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p2 St Ninian's Parade p3 Bellahouston Park p4 Information for Today Poster to Commemorate the day
Pope arrives in Scotland
The Duke of Edinburghmet the Pope todaywhen he arrived at Edinburgh airport. This is the first time the Queen's consort has been dispatched tomeet a visiting head of state.
Prince Philipwas part of a smallwelcoming party forBenedict XVIwhen the pontiff steped off his Alitalia plane, code-named ShepherdOne, thismorning at the start of his four-day visit to the UK. Also present to receive the Popewere Cardinal KeithO'Brien, the leader of Scotland's Catholics, and his opposite number in England,Vincent Nichols, Archbishop ofWestminster.
The Duke and the Pope travelled together by limousine to the Palace ofHolyroodhouse to the Queen, the firstministerAlex Salmond and various other dignitaries. A source in the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said that themovewas seen as an acknowledgement that the Pope's forthcoming trip to Britainwas "not just any state visit".
Fr Lombardi, theVatican spokesman said: ''Usually it is a juniormember of the royal family or a minister but to have the Duke of Edinburgh at thewelcome is very significant andmost unusual,”
Many protests are being organised around the UKby various groups, however, theVatican has already stated that it is notworried by this. "There are always demonstrations, even during other trips. In this particular case, themovementwill be bigger because in the United Kingdomthere aremore atheist or anti-pope groups. This is the normal climate of a pluralist society like Britain's,", Fr Lombardi said.
First State visit of the Pope
Today events are truly historic as it is the first state visit of a Pope to the UK. Pope John Paul II visited Britain in 1982, however, thiswas a pastoral visit in response to an invitation fromthe Catholic Church in this country.
Pope Benedict has been invited, as a head of state, by theQueen andwill carry out various visits, talks and meetings that accompany a state visit. Aswell asmeeting theQueen and Scotland's firstminister, hewill go to Lambeth Palace tomeetwith the Archbishop ofCanterbury, Dr RowanWilliams, and together theywill lead a service atWestminsterAbbey.
Photo courtesy of Mazur
Also the British Government have invited himto speak atWestminsterHallwhere, amongst others, all four living former primeministerswill be present. Therewill also be a state banquet in his honour on Friday evening, although the pontiff is expected not to attend due to the time pressures during the visit. Hewill also speakwith PrimeMinisterDavid Cameron, Deputy PrimeMinisterNickClegg, and acting leader of the opposition Harriet Harman. TheQueen hasmade two state visits to theVatican tomeetwith Pope John XXIII in 1961 and Pope John Paul II in 1980. Shemet againwith the previous Pope as a courtesywhen travelling to Rome in 2000. Although John Paul IIwas invited tomeet theQueen at BuckinghamPalace during his visit to Britain in 1982 this invitation of a Pope to officially visit Britain is the first andmarks a historic day.
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