan is to build a 15-storey centre and this is a Muslim project, even if it’s called a Cordoba centre and it’s for everyone and not only for Muslims. It is two blocks from Ground Zero with a mosque for 2,000 people...READ MORE

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Pope Sends Message to Great Britain

09/08/2010 Comment

In a message to the people of Great Britain ahead of his visit to the country next week, the Holy Father has said he hopes “more and more people will benefit” from the “gentle wisdom” of Cardinal Newman whom he’ll beatify on Sunday 19th. He also thanked the “countless people” who have been praying for the success of the visit, and for a “great outpouring of grace” upon the Church in the country.

Delivering the message at his General Audience this morning in the Paul VI hall, he said he was looking forward to meeting representatives from various sections of the British population, as well as civil and political leaders. He expressed his gratitude to Queen Elizabeth II and the Archbishop of...READ MORE

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About Edward Pentin

Edward Pentin
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Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Follow on Twitter @edwardpentin