ST THERESE: THE AMAZING JOURNEY CONTINUES RELICS DRAW HUGE NUMBERS IN LIVERPOOL, SALFORD AND ELSEWHERE PAGE 3
October 2 2009 £1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
Benedict’s trip to Britain: new details emerge Papal spokesman says visit in 2010 is ‘obvious occasion’ to beatify Newman
BY ED WEST
POPE BENEDICT XVI will visit Britain next September in the first-ever papal state visit to the country.
It will be the first papal visit to Britain since 1982 when Pope John Paul II’s pastoral six-day tour drew huge crowds, and the first state visit of a pontiff by government invitation.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown reissued a formal invitation during a private audience in February.
A spokesman for Mr Brown said he was “delighted” and that “it would be a moving and momentous occasion for the whole country”.
It has been suggested that the Pope will be present at the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. Church sources say London, Birmingham and Edinburgh would be likely destinations, as well as Oxford.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said the “prospect of a visit by Pope Benedict fills us with joy”.
“We are glad the Holy Father is giving such consideration to the invitations he has received from Her Majesty’s Government, which accord closely to the wishes and requests also expressed by the Bishops of England and Wales,” he said.
A spokesman for Mr Brown said: “The PM is obviously delighted at the prospect of a visit from Pope Benedict XVI to Britain. It would be a moving and momentous occasion for the whole country and he would undoubtedly receive the warmest of welcomes.”
Conservative leader David Cameron, tipped to be Prime Minister when the papal visit comes around, said he was also “delighted” to hear of the visit. He said: “Such a
visit – the first in over a quarter of a century – would be greatly welcomed not only by Roman Catholics but by the country as a whole.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, added that he had long hoped for such a visit.
“I’m sure I speak on behalf of Anglicans throughout Britain, in assuring him that he would be received with great warmth and joy,” he said.
Tony Blair invited Pope Benedict to Britain when he visited the Vatican in June 2006, and repeated the invitation a year later. The English bishops also sent the Holy Father a formal invitation that year. Earlier this year Mr Brown renewed the invitation, which was “warmly received”, according to the BBC.
An official announcement about the date will be made at the end of the year but it is expected that the visit will be in September, which by convention is the time of year Pope Benedict makes a visit to a European country. In previous Septembers he has visited Germany, Austria and France, and he has just completed a visit to the Czech Republic. The trip is expected to last three days, although it could be as long as five. The Vatican may not formally announce the trip until December.
The Pontiff will confine his trip to Great Britain and will not visit Northern Ireland until 2012, despite some media speculation, when he visits the Irish Republic for the International Eucharistic Congress.
Some Catholics are hoping the Pope will break with convention and beatify Cardinal Newman himself.
Fr Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s spokesman, said such a trip would be an “obvious occasion” to beatify Cardinal Newman. A journalist in the Czech Republic noted that Benedict XVI had previously ex-
pressed a preference to allow beatifications to be carried out by the local Church rather than by the Pope. In response, Fr Lombardi said: “We have a year to figure that out.”
A Church insider said: “Cardinal Newman is the major event. It wouldn’t be ridiculous to suggest that it’s a possibility. The Pope has said it’s his rule not to preside at beatifications but it’s his rule to break.
“Pope Benedict is a great admirer of Newman and this visit is about Newman, and about what it says about the Church. It’s not as simple as him turning up to bash politicians on the head. He always comes to boost those countries he visits, and England and Wales will benefit.”
Catholic journalist Peter Jennings said he believed that the Pope would beatify Newman at an open-air Mass during a state visit in September. Speaking from Rome after meeting senior Vatican officials, he said: “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the Pope also declared Newman a Doctor of the Church during the same ceremony?”
Earlier this year the Pope approved as a miracle the cure of a Massachusetts deacon from a crippling spinal condition, bringing Cardinal Newman, who died in 1890, one step closer to canonisation. Jack Sullivan, who will visit Britain next month, said he was healed after praying to Cardinal Newman in 2001, after watching a documentary on EWTN.
The Pope’s visit was not universally welcomed, however.
Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society, said: “This is dismal news indeed. Why Britain should seek to laud such a nasty extremist is beyond me.”
Vatican Notebook: Page 2 Editorial comment: Page 13
Benedict XVI is pictured during his trip to the Czech Republic last weekend. For full coverage of the visit see pages 4-5 PA
St Anselm is a model defender of religious liberty, says Holy Father
BY MARK GREAVES
POPE BENEDICT has praised St Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury forced into exile by William Rufus, as a model defender of religious liberty.
The Pope said St Anselm had fought “courageously” to defend the Church’s independence from two interfering Norman kings.
William II, called Rufus because of his red face, was the unpopular second son of William the Conqueror. Both
he and his younger brother, the future Henry I, wanted greater control over the Church, and clashed with St Anselm after he refused to hand over 1,000 marks for William to wage war with his elder brother, Duke Robert of Normandy. Instead he gave it to the poor.
St Anselm, according to the Pope, “entered into an energetic struggle for the freedom of the Church and courageously supported the independence of spiritual from temporal power. He defended
the Church from undue interference by the political authorities, especially King William Rufus and Henry I.”
St Anselm, born in Aosta, Italy, in 1033, is regarded as one of the greatest theologians of the medieval period, and was named a Doctor of the Church in 1720.
Before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury he was the Benedictine Abbot of Bec, Normandy, where, according to the Pope, he “revealed gifts as a sophisticated teacher”.
The Pope said: “He did not care for authoritarian methods and, likening young people to saplings which develop best if not closed in a greenhouse, he granted them a ‘healthy’ measure of freedom. He was very demanding with himself and others in monastic observance, but rather than imposing discipline he sought to make people follow it by persuasion.”
The Pope said that for Anselm theology had to have a balance between faith and reason.
Jesuit’s book leaves Chelsea manager is Oprah ‘gasping’ devoted to Padre Pio
BY ALANNAH FRANCIS
AMERICAN talk show host Oprah Winfrey has chosen a book of short stories by a Jesuit priest for her prestigious book club.
Fr Uwem Akpan, 38, of Nigeria, was ordained as a priest in 2003 and received his master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan three years later.
His debut collection, Say
You’re Not One of Them, is the first book of short stories to be chosen by Miss Winfrey. The stories were originally published in 2008 and include five stories set in Africa from the perspective of a child.
His work has been described as “capturing the resilience of children growing up in the face of unimaginable devastation”.
After Miss Winfrey’s endorsement, Say You’ re One of Them was among the top five best-sellers in online bookstores. Miss Winfrey said: “Each one of these five stories really just left me gasping.”
BY ED WEST
CHELSEA FOOTBALL manager Carlo Ancelotti has spoken about his devotion to St Pio of Pietrelcina.
The Italian, a farmer’s son from Reggiolo in northern Italy, also spoke about his education by Salesians, an order which specialises in teaching poor children.
Mr Ancelotti, the former manager of Italian
sides AC Milan and Juventus, is not a churchgoer but said of St Pio: “He per-
formed miracles, and I
feel moved emotionally by his life.
“I believe in God, and I pray, although for
personal matters, not for football. I
think God has better things to do.”
His predecessor at Stamford Bridge, Luiz Felipe Scolari, had a strong devotion to Our Lady.
MISS: POPE BENEDICT IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC PAGES 4-5