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    July 07

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Mostly cheers for Pope

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 16 September 2010

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Edinburgh – Pope Benedict has said he wants to “extend the hand of friendship” to the whole of Britain during his visit. He also urged Britain to resist “more aggressive forms of secularism” after being welcomed by the Queen at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Tens of thousands of people cheered and waved flags as he travelled through the city centre in the Popemobile, although small protests also took place. The trip is the first to Britain by a pontiff since John Paul II in 1982. It is also the first to be designated a state visit because the Pope has been invited by the Queen rather than the church. Pope Benedict was greeted on his arrival by the Duke of Edinburgh, Catholic leaders and a 30-strong honour guard from the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Lord Patten also welcomed him on behalf of the government. Once at Holyroodhouse, the Queen and the Pope exchanged gifts before each made a speech to those gathered outside. The Queen said the visit was an opportunity to “deepen the relationship” between Catholicism and the Churches of England and Scotland. She also praised the Catholic Church’s contribution to helping the poorest and most vulnerable around the world. He added: “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.” The Pope also praised Britain’s fight against Hitler’s “atheist extremism”, saying that “Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live”. (BBC)

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