Fr. Lombardi: Vatican entourage calm despite possible terrorist plot

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi speaks to the press at St. Mary's University College
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi speaks to the press at St. Mary's University College


The Holy Father and those accompanying him on the U.K. trip are "totally calm" in spite of the news that five arrests were made because of a possible terrorist plot. Fr. Federico Lombardi said that the trip will go on as before.

On the second day of the U.K. papal visit, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said things continue to go "very well." He spoke to journalists gathered at St. Mary's University College about the morning's events.

Reviewing the meeting with religious in the university chapel, the outdoor encounter with several thousand youth that had great reach across Britain and the meeting of 200 interfaith leaders, Fr. Lombardi said that the Pope is "very pleased" with how things went.

BBC had broken the story earlier in the day that five non-British citizens were arrested under suspicion of planning a terrorist act. Speculation continues to circulate on whether or not the Pope was the object of their plans.

Answering questions from the media about the arrest, he said he has "no idea" if there is a link between them and the visit. Asked by reporters why Vatican officials were told about it if it has nothing to do with the trip, he responded that "it is normal" for them to be informed about possible speculations so they can respond to the press.

He said, "we don't have any particular preoccupation, we are totally calm. The Pope is happy and we go on with the same joy as before."

Alexander DesForges of the U.K.'s Catholic Communications Network added that it "is important not to make the link," that there are ongoing investigations since the arrests this morning, and that they have "absolute confidence in the police security operation to protect the Pope and the public.

"Meanwhile, wherever the Pope has been he has been warmly welcomed, as Fr. Lombardi has said, he is very calm."

The Vatican spokesman urged the press forward to the important ecumenical events on Friday afternoon to be followed be Pope Benedict's meeting with British society in Westminster hall.

He encourage the press to be "very attentive" and to try to take in completely the Pope's "fundamental speech" at Westminster Hall, which he called "one of the main points of this visit."

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