.- In a joint press conference on Tuesday, the U.K. Government and the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Scotland, England and Wales welcomed Pope Benedict's upcoming visit, calling it an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen ties between the country and the Holy See. The Sept. 16-19 papal visit, which is the first to take place in the U.K. since John Paul II's 1982 trip, was formally announced by Queen Elizabeth II on March 16.
The Pope's itinerary includes not only a formal reception by Her Majesty The Queen but also a trip to the West Midlands, where he will beatify the 19th century theologian and scholar Cardinal John Henry Newman.
Father Edoardo Cerrato, Procurator General of the Oratorian Confederation, welcomed the news of the Sept. 2010 beatification and wrote a letter to all Congregations of the Oratory.
“Newman belongs to those who seek the truth through the gift of human reason but illumined by the light of faith; and the Oratory of S. Philip, that counts Newman among its brothers, is profoundly aware of the great richness that, in Newman, has been given to her,” Fr. Cerrato said on Tuesday.
“It is my sincere wish for the whole Oratorian family that the approaching Beatification of this great Son of S. Philip Neri and master of all those who are ’seeking an informed orientation and sure guidance amid the uncertainties of the modern world’ (Pope Paul VI), will be the occasion of a deeper – and fruitful – knowledge of his thought, and of the example left by his life.”
Also included in the papal visit are a public mass in Glasgow, a prayer vigil in London, an event focusing on education and a visit to the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. The Holy Father will also pray with other Church leaders at Westminster Abbey.
Additional details of the Pope’s itinerary will be announced at a later date.