Despite much opposition, Benedict will go to Great Britain in September.
“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,” the Pope Benedict’s spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said today in Rome.
The Pope will start the trip by visiting the Queen “at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh,” in Scotland, Lombardi said in a statement.
The pontiff will also “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,” the statement continued. The Holy Father will “participate at an ecumenical
celebration in Westminster Abbey, and preside at a Eucharist celebration 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.”
“Cor ad cor loquitur”
The theme chosen for the papal visit to England is “Heart Speaks Unto Heart,” Cardinal Newman’s motto. The choice reflects the hope that the hearts of many will be touched by Pope’s heart, his words and actions, during this trip.
The Scottish bishops’ conference has announced the choice of a logo for the Pope’s daylong visit to their country: “The Hope Which Never Disappoints Is Jesus Christ.”
Following his arrival at Edinburgh airport on September 16, the Pope will be driven to Holyrood Palace where he will be welcomed by Her Majesty the Queen. The Pope will then travel through the center of Edinburgh in the “Popemobile,” and the Scottish bishops are encouraging “as many people as possible” to attend and line the Pope’s route and to attend the public Mass in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park.
Anger and Outrage
As the trip goes nearer, we will be reporting in greater detail on what the Pope is likely to say, and on the opposition he is likely to face.
What is certain already is that many in Great Britain are already preparing to mock and jeer the Pope, not to welcome him, in part due to the sexual abuse scandals which have so tarnished the image of the Church, and in part due to opposition to the Church’s traditional teachings on morality, especially regarding homosexuality, abortion, divorce and euthanasia, now widely rejected by secular society.