Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the UK

Pope Benedict's state visit to the UK 16-19 Sept. seems to have gone rather well and certainly better than many critics may have wished. Much of the focus of what he had to say was on the role of faith in secular society – the bottom line being 'marginalise it at your peril'!

On Friday 17 Sept. the Pope joined the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, for a ecumenical Evening Prayer service and they prayed together at the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey. (St Edward is a Saint in both churches, martyred before the reformation). The text of the Archbishop's address can be found here. The Archbishop then gave an interview with Vatican Radio about relations with the Roman Catholic Church which can be read and heard here.

The highlight of the visit was the Beatification of Cardinal John Newman. In his homily the Pope made reference that today is also the date chosen to commerate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives “to rid the world of an evil ideology.” His homily and the other speeches from the visit can be read on the official Papal Visit Website.

The Bishop in Europe, Geoffrey Rowell, is something of an expert on John Newman and participated in the Radio 4 Sunday Programme which discussed the visit. The broadcast can be heard on the BBC iPlayer until 26th September.

Bishop David gives some reflections on the ecumenical aspects of the visit in his Eurobishop blog entries for 17th and 19th September.