Aide: UK Awaits Benedict XVI

Reflects on Highly Anticipated Trip

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 14, 2010 ( Benedict XVI’s visit to the United Kingdom is one of the Pontiff’s most anticipated international trips to date, says a Vatican spokesman.

In an editorial in the latest edition of the weekly program «Octava Dies» of the Vatican Television Center, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, affirmed that «the expectations and interest of British society is growing,» despite some «noisy but always marginal manifestations of dissent.»

The Holy Father leaves for Scotland on Thursday, where he will greet Queen Elizabeth II. The culmination of the journey will be on Sunday in Birmingham where the Pontiff will preside at the beatification Mass of Cardinal John Henry Newman.
«Last Wednesday the Pope expressed his gratitude for the invitation received, because he is aware of the commitment and care with which not only Her Majesty and the government, but also the Anglican primate — the archbishop of Canterbury — and, of course, the entire Catholic Church in England, Wales and Scotland are preparing the numerous planned meetings,» said Father Lombardi.
«Confirmed, in fact, is the perception that the great religious and moral authority of the Pope will make an important, specific, serene, positive and constructive contribution of guidance for the great challenges of today’s world,» he added. «The Pope’s meeting with the top representatives of institutions and civil society in historic Westminster Hall will certainly represent one of the culminating moments of the trip.»
However, according to Father Lombardi, «it will be in the beatification of Cardinal Newman that the message of this visit will reach full meaning.»

«This Englishman, he said, «whom the Pope has described as ‘truly great,’ rich in ‘kind wisdom’ and ‘example of integrity and holiness of life,’ who with his writings and works is source of inspiration for the Church and society in so many parts of the world, embodies in the most convincing way the fascinating fruit of the profound synthesis between the Christian faith and the British spirit and its permanent fruitfulness for the world of today and of tomorrow.»

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