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POPE-BRITAIN (UPDATED) Sep-28-2009 (290 words) xxxi

British church officials 'delighted' that pope may visit UK in 2010

By Catholic News Service

LONDON (CNS) -- British Catholic leaders are excited about the prospect of a visit by Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom in 2010.

News about the visit, the first to Britain by a pontiff since 1982, was mentioned Sept. 23 by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was traveling to New York.

The papal spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, confirmed the trip Sept. 27. He said the trip was likely to be in the fall.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, said in a statement Sept. 24 that he was "delighted" by the prospect of a visit by the pope to Scotland.

"The Scottish bishops look forward to greeting the Holy Father in what would be the first state visit to this country by a reigning pope," Cardinal O'Brien said.

He said the proposed visit was at the invitation of the British government.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said in a statement that the prospect of a visit by the pontiff "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," said the archbishop, who heads the Archdiocese of Westminster.

Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury said in a statement released Sept. 23 in Japan, where he was visiting, that he had "personally expressed my hope to Pope Benedict that he would accept the invitation to visit Britain."

"I'm sure I speak on behalf of Anglicans throughout Britain in assuring him that he would be received with great warmth and joy," Archbishop Williams said.


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