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Pope to see Queen, beatify Newman

Benedict's September trip will focus on inter-Church dialogue

16 March, 14:54
Pope to see Queen, beatify Newman (ANSA) - Vatican City, March 16 - Pope Benedict XVI will see Queen Elizabeth II and beatify England's most famous convert to Catholicism, Cardinal John Henry Newman, during his visit to England and Scotland this September, British authorities and bishops announced Tuesday in London.

The pope will meet the queen at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the official royal residence in Scotland, while he will beatify Newman, an Anglican churchman who converted to Rome in the mid-19th century, at a public Mass at Coventry in the West Midlands.

Benedict will also visit Birmingham, Britain's second city where Newman worked and studied, as well as Glasgow in Scotland, where he will say Mass.

After leading a prayer vigil and a gathering about education in London, the pontiff will also see the Archbishop of Canterbury and pray with other Christian leaders, in a gathering seen as particularly significant given the Vatican's recent opening of a special department for groups of Anglicans to 'return to Rome'.

The theme of Benedict's trip will be "inter-Church and interreligious relations," the English, Scottish and Welsh authorities said.

During his visit, Benedict will also make a speech to representatives of civil society at Westminster Hall, where Sir Thomas More, England's first saint, was tried and condemned to death in 1535 for his loyalty to the Vatican against King Henry VII. More and Sir John Fisher, another dissident against King Henry's break with Rome, were canonised in 1935.

Should Newman follow them he would be England's most recent saint.

Benedict's visit will be the first official visit by a pope to the United Kingdom, the authorities pointed out, since the late John Paul II's visit in 1982 was a pastoral one.

The pope's full schedule will be published online "shortly before" his visit at www.thepapalvisit.org.uk.

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