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00Thursday, July 15, 2010 12:12 AM
It may be a good idea to start posting news and views here now. Please look on other threads, such as News About Benedict, for the news so far.
00Thursday, July 15, 2010 8:32 PM
I heard this whispered today. I'm trying to remember if he's used the national airline of every other country he's visited. Can anyone with a better memory than mine help out with this?

I'd like to suggest that he uses Easy Jet for the return journey! He won't have to pay [as I do] for the food and there will be a good selection of food and drinks. The flight attendants are always kind and helpful and the planes are on time. I've flown with B A, but am not keen on it and the free food is grotty. I liked Alitalia, though. Oh and Easy Jet will fly him into Ciampino, where he usually lands on return. [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828]

Seriously, I suppose he will fly Alitalia both ways.
00Thursday, July 15, 2010 8:40 PM
Thank you for this, Teresa. I've taken the liberty of pasting it here, because I've no idea of your source. Mary

A guide to Pope Benedict XVI'S
visit to Birmingham

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Birmingham as part of a four-day visit to the UK in September 2010.

The Pope will lead a public open-air Mass in Birmingham's Cofton Park on Sunday 19th September 2010.

Public guidelines have been put in place by organisers of the papal visit to ensure as many people as possible can see the Pope.

Safety and security will be the main priority during the high profile Birmingham visit.


How to attend
Over 65,000 people are expected at the open-air mass at Cofton Park.
To attend the public Mass by Pope Benedict XVI at Cofton Park on Sunday, 19 September you will need to speak to your local parish priest as soon as possible. The priest will then get in touch with their local diocesan papal visit co-ordinator and arrange for you to join a parish group.

Each diocese in England and Wales has appointed a local co-ordinator as the key channel for passing on information on how people can attend the public Mass events that will take place during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the UK.

Group attendance ONLY*
Individuals cannot attend the Crofton Park public mass without being part of a pilgrim group from a local Catholic parish. Each group will be assigned a pilgrim leader, the leader will be present at the security points and will be able to vouch for the members of the group.

*[I do not know if this is an advisable policy at all. It makes the Pope's Mass an exclusively English/Welsh parishioners' event, and that is not right. If I were a Catholic travelling in Birmingham at the time of the Pope's visit and wished to attend the Mass - and were prepared to trudge miles to get to Cofton Park - how are they going to stop me?]

Mass entrance
Each person will receive a pilgrim pack containing a pilgrim pass that will allow them entrance into Cofton Park.

Travelling to Cofton Park
Travel to Cofton Park is by coach ONLY. This is to ensure pilgrims can be accounted for easily and will also help people pass through security quickly and comfortably.

Contact your local parish priest to register your interest. They will liaise with your local diocesan papal visit co-ordinator who will then arrange a coach through the central papal visit office.

Other itinerary dates
In addition to the Cofton Park event, Pope Benedict XVI will be holding a public open-air Mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow on 16th September and an open air prayer vigil in London's Hyde Park on Saturday 18th September.

He will also travel the streets of Edinburgh and London in the Popemobile during his UK visit - finalised routes will be released in due course.

For more information about the Pope Benedict XVI UK visit visit the Papal visit website .

Stay tuned into BBC WM 95.6FM and DAB for all the local news and information on Pope Benedict XVI visit to Birmingham.

The official papal visit site contains the ff general information on...

How can I see
the Pope in the UK?

This simple question and answer article should help you make your interest known if you wish to attend one of the public events of Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Journey to the UK.

What public events can I attend during the Papal Visit?

There are three public celebrations taking place between 16-19 September:

Bellahouston Park, Glasgow
16 September
Mass - Afternoon

Hyde Park, London
18 September
Prayer Vigil - Evening

Cofton Park, Birmingham
19 September
Beatification of Cardinal Newman - Morning

Will there be any other opportunities to see the Holy Father?

In addition to the public events, there will be opportunities to see the Holy Father in Edinburgh and London travelling the streets in the Popemobile. The finalised routes will be released in due course.

How do I register my interest?

Speak to your local parish priest as soon as possible. He should be in touch with his Diocesan Papal Visit Co-ordinator and can explain how you can join a parish group.

Can I travel to an event on my own?

No, unfortunately not. You must be attached to a group from a Catholic parish to attend one of the public celebrations. Each group will be assigned a PILGRIM LEADER. The Pilgrim Leader will be present at the security points and will be able to vouch for the members of their group.

How will I gain access to the venue?

Each pilgrim will receive a PILGRIM PACK. This will contain a PILGRIM PASS. This pass will allow you to enter the park for the public celebration.

How do I travel to Birmingham for the Beatification of Cardinal Newman?

Travel to Cofton Park in Birmingham is by coach only. This is to ensure pilgrims can be accounted for easily and it will help you pass through security quickly and comfortably. Again, contact your local parish priest to register your interest. He will liaise with your Diocesan Papal Visit Co-ordinator who will then arrange a coach through the central Papal Visit office.

How do I travel to London for the Hyde Park Prayer Vigil?

Pilgrims will need to use public transport to attend the Hyde Park Prayer Vigil on 18 September. Again, you will need to be attached to a parish group with a Pilgrim Leader.

Teresa has asked within this item why she couldn't get into the Birmingham Mass on her own. We've been told that we need a ticket and a pass to show we are with a group and we must stay with the group. I think this is for security reasons and I'm perfectly happy with that - Papa's safety is my main concern. Also, I think Cofton Park holds limited numbers. At first I intended to go to London and hole up in an hotel near Westminster Cathedral for the duration, but then I thought better of it. [SM=g27825] [SM=g27825]
00Friday, July 16, 2010 6:10 AM
Re airlines ...

Usually, the Holy Father flies Al Italia TO the country he visits and the host country USUALLY supplies a plane for the return trip. Lately, though, some countries have not provided a plane and so Papa flies Al Italia home once again.

Do you think Vatican City can afford an SCV1 for Papa? I guess not, did you see the fiscal report where it's still in the red although donations are up?

00Friday, July 16, 2010 6:28 AM

Re airlines

"...and they will bear him up on eagles' wings..."


00Saturday, July 17, 2010 7:09 PM

Monsignor Marini and two Vatican officials visited Cofton Park, Birmingham on July 7th and then went on to Scotland and back to London to visit the other venues.

[Photos from Diocese of Birmingham website]

00Monday, July 19, 2010 11:24 PM
From the NC Register
Is the Pope In Danger?
Share BY MATTHEW ARCHBOLD Monday, July 19, 2010 6:02 AM Comments (27)

I’ve been saying recently that Pope Benedict XVI is heading into enemy territory in “Post-Christian” England. Sadly, I may be more right than I imagined.

A member of British Parliament says he fears violence at an open air mass with Pope Benedict XVI after an Islamic publication called Muslims to attend the Mass to convert Catholics and “tell the Pope in no uncertain terms what Muslims think of his evil slanders against the last Prophet of God and his message.”

I think it’s the “in no uncertain terms” that’s making some a little nervous. Oh, the same publication also called the Pope “evil.”

The Islamic Standard writes:

“A change of venue gives Birmingham Muslims a chance to tell the Pope just what they think of him after his insults against the Prophet Muhammad… As well as this chance to challenge these evil words of this evil Pope, over 80,000 Catholics from all over the UK are also expected to attend the open air ceremony….We hope Muslims can be there to meet him as well and to also call people away from the shirk of worshipping the dead like the Catholics do, calling out to them for help and intercession…The Birmingham event however brings the pope and who worship him into direct contact with the the large Muslim population of Birmingham and offers them the perfect chance to learn about Islam and for the Muslims to forbid the Munkar of worshipping dead men and following the dictates of the sodomite child molesting Church of Rome…

We at the Islamic Standard hope the Muslims of Birmingham take this duel opportunity to give Da’wah to these 80,000 travelling disbelievers, whilst at the same time telling the Pope in no uncertain terms what Muslims think of his evil slanders against the last Prophet of God and his message.

MP Khalid Mahmood fears that this call may be an incitement to violence. He’‘s quoted in British newspapers saying: “These supposed Muslims are doing all they can to incite violence. Sadly, if Muslims do turn up and preach at Catholics it could easily turn to violence…The police should look at the comments on this site because they can only serve to increase tensions and perhaps even cause riots on the day.”

This news is especially worrisome in that, according to YNET news,: eight residents of the northern city of Nazareth were arrested on weapons charges and discussing murdering Jews, soldiers, and the Pope.

Let’s hope and pray that all turns out well for Pope Benedict XVI in England.

Anyone else starting to think that “Post-Christian Europe” might actually mean “Anti-Christan Europe?”
00Monday, July 19, 2010 11:51 PM
British government removes online petition protesting pope's visit

By Simon Caldwell
Catholic News Service

LONDON (CNS) -- The British government has removed from its website a petition protesting Pope Benedict XVI's Sept. 16-19 visit to England and Scotland.

The petition had urged the British prime minister to dissociate the government from the pope's "intolerant views" and not to support the state visit financially. The secularist coalition Protest the Pope sponsored the petition, which had attracted more than 12,300 signatures.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who drafted the petition, said July 16 that the government had removed the petition three months before it was due to close, and that it had not allowed signatures since April.

"This looks like an attempt to prevent the petition from embarrassing the government by gaining a large number of signatures in the run-up to Pope Benedict's visit," Tatchell said in a statement.

"The prime minister's office originally agreed that the petition would remain open until the pope arrived in the U.K.," he said.

Petitions have been part of the tradition of British democracy since at least the 19th century and until recently were usually delivered in person by the petitioners to either the prime minister's residence on Downing Street or to Parliament.

Under the country's last government, however, petitioners were encouraged to launch online petitions using the government's own website. These have the benefit of allowing signatories to add their names electronically with the guarantee that the government will issue a formal response within a set time frame.

The Protest the Pope petition had criticized Pope Benedict for his alleged "intolerant opposition to women's rights, gay equality, embryonic stem-cell research and condom use to prevent the spread of HIV."

It urged the prime minister to rebuke the pope for allegedly covering up the clerical sex abuse of children and, according to the petition, his "rehabilitation of the Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson, and his plan to make a saint of Hitler's pope, Pius XII, who refused to publicly condemn the Holocaust."

In its response, posted on the prime minister's website, the government explained it would fund only the state aspects of the visit, with the Catholic Church meeting the costs of pastoral events.

"There are issues on which we disagree" with the Catholic Church, the statement said. "However, we believe that Pope Benedict's visit will provide an opportunity to strengthen and build on our relationship with the Holy See in areas where we share interests and goals and to discuss those issues on which our positions differ."

The Protest the Pope coalition is planning a march and rally in London to coincide with the pope's Sept. 18 prayer vigil in London's Hyde Park.
00Wednesday, July 21, 2010 4:12 PM

Priest in English diocese sees ‘great excitement’ ahead of papal visit to UK

London, England, Jul 21, 2010 / 03:07 am (CNA).- A priest in England’s Catholic Diocese of Clifton says the upcoming papal visit has caused “great excitement” among those in the diocese, especially as more than 4,000 of its people will be able to see and hear Pope Benedict XVI. He also noted a “growing awareness” about how unique the beatification of Cardinal Newman will be.

Fr. Michael McAndrew, papal visit coordinator for the diocese, described the growing enthusiasm in an interview published on the website of the papal visit and summarized in a press release from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW).

Fr. McAndrew said that one third of the Diocese of Clifton’s priests have said they would like to be considered to concelebrate at John Henry Cardinal Newman’s Beatification Mass. Thirty-five pilgrim leaders have volunteered to lead each pilgrim group, which the priest called “a really positive response.”

The Pope will not visit the west coast diocese, but it has been allocated 2,300 pilgrim passes for the Sept. 18 prayer vigil at Hyde Park in London and another 1,700 pilgrim passes for the Beatification Mass at Cofton Park in Birmingham on Sept. 19.

The priest said the vigil promises to be “a moment of profound Christian witness.” It will begin with a procession of 3,000 people, led by the young. Participants will carry banners through central London to offer “a visible witness of the Catholic communities in our country.”

The Holy Father will preach and pray at the vigil in the early evening.

“Pope Benedict has a great gift for breaking open the Word of God and teaching the Gospel in a very simple and profound way. That's something people are looking forward to very much,” Fr. McAndrew noted.

He also described a “growing awareness” that Cardinal Newman’s beatification is “a unique event.”

“It's the first beatification that's ever happened in England,” Fr. McAndrew explained. “It's also the case that Pope Benedict doesn't usually preside at beatifications - but he's making an exception for us.”

According to the priest, he made the exception “because of his great, personal love and interest in John Henry Newman and also his appreciation of his writings and the huge influence that this great Englishman has had on the whole worldwide Church.”

“I think what is really capturing the imagination is that the Pope comes among us as a pilgrim. We are invited to take part in this event in the same spirit - we travel as pilgrims,” he continued, calling this a reminder that Catholics’ “journey of faith” is “lived in the communion of the Church.”

In Fr. McAndrew’s view, the Mass of Beatification will remind Catholics of two things: its celebration by the Pope will remind them of his leadership of the Catholic Church, and that the Church is not only earthly but stretches “into eternal life, into Heaven.”

“Pope Benedict is not coming to the Diocese of Clifton but it seems to me Clifton will go to see him and hear him and we are preparing very enthusiastically to welcome Pope Benedict to our land,” he concluded.

The website for the papal visit to the U.K. is www.thepapalvisit.org.uk

00Friday, July 23, 2010 9:52 PM

Tens of thousands to attend Pope's Birmingham Mass

BBC News.
July 23, 2010

Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend a special Mass when Pope Benedict XVI visits Birmingham.

He will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman at the event at Cofton Park on 19 September.

Pilgrims will be asked to make a £25 contribution towards the use of the park and a "pilgrim pack", the Catholic Church in England and Wales said.

The Mass is at the end of the Pope's four-day UK visit. It will be attended by more than 1,000 priests.

It is the first official Papal visit to the UK since 1982.

Pilgrims from around the world are expected to attend.

'Momentous occasion'

The ceremony will bring Cardinal Newman a step closer to becoming the first non-martyred English saint since the Reformation.

Peter Jennings, press secretary to the Archbishop of Birmingham, said: "It is a momentous occasion for this Pontificate, for the Pope to actually beatify anybody, and it is a tremendous honour for the Catholic Church in England and Wales."

Cardinal Newman, who founded Birmingham Oratory, and who was known for his work with poor people, died in 1890.

There has been a growing campaign for the cardinal, who converted to Roman Catholicism in 1845, to be elevated to sainthood.

A miracle attributed to him has been recognised by Pope Benedict. But a second miracle is still required before he can be canonized as a saint.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said the £25 cost to attend the Mass could be paid by parishes, fundraising or by benefactors' donations.

"This is about a pilgrim's journey. The idea is that they are representatives of their parishes," he said.

"We want to encourage the idea of a pilgrimage and going collectively. We want to move away from the view that you are buying a ticket and this ticket gives you access to a concert."

The Pope will become first pilgrim to pray at a new shrine to the Blessed John Henry Newman.


Pope's beatification mass to attract 70,000: church

July 23, 2010

LONDON — Up to 70,000 people are expected to attend a special mass in Birmingham when Pope Benedict XVI beatifies a 19th century theologian in September, the church said Friday.

The mass in Birmingham on September 19 will come at the end of the pope's four-day visit to Britain which will also include a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II.

It will mark the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, a Protestant who converted to Catholicism and died in 1890.

Benedict XVI will be only the second pope to visit Britain since King Henry VIII split with Rome in 1534, leading to the formation of the Anglican church.

Pope John Paul II visited Britain, where over four million of some 61 million inhabitants are Catholic, in 1982.

00Friday, July 23, 2010 10:40 PM

Raphael: From the Vatican to the Banks of the Thames

00Saturday, July 24, 2010 6:40 AM

London buses to carry female ordination advert during pope's visit

Catholic group's initiative will see the slogan 'Pope Benedict Ordain Women Now' appear on 10 buses throughout September

Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
Thursday 22 July 2010 16.16 BST

In a move designed to coincide with the pope's visit to Britain in September, London buses are to carry posters calling for the ordination of women.

The initiative, from the UK group Catholic Women's Ordination (CWO), will see buses carrying the slogan "Pope Benedict Ordain Women Now".

According to the weekly Catholic magazine the Tablet, CWO has paid about £10,000 for the posters to appear on 10 buses for a month from August 30.

The pope will be in the UK from September 16, spending two days in the capital, and the posters will appear on routes that go past Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Hall. Both venues feature on the papal itinerary.

Last Thursday the Vatican issued sweeping changes to its laws on sexual abuse, extending the period in which charges can be filed against priests in church courts and broadening the use of fast-track procedures to defrock them. But while the document dealt mostly with paedophilia, it also stated that the "attempted ordination of a woman" to the priesthood was one of the most serious crimes in church law.

The mention of both issues in the same breath caused anger within some groups, especially those in favour of women priests, and prompted a Vatican official to clarify its position, saying the crimes were of a different nature and gravity.

The outcry boosted interest in the movement for female Catholic priests, with CWO receiving donations and dozens of membership inquiries.

One member, Pat Brown, said a press conference would be held during the papal visit at which the group would make its case for ordaining women.

"We love the church and don't want to be disruptive. We are trying to get support and would love to have five minutes with the pope. We are very concerned about what is going on in the church at the moment."

Buses have become the preferred vehicle for believers and nonbelievers to promote their cause to the wider public. The trend started in January 2009, when a group of atheists arranged for an "upbeat and positive" message to counter slogans of hellfire and damnation from some churches.

Organisers exceeded their modest £5,500 fundraising target, receiving more than £150,000, and their success encouraged atheist and humanist groups around the world to carry out similar campaigns.

The advert, the idea of writer Ariane Sherine, bore the words "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life". It was one of the top 10 most complained about adverts of that year.

A parody advert soon followed from the Christian Party, which claimed: "There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life".

It drew 1,045 objections, making it the fourth most complained about advert since records at the Advertising Standards Authority began.

00Saturday, July 24, 2010 4:25 PM
Here we go again!!!! The use of the same document to enforce action against priests who abuse minors AND to enforce action against any attempted ordination of women, does not mean they are of equal importance. The trouble is that the Vatican assumes we are going to accept that it's just two things in one document, but sadly some people can't do that.

I'm not surprised that it's The Tablet that has publicised this ridiculous thing about posters on London Buses. There was no mention of it in the Catholic Herald. Surely it will be stopped before it happens!

@benedetto.fan: Thank you for that lovely video of the Vatican tapestries.
00Saturday, July 24, 2010 4:37 PM

Surprise! Surprise! To Pat Brown, Tina Beattie and all those sad women, someone else has beaten you to it! I wonder who it can be!!!!!!!

[SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828]
Message to them: Try smiling, it may never happen! Actually, it won't happen - so forget it!
00Thursday, July 29, 2010 6:09 AM

UK official says pope's September visit will be costly, but important

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
July 28, 2010

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom just seven weeks away, the British government official working on organizing the trip said the pope's visit will cost taxpayers more than originally foreseen, but it would be an important opportunity to highlight and promote cooperation on issues the British care about.

Vatican Radio interviewed Sir Chris Patten, the government's papal trip coordinator and the former governor of Hong Kong, July 26.

The pope is scheduled to visit Scotland and England Sept. 16-19, meeting Queen Elizabeth, Anglican and other religious leaders, celebrating public Masses and beatifying Cardinal John Henry Newman.

A detailed program for the visit still had not been published when Patten was interviewed, which led to speculation that the planning had hit a snag.

Patten said he had been appointed to coordinate the government's part in the planning because after a new British prime minister was elected, "we were in danger of falling behind" in organizing the visit.

"I think at the outset, and this is no criticism, people had perhaps underestimated the complexity involved in fitting together the state visit aspect and the pastoral aspects as if they were a seamless whole," he told Vatican Radio.

"It's incomparably more difficult arranging the state visit of the Holy Father than arranging the state visit, I suspect, of even President (Barack) Obama. President Obama doesn't go out and meet 80,000-100,000 people at an open-air venue," he said.

Patten said he expected the four-day papal visit to cost British taxpayers more than $15 million, but he said April's one-day summit of the leaders of the world's largest national economies cost British taxpayers more than $30 million.

He said the pope's visit is important for Catholics and other religious believers, but "I also think it gives us the opportunity to demonstrate that the government of a largely non-Catholic country still has a formidably large agenda to work with the Catholic Church on issues of consensus," particularly regarding human rights and international development aid.

Patten, a Catholic, said the pope's visit also could contribute to the government's efforts to strengthen the relationships among British faith groups.

Several individuals and groups have announced plans to stage protests while the pope is in England, and Patten said that peaceful protests would be allowed since "we live in a free society."

However, he said, the government wants "to ensure not only the security of the Holy Father, but also that the pastoral events are not disrupted, because that would give serious offense."

Patten said intolerance or even outright hostility toward religion is often directed more at the Catholic Church than other faith communities "because of the Catholic Church's prominence and longevity and self-confidence in asserting some basic truths."

"But I don't worry too much about that," he said. "I think we have to stand our ground, recognizing when we do so that we've often been intolerant to others ourselves in the past. We should be arguing that it's ironic that some secularists -- not all -- are being as intolerant of church groups as church groups were of them in the past."

One of the challenges that members of every religion face in Britain, a challenge the pope will share, "is getting across the message that religion is not a problem, that faith is, for many people, the way they cope with the challenges of living in the 21st century," he said.

00Thursday, July 29, 2010 8:22 PM
Well, I've paid my £30. Now we await news of the various souvenirs we'll be able to buy - T shirts and sweatshirts!!!! Yeah!!!!!!!!
00Sunday, August 1, 2010 8:16 PM

Church 'oversubscribed' for Pope's visit to Birmingham

BBC News
August 1, 2010

The Catholic Church in Birmingham said it is oversubscribed with parishioners wanting to go to next month's Papal Mass in the city.

About 14,000 of some 70,000 tickets have been allocated to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham for Pope Benedict XVI's visit.

Pilgrims have just three more days to apply to attend, a spokesman said.

Parishes will then decide on ways of selecting people, which could include picking names from a hat.

But the archdiocese said some people would unfortunately be left disappointed.

The archdiocese covers more than 3,000 square miles (4,827 sq km), taking in counties such as Staffordshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

The Pope will hold a mass in Cofton Park to beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman.

00Monday, August 2, 2010 7:03 PM

Pope to meet Scots victims of clergy abuse during visit to Britain

Exclusive by Tom Hamilton
Aug. 2, 2010

SCOTS victims of abusive nuns and priests are expected to meet the Pope next month.

Organisers of the visit by Pope Benedict XVI have confirmed the matter is being seriously considered.

In the last two years, during visits to Malta, Australia and the United States, the Pontiff has held private meetings with people who have been raped or abused by the clergy.

Last night, a senior Scottish Catholic church source said: "It is definitely under consideration."

Any meeting is likely to take place in England because the schedule for the Pope's one-day visit to Scotland is full.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, has already confirmed "careful consideration" is being made to hold a private meeting with victims during the visit.

Pain It emerged at the weekend that Scots victims would be included in such an event.

Archbishop Nichols said: "There will be, as you have seen in previous visits, careful consideration given to whether it is appropriate for the Pope to privately meet with people who have suffered abuse.

"It is not seen as a way to use those who have suffered - whose pain is intense and continuing - to satisfy some kind of public agenda or public curiosity."

The 83-year-old Pontiff will spend three days in England after his visit to Scotland on September 16.

During the trip, Pope Benedict will hold a mass for almost 100,000 people at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.

He will also attend a parade in Edinburgh.

00Monday, August 2, 2010 7:05 PM

Pope's UK trip merchandise goes on sale

BBC News
Aug. 2, 2010

Official merchandise and commemorative memorabilia to celebrate the Pope's visit to Britain has gone on sale.

Souvenirs include papal flags, baseball caps, a Swarovski bracelet, prayer cards, candles and T-shirts.

Pope Benedict XVI is due to visit Edinburgh, London and Glasgow - at the invitation of the Queen - during a four-day trip in September.

The Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Scotland, England and Wales appointed IVS Group the official merchandiser.

Merchandise on sale also include rosary beads, plates, jackets and key-rings.

T-shirts, which range from £15 to £20, include a beatification T-shirt with a retro-style picture of John Henry Newman and a black-and-white Pope Benedict T-shirt which features the Pontiff in profile.

Baseball caps cost £15, mugs are going for £8-£10 and a Swarovski bracelet will sell for £30.


The first official Papal visit to the UK has caused controversy in the UK because of the cost and the scandal surrounding child abuse within the Catholic Church.

Pope John Paul II made a purely pastoral visit in 1982, but Pope Benedict XVI's trip will combine both pastoral events and formal state business.

On the first day of his trip,16 September, the Pope is expected to meet the Queen at Holyrood House in Edinburgh.

The main event, a mass to beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, who died in 1890, will take place on 19 September at Cofton Park on the outskirts of Birmingham.

During the visit, the Pope will also make a speech to representatives from the worlds of politics, culture and business at Westminster Hall in London and make a public appearance on the Mall.

In July, the government said the cost to taxpayers of the Pope's visit could rise to £12m, up to £4m higher than previous figures. The trip will also cost the Catholic Church £7m.

00Tuesday, August 3, 2010 1:43 AM

Musical priests warm up for pope

Platinum-selling clergy trio to perform in Hyde Park during Benedict XVI's UK visit

Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
Monday 2 August 2010 21.25 BST

The Priests, a trio of clerics from Northern Ireland, are to headline a key event during Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK, performing in front of 80,000 people in Hyde Park, London.

The platinum-selling trio – brothers Eugene and Martin O'Hagan and their friend, David Delargy – have previously sung at the Vatican and gone head-to-head with Pope Benedict, a Classical Brit award nominee, in the album charts twice before.

The pope will be in the UK from 16 September, spending two days in London. Other artists lined up for his visit include Susan Boyle, who will perform in the mass at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, who will compere the London event. The venues are together expected to attract up to 300,000 people.

There are six million Catholics in England, Scotland and Wales and about 1.2 million attend mass every week. Papal appearances often have an element of showbusiness to them. In 2008 the US Conference of Catholic Bishops arranged performances by American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and jazz singer Harry Connick Jr, while the weekly Vatican audiences can resemble a variety show with their brass bands, pianists, jugglers and choristers.

Those unable to go to the performances during the papal visit will be able to watch online streaming of the events. People going to the parks face a "pay to pray" levy – £25 for the beatification of Cardinal Henry Newman in Birmingham, £10 for the vigil in Hyde Park, and £20 for the mass in Glasgow.

The money will finance transport costs and "pilgrim" packs of commemorative items. Passes to see the pope are only available through churches, which will decide whether they allocate on a lottery or first come, first served, basis. A church spokesman said: "There will clearly be more demand than supply. The pope wants to keep things simple. There is an acceptance of a limited timescale and there was never going to be the possibility for all Catholics to see him."

Organisers insist that nobody should feel compelled to part with more money. But one One parish website says money will also be collected at the time of allocation.

A Vatican spokesman said it was rare for anyone to have to pay to see Benedict. The Rev Federico Lombardi said that during the 2008 papal visit to the US tickets were free. Father Joseph Evans, writing in the Catholic Herald, said clergy were in an awkward position last May, after appealing to congregations to contribute to the costs of the visit while knowing that few among them would get to see the pope.

Most of the £5m so far raised through private and parish collections will pay for staging the public gatherings.

00Tuesday, August 3, 2010 11:01 PM


Link to the Walsingham Project and Crusade For England - particularly relevant at this time.
00Wednesday, August 4, 2010 11:50 AM

The shop on the official Papal Visit website is now open for business. And I must say all those T shirt designs tempt me! I've just ordered the mug and a couple of keyrings for the moment, but I doubt if I shall stop at that. The prices are inflated, but it's going to a good cause.

And some unofficial designs available in hoodies - I may get one of these, as it could be a bit chilly in the night and early morning.
00Monday, August 9, 2010 3:27 PM

The success of the Pope's visit matters to all of us

Telegraph View: Any attempts to humiliate the Pontiff during his visit would damage Britain.

Published: 7:51PM BST 06 Aug 2010

We are now little more than a month away from the first state visit to Britain by a Pope. On September 16, Benedict XVI will fly to Scotland, where he will be received by the Queen at Holyrood House. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, also met Her Majesty when he visited this country in 1982 – a historic meeting, but essentially a courtesy call during a pastoral visit to the Catholics of Britain. This time, the Queen will be playing the formal role of host to a fellow head of state, who is also the spiritual leader of a billion people. Pope Benedict XVI will be, to use the traditional phrase, the honoured guest of the British people. But will he be honoured – or will his enemies in public life use the opportunity to humiliate him?

One might imagine that this Pope would be safer from attack than his predecessor. Old-fashioned anti-Popery is not the force that it was in 1982, because the community of anti-papal fundamentalists has shrunk, along with the Christian community in general. But alongside religious indifference has arisen a strident secularism that actively despises Christianity. (On the whole it is too nervous to attack Islam.) According to this school of thought, Roman Catholicism is the most contemptible of Churches, and its leader, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the ideal target for criticism. Like millions of German men born in the 1920s, he was dragooned into the Hitler Youth and served in the German Army at the end of the Second World War. This allows his cruder critics to label him, libellously, as a Nazi.

His more sophisticated critics argue that, as a senior cardinal, he covered up child abuse. This charge – levelled obsessively by sections of the media – falls apart under scrutiny. Moreover, since taking office, Benedict XVI has done far more than John Paul II to address this scandal. Even so, a double misconception has taken hold. First, that the Pontiff is complicit in crimes of paedophilia; second, that in welcoming him here, the Government, and therefore the taxpayer, is turning a blind eye to wicked abuse.

It was Gordon Brown who initiated this state visit, but it falls to the current Prime Minister to ensure its success. Already David Cameron has saved it from organisational chaos by appointing Lord Patten of Barnes to co-ordinate the secular and religious aspects of the exercise. More needs to be done, however. Freedom of speech must be respected; but it would be wrong for the licence fee or any other public money to be used to pay for biased and mean-spirited attacks on the Pope. Both the BBC and the Government set great store by "celebrating other cultures". Benedict XVI's arrival is an opportunity to celebrate a culture that planted our Christian roots; for it was a Pope who sent St Augustine to Britain.

This state invitation does not require Anglicans and other Christians to recognise papal authority. But, as the Archbishop of Canterbury recognises, if Benedict XVI is greeted with hostility and manufactured scandals, then British Christianity as a whole will be weakened.

And, in the eyes of hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world, our national reputation will be damaged. The Pope's visit is more than a great event for Catholics: it is a test of Britain's professionalism, hospitality, tolerance and maturity.

00Tuesday, August 10, 2010 4:45 PM

All eyes on the Pope as he visits ‘Protestant Britannia’

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Pontiff’s audience with the Queen may prove to be a stepping stone to her planned visit to the Republic, says John Cooney.

Imagine dear Ireland as if it were a boat.

The prospect of its floundering would not be too remote.

And as the boat goes under to be lost beyond all hope,

From the deck you will hear 'God Save the Queen',

From the bridge, 'Long Live the Pope'.

This piece of doggerel encapsulates the sectarian divisions that have scarred relations between Ulster Protestants and Irish Catholics ever since the 16th-Century Reformation.

On a global scale, Britain, the foremost Protestant nation through the rabid religiosity of the English and the Scots, mobilised its empire in aggressive opposition to papal power, while Catholic Ireland spawned its own spiritual diaspora by exporting generations of priests and people to the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

In the perspective of this fire and dungeon history, it is a stunning turnaround that Pope Benedict has selected 'Protestant Britannia' ahead of 'Catholic Ireland' for an official state visit next month.

Even more remarkably, Pope Benedict will meet his host, Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Anglican Church of England, in Edinburgh, the capital of Presbyterianism.

That the Queen, a constitutional monarch, is meeting the Pontiff in Scotland rather than in her native England, may prove to be a stepping stone toward her planned trip to the Republic.

The warmth of the reception of Scottish Catholics to the spectacle of Queen Elizabeth welcoming Pope Benedict will be a weather-gauge for the timing of a Royal visit to Ireland.

While the organisers expect a good crowd to attend the papal open-air Mass in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park, the event will be hard put to generate the excitement that greeted Pope John Paul II when he took Scotland by storm in 1982.

In 1982, there was a generous allocation of tickets for Catholics in Ireland who wanted to travel to Glasgow for a second viewing of the Polish Pontiff whom they had lionised during his 1979 visit here.

However, this time, a modest allocation of some 2,500 'pilgrim passes' has been allocated to Catholics in Northern Ireland for the more sedate German Pontiff.

But it is expected that once Armagh receives its allocation, tickets from the autonomous Episcopal Conference of Scotland will be distributed as evenly as possible among the 26 dioceses to emphasise the all-Ireland character of the Irish Bishops' Conference.

A different matter may be the English leg of Pope Benedict's four-day visit. England and Wales have their own joint Conference of Bishops which, though it liaises regularly with its Irish and Scottish counterparts, has assigned tickets only to English and Welsh parishes.

And it remains to be seen if the heavy security surrounding the Pontiff will frustrate secularists from carrying out threats to have Pope Benedict arrested to face prosecution from victims of clerical child abuse. Bishop Philip Tartaglia, who heads the Communications Commission in Scotland, expects "the dying embers" of the child abuse scandal to be "fanned into flames" by the media.

Fraught as the visit will be from the spectres of secularisation in England and sectarianism in Scotland, veteran journalist Bill Heaney predicts Catholics in Britain will turn out in large numbers to give Pope Benedict as warm a welcome as they did for John Paul in 1982.

The reception in Britain will be monitored closely by the Irish bishops as a trial run for achieving their ambition to have the Pontiff in Dublin in 2012 for the International Eucharistic Congress.

00Friday, August 13, 2010 12:19 AM

Page on the official Papal Visit website, showing the CD which is to be sent out to pilgrims on September 6th.

Two MP3 tracks are on the page and can be downloaded. I can't say the music inspired me; it strikes me as being a bit mournful. I prefer Jesus Christ You Are My Life and Wer Glaubt Ist Nie Allein. I think you've got to have something which rocks on this sort of CD. Another track is Panis Angelicus, which is all right, but has been overdone in recent years. I'd have preferred Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris Hostia. I've recently downloaded God Bless The Pope - if I burn it to a CD will it be played on the coach? Yeah, man!! Thanks to benedetto.fan who posted the video with this great hymn!
00Sunday, August 15, 2010 7:16 PM

Taken this morning with my Vatican City flag. Julia, Father Bob and....well, you can see who it is!!!!!! This pic is for the local paper.
I thought I'd lost a bit of weight. Must be something wrong with my camera! [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824]
00Sunday, August 15, 2010 11:37 PM

oh mary, voll kraus, lucky girl! but what does "delegation" mean? does it mean that only this little group is going to croton park? no, that is not true, isn't it?

00Monday, August 16, 2010 6:43 AM

Great pic, Mary

...and you have lost weight. Can't wait till you get to see Papa in Britain. [SM=x40794]

00Monday, August 16, 2010 8:23 AM
Great Pics!
You look wonderful Mary! Say, is there a link where one can order one of those shirts? The Joseph Ratzinger one and the Papa Benny one are uber cute!!!

00Monday, August 16, 2010 1:59 PM
Thanks for all the remarks and for being kind about my figure!!!!

We are a small parish so it's only the three of us going from here, but altogether there are about forty from the deanery and we'll be travelling together.

Bood: The link for those hoodies etc. is www.catholicswithattitude.com and the official souvenir T shirts and sweatshirts can be bought at www.thepapalvisit.org.uk [these are horrendously expensive!]
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