The Pope touches down in UK for tour

Thursday September 16, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in Edinburgh in what is the first papal visit to the UK in 28 years.

Waiting to greet the Pontiff on the tarmac was the Duke of Edinburgh, Lord Patten, and 30 members of the honour guard from the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

After meeting with the Queen at Holyrood House and touring Edinburgh, the Pope will be performing an open-air mass in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.

Over the next four days, his itinerary includes visits to London and Birmingham where he will celebrate the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

Invited to the UK by the Queen rather than the Catholic Church, the Pope’s trip is the first to be designated a state visit. 

The visit is not without controversy, however. Protesters have planned demonstrations across the country claiming that it attacks equal rights and promotes discrimination.

A further shadow came after a senior advisor to the Pope made comments comparing the UK to a “third world country”. Cardinal Walter Kasper has subsequently pulled out of the tour.

The trip has been welcomed by others, though, with Prime Minister David Cameron saying it's "a very special four days, not just for our six million Catholics, but for many people of faith right across Britain".

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