Pope Benedict XVI visits UK

As the leader of the catholic church in the whole world visits the UK, the second ever visit by a Pope in Britain, I will attempt to live blog. The visit has already drawn measurable controversy with German born Cardinal Walter Kasper having to pull out of the visit over comments he made in a German Magazine referring to Britain as a “third world country”

The visit is also set for some protests from those opposed to the way the church has handled previous accusations of priests involved in sex abuse.

Join me here on ellyakanga.wordpress.com as we go through the Pope’s visit. Here he comes. I can see Shepherd One in the air and in a few minutes he touches down to be greeted by the Duke of Edinburgh.

We’re moments away now from the Pope’s landing. Will he kiss the ground on the runway as his predecessor Pope John Paul II did in 1982?

10:16  Shepherd One touches down.

10:19 Shepherd 1 taxing and the Pilot as a mark of respect is flying the Union Jack on the plane as it comes to a stop. And the Papal Standard. A bit of Britain and a bit of Rome.

10:23 Welcoming party preparing to welcome the Pope. Shepherd 1 has come to a halt. Waiting to be showed exactly where to go is a crowd of people which to be honest I have no idea what they are doing. Loads of people are beginning to gather. “Forget the trams, this is not the X-Factor, this is it. This is the real deal,” says one Jenifer who says she is not bothered about the fracas surrounding the visit.

10:27 Shepherd 1 approaching its final parking slot. Papal Nuncio is to go up the steps of the plane. Greet the Pope and lead him out. Duke of Edinburgh will greet the Pope on the tarmac.

10:28 I remember missing out on seeing the Pope back in 1994 when he visited Uganda. I was a poor young man who could not afford the transport fare to the Western district of Uganda – Kasese. This time, I am all eyes and ears. How times change!

10:33 So the Duke of Edinburgh lines up to receive the Pope. Papal Nuncio is already in.

1034 He is here. Greeting all. Surprising that he did not kiss the tarmac and no red carpet was unveiled probably due to heavy winds.

10:40 BBC reports that “The Pope, asked about paedophile priests on the plane, says the church “should offer help to victims”, protect children and stop paedophile priests from having future contact with children. He calls paedophilia an “illness”. He was speaking on board the plane at Edinburgh airport to Vatican journalists, says BBC’s David Willey

10:45 The rousing sound of the Royal Regiment of Scotland can now be heard and seen playing. The mood is cheering up. This is getting very interesting. It wont be long before the Pope and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at the Palace of Holyrood. Splendid setting, I can tell you.

10:49 It wont be long before they get to Holyrood. Given this is an official visit, the Queen has to meet the Pope and protocol has been changed. Instead of going to Buckingham Palace from Heathrow, the visitor has today been allowed the luxury of being seen or met if you like in Edinburgh, by the Queen who normally would remain in her palace.

I certainly am looking forward to the mass later at Belahouston Park.

10:55 Jonathan, from Glasgow, writes: “The media has been nothing short of a nonsense and I would like to remind everyone that the Queen invited him and, like anyone else who is invited, is paid for. If the Queen were to visit the Vatican, the Vatican would pay.

10:57 Pope is just passed past the Scottish Rugby Ground of Murrafield…not sure about the spelling but will check later. Not long now till he makes it to Edinburgh. Scots happy he started his tour of the UK in Scotland. ” He is a scholar and has had a bad day to act of John Paul II because he was a people’s man,” says one old lady here.

11:03 The Pope’s procession moves along Edinburgh’s Princes Street, lined by excited crowds. Traffic has been diverted.

11:07 Having been greeted by the Queen, Pope and Her Majesty take the stand as the band belts out the Vatican Anthem.  And of course GOD SAVE THE QUEEN. Queen looking glam!

11:10 Queen and Pope move into the Palace. They will go up and have their formal drawing in what is known as the morning common room, so I am told.

11:15 Queen, Pope and Duke of Edinburgh sitting in the drawing room for a chat. Cameras have been suspended and from now on, the meeting is private.

11:38 Queen giving speech now.

11:41 Pope speaking…in English thanking all for the kind welcome at Edinburgh airport.

1214: The Pope, draped in a papal tartan scarf, departs in the Popemobile, his famous and intriguing white high-security vehicle


Here’s a full transcript of the pope’s speech thanks to to Scottish Catholic media office.

The most significant passage came at the end:

Your government and people are the shapers of ideas that still have an impact far beyond the British Isles. This places upon them a particular duty to act wisely for the common good. Similarly, because their opinions reach such a wide audience, the British media have a graver responsibility than most and a greater opportunity to promote the peace of
nations, the integral development of peoples and the spread of authentic human rights.

May all Britons continue to live by the values of honesty, respect and fair-mindedness that have won them the esteem and admiration of many.

Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate. Let it not obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms; and may that patrimony, which has always served the nation well, constantly inform the example your government and people set before the two billion members of the Commonwealth and the great family of English-speaking nations throughout the world.


Author: ellyakanga

I am Eleneus Akanga. Welcome to my blog about my experience as a Rwandan journalist and all that comes with the trade in East Africa. It's been a great journey so far but very challenging at times. Join me, let's get cracking! ellyakanga@usa.com

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