Accepting an invitation from the Queen for a visit to Britain, Pope Benedict XVI’s four-day trip (September 16th to September 19th) is the first state visit by a Pope to England.
Pope John Paul II made a non-state pastoral visit in 1982, which was the first time a pontiff had ever visited the birthplace of the Church of England, which split with Rome in 1534 when English King Henry VIII was refused a marriage annulment.
Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Scotland yesterday, where he was welcomed by Prince Philip. Like Pope John Paul II before him, Pope Benedict celebrated an open-air mass in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow.
Scotland is home to some incredibly beautiful luxury hotels. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Pope Benedict XVI praised Britain’s tradition of tolerance on the first day of his visit to England, but later pointed to what he sees as increasing marginalization of religion in public life. Addressing a distinguished audience that included four living former Prime Ministers, the Pope said social consensus alone could not be left to decide policies. He stated that even the celebration of Christmas was at risk.
Unfazed by news that five men had been arrested in connection with an alleged plot to attack him, Pope Benedict XVI used the global financial crisis as an example of what would happen when serious issues were dealt with by pragmatic solutions lacking ethical considerations.
The Pope was accepting what he called an “unprecedented invitation” to address Britain’s “great and good” in Westminster Hall – the very same place where the Catholic saint, Thomas More, was tried and convicted centuries ago for placing more importance on his religious convictions than on the demands of his king, Henry VIII.
In a key passage of Pope Benedict XVI’s speech, he said: “I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalization of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance.”
And if you find yourself suddenly craving a trip to England after reading this, here are some of the best luxury hotels in that lovely land…