London: Pope Benedict XVI arrived
in the UK on Thursday for a historic four-day state visit
overshadowed by the fallout from an aide`s comments comparing
Britain to a `Third World country`.
The 83-year-old Pope flew into Edinburgh International
Airport from Rome this morning, where he was greeted by Duke
of Edinburgh, before traveling to Holyroodhouse Palace to meet
He is being given the full honours due to a world
leader during his trip, He is the first Papal visit to Britain
for 28 years. The only other visit by a pope was made by John
Paul II in 1982.
His arrival comes hours the senior cardinal who made
the provocative remarks, Cardinal Walter Kasper, was dropped
from his entourage.
Cardinal Walter Kasper told Germany`s Focus magazine:
"England is a secularised, pluralistic country these days.
"When you land at Heathrow Airport, you sometimes
think you might have landed in a Third World country."
The Catholic bishops of England and Wales promptly
issued a statement aimed at isolating the Cardinal and
minimising the damage.
Benedict`s visit is aimed at improving frayed ties
between Anglicans and Catholics.
The highlights of his visit will include a mass in
Bellahouston Park in Glasgow this afternoon and the speech
tomorrow in Westminster Hall.
Benedict will lead a prayer vigil in Hyde Park in
London on Saturday and on Sunday will conduct the
beatification service for Cardinal Newman, the Victorian
convert from Anglicanism, in Cofton Park in Birmingham.