As it happened: Pope in Britain, 16 September 2010

  • Pope Benedict arrived in Edinburgh on 16 September at the start of a four-day visit - the first official trip to the UK by a serving pontiff since 1982
  • Live page reporters: Caroline McClatchey and Marie Jackson

2245 To keep up-to-date with the second day of his visit, join us back here at 0800 BST.

2245 There are also more historic moments lined up - he will go to Lambeth Palace to call on the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the global Anglican Communion. He will then deliver his keynote speech to civic leaders in Westminster Hall - that's where Saint Thomas More was condemned to death for refusing to disavow his Catholic faith during the reign of Henry VIII.

2247 He's heading to St Mary's University College in Twickenham in the morning where he will meet 3,000 schoolchildren and students to celebrate Catholic education.

2237 He has to be out and about by 0800 BST tomorrow so no doubt he will be heading to bed very shortly.

2234 The Pope is at the Wimbledon residence of the Papal Nuncio, the Pope's ambassador to Britain. He waved from the window and greeted the crowds briefly. The nuncio is Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz and he refers to the place as the "Pope's house". It had not been certain whether the Spanish archbishop would be able to take part in the visit after suffering a stroke earlier this year.

2230 He celebrated a Mass with a crowd of up to 70,000 people at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow this evening. It was the second time he delivered a clear warning against what he calls "aggressive secularism" and he has urged people to remember the Christian values which he says have shaped much of British life.

2230 A small number of protestors - notably Free Presbyterians led by the Rev Ian Paisley - made their voices heard, but the majority of people welcomed the Pope to Scotland.

2230It has been a busy day for the 83-year-old Pope. The first state visit by a Pope to the UK, he was welcomed to Britain this morning by the Queen at a ceremony in Edinburgh - that was symbolically significant because of the historic divide between the officially Protestant nation and the Catholic Church.

2215 Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond hails the Pope's visit to Scotland as an historic day: "The pre-visit negativity in some sections of the media has been swept away by a popular tide of enthusiasm, as Scotland opened its heart to the Holy Father. It was a wonderful day not only for the Catholic community but for the whole nation, which made it a special and historic day for Scotland."

2140 A spokesman for the Catholic Church in England and Wales hails the first day of the visit as a success: "The sense is that everybody in the Pope's entourage was overwhelmed by the people on the streets of Edinburgh and the turn-out in Glasgow this evening. It wasn't just the size of the crowd but their enthusiasm."

2130 The mayor's press office said in a statement: "Boris was baptised Catholic but was not confirmed and is not practising. He told Italian radio this morning that he disagreed with many of the Pope's views but feels he has very interesting and important things to say about modern life and the secularisation of society."

2126 Some bedtime reading - Boris Johnson is giving the Pope three books as gifts, including a copy of his own historical book The Dream of Rome.

2123 Benedict XVI is with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Meanwhile, people are gathering at the Papal Nuncio's house in Wimbledon, south London, where the Pope will be staying.

2114The Pope arrives at Heathrow Airport in west London.

2017 While the Pope is having a well-earned rest on the plane, we'll come back when he's touched down in London.

2006 The Pope's plane has taken off and he is London-bound. He's got another packed schedule on Friday.

2000 As the Pope prepares to take off from Glasgow on the Alitalia plane, his officials can rest in the knowledge that Mayor of London Boris Johnson has asked Transport for London to exempt the Popemobile from the city's congestion charge.

1944 The BBC's Deirdre Kelly, who was at the Bellahouston Mass in a private capacity, says: "Just before the sun dipped below the park's trees, the Mass ended. Off home after an uplifting afternoon."

1940 The Pope is now at Glasgow Airport. Mayor of London Boris Johnson will meet Benedict XVI at the Royal suite in Heathrow to formally welcome him to the capital. He is due to land at 2130 BST.

1933 The Pope is going to Glasgow Airport, where he will catch a flight to London's Heathrow. He will go straight to the Wimbledon residence of the Papal Nuncio, the Pope's ambassador to Britain. The nuncio is Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, who escorted the Pope off the plane in Edinburgh earlier today.

1916 The Pope is missing out - he is already in the car.

1913 Here she goes... She is singing Make Me a Channel of Your Peace. She is wrapped up against the evening chill.

1910 The crowd is chanting for Susan Boyle.

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1909 Fr Anthony Vella from Mdina, writes: "I'm watching online the Pope's visit to the UK. Comparing this visit with his Malta visit a few months ago, the fear that preceded the two visits gave way to enthusiasm as it should be. The reception up to now was very friendly, well-becoming to British traditional hospitality. Keep it up!"

1904 The Pope blesses Anton McManus, a nine-year-old boy who wrote to Benedict XVI asking him to "help keep his cancer away".

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1900 juliet50,writes: " I am not a Catholic nor even a practising Christian but watching the Mass in Glasgow on the BBC news is uplifting and for Roman Catholics, of whom there are many in the UK, it must be a wonderful experience. I do not agree with all their beliefs but faith in any religion or at least in moral values is something to be celebrated."

1859 The Mass is at an end and the Pope is preparing to leave the sanctuary

1856Communion is over - quick work by the clergy.

1846 A nun is the first to come forward to receive Communion from the Pope. Other clergy are heading out into the crowds to distribute the bread (communion wafers). Yellow umbrellas mark the spot where they are standing. This may take some time...

1841 For those who are rather confused by the rituals in the Mass, BBC Religion's Catholicism in depth might be a good place to start.

1839 Children love this bit - the crowd are invited to offer each other the sign of peace, which is traditionally a warm handshake while saying "Peace be with you".

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1832 Scott Hadfied writes: "I am extremely angry with the Pope's visit to the UK! Using taxpayers' money so he can scale the land giving us warnings on aggressive secularism. The same "secularism" that has been helping our multi cultural society. Helping people to accept our differences".

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1832 Ellie writes: "The Pope is a very important figure to Catholics throughout the world and it is right that he is welcomed warmly."

1830 Colcestrian, tweets: "The Holy Father looks very animated at the Mass in Scotland and usefully stressed the importance of Ecumenical progress." Read Colcestrian's tweets

1830 The Pope is known to favour Mass in Latin and he is reciting in the ancient language. Thankfully for the non-Latin speakers, the BBC TV coverage is providing subtitles in English.

1827 Procession of the gifts: The bread and wine, which will be used for the Communion, is brought to the Pope by a number of children.

1816 The Pope has a special message for the young people of Scotland, saying they face many temptations including drugs, money, sex, pornography and alcohol: "These things are destructive... the one thing that lasts is the love of Jesus Christ."

1814 The Pope calls for worshippers to promote the values of faith to the wider world: "Society today needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility."

1811 Numbers update: Organisers estimate 70,000 people have gathered at Bellahouston Park.

1806 He says he feels great emotion at Bellahouston - speaking close to the spot where his predecessor John Paul II celebrated mass in 1982. That event attracted 300,000 people.

1800 The Pope is delivering his homily - a speech which follows the Gospel.

1758 Canon David Connor is singing a Gospel from St Luke.

1752 Now it's one of the most famous and recognisable psalms - Psalm 23, better known as The Lord Is My Shepherd, which portrays God as a shepherd tending to his flock.

1746 Silence whenever the Pope speaks but also some great singing in between. We're now hearing a reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans.

1745From the BBC's Deirdre Kelly: "The Pope has paraded, waved, kissed babies and now down to why we are all here - the celebration of Mass. There is silence now among the thousands gathered."

1740 The Pope is conducting Mass in English. He speaks several languages and will speak English throughout his four-day visit to the UK

1738 Archbishop of Glasgow Mario Conti has been welcoming the Pope to the city and Scotland, and gave Benedict XVI a book about St Ninian, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Scotland

1730 Looks like the weather is on the Pope's side. From the BBC Weather Centre: "It will remain fine and sunny into the evening at Bellahouston Park. But with a brisk north-westerly wind, it may start to feel a little on the chilly side, especially as the sun starts to set later this evening."

1727 The Pope proceeds to the stage surrounded by altar servers, deacons, bishops and archbishops.

David Willey
1714 From the BBC's David Willey: "A senior British government official travelling with Vatican officials remarked upon the thousands of cheering people who lined the streets of Edinburgh to wave to the Pope. He also was very pleased to see that crowds had gone to all the bridges along the motorway to wave to the Pope as the motorcade went past."

1709Pope Benedict is making his way to the stage in the Popemobile. The crowd is cheering and the sun is shining. He blessed a child who was held up to the window.


1657The anticipation is nearly over. From the BBC's Deirdre Kelly: "Some very kind lady has managed to squeeze my three boys against a barrier to see the Pope arriving. Mini Mexican wave going on."

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1654 Gareth Morgan, from York, writes: "Like most Christians I am delighted to see the Pope in the UK and as a Catholic I welcome him as the successor to St Peter. But I pray we will listen to what Christians in the UK have to say, especially about the need for the Catholic priesthood to be open to women as well as men."

1652Back to Edinburgh and news that in addition to Northern Ireland's first minister not being in the line-up to greet the Pope, neither was Church of Scotland Moderator John Christie. Apparently it was a "mix-up" and he met the Pope later on.

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1645 Helen Cumming, from Stirlingshire, writes: "I really think we should celebrate the Pope being here. We should not be bad mouthing his visit. I am not a Catholic but I believe it is an honour and we should be proud."

1642 From the BBC's Deirdre Kelly, who is at Bellahouston in a private capacity with her family: "First Minister is here along with the other 'great and good', atmosphere really building, lots of flags, lots of singing, lots of noise." The BBC's Brian Ponsonby has also been soaking up the atmosphere in Bellahouston

1640 The Catholic Church in Scotland had hoped to attract up to 100,000 to Bellahouston, but later reduced the capacity to 65,000 after a slow take-up of tickets. When John Paul II visited the UK in 1982 on a pastoral visit, the tickets to events were free.

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1635 Wilts Biffa writes: "He's here despite what the press and media are trying to do to him, he knew it would happen but he's still here walking among us, how many of you would ever have the nerve to do that?"


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1632 Paddy81 writes: "This visit means a lot to me. It shows that the Pope values this small, once powerful, island nation and the people who live here. The Church values us just as much as the huge nations with hundreds of millions of Catholic inhabitants."

1628 Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond says the reception the Pope has received so far is "an antidote to cynicism". Mr Salmond, wearing his Papal tartan scarf, was talking from Bellahouston, where the crowd is eagerly awaiting Benedict XVI. It said it was a "massive turnout for a massively important visit for the Catholic community and for Scotland".

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1622 Mike writes: "I am an atheist and I resent constant comments from people who have faith suggesting that those of us who have no religion also have no moral code."

1619 David Cameron offers a "very warm welcome" to Pope. The British PM is in Brussels for a summit of European Union leaders

David Willey
1613The BBC's David Willey says: "The tone of the Pope's speech in Edinburgh seemed to show a determination to try and understand British society better and meet criticism of his visit with reasoned argument."

1610 The Pope is being driven along the M8 to Glasgow but others might have more difficulty as much of the motorway is closed to allow the journey to be as quick as possible.

1545 Singer Susan Boyle takes to the stage at Bellahouston to warm up the crowds. The Pope is off to the park in Glasgow now.

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1536 Jonny, from London, writes: "I am overwhelmed by how anti-Catholic the BBC has become. I thought this was an organisation that was meant to be non-biased. It seems that the BBC has forgotten that our country and its history has been built upon Christian foundations."

1531 In the weblog , Kelvin Holdsworth, provost of Glasgow's St Mary's Cathedral - a Scottish Episcopal church - says the comparison between Nazism and atheism is "just not on". "It's specious and weasly," he writes, and he's disappointed the Pope has set up "an ugly polarity" between the two.

1522 Mike Knight tweets: "What utter nonsense from Catholic Whistle and the Pope. Atheists here are far more tolerant than the Catholic Establishment." Read Mike Knight's tweets

1518 It's well-known the outspoken Reverend Ian Paisley is no fan of the Pope. He led a protest earlier calling the visit "nonsense" and saying: "I don't want his blessing and I will be keeping as far away as I can."

1506 It's been a "great day" for the Catholic community in Scotland, according to Stephen McGinty, of the Scotsman newspaper. He says journalists have been impressed by the atmosphere and the "sense of joy and happiness".

1500 Carla, from Melbourne, Australia, writes: "I have just watched the Pope's arrival and was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful welcome he was given by ordinary people. After reading some Scottish columnists and bloggers, I had thought if these writers are typical, I would not want to visit there. Now I've changed my mind."
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1459 In the Catholic blog Catholic Whistle , the Pope's comments about atheism are welcomed. "The Pope has laid down the gauntlet to those aggressive atheists that wish to eradicate God from our society. There is a direct connection between aggressive atheism and Nazi tyranny," it writes.

1450Northern Ireland is not on the tour. But BBC Northern Ireland's Nuala McCann has been remembering when Pope John Paul II visited Dublin in 1979.

1445 Today of course is Scotland's big day, but there's three days of events to come in England and BBC local radio has been following the preparations being made by Catholic pilgrims across England.

1433 British Humanist Association reacts to the Pope's speech with this statement: "The notion that it was the atheism of Nazis that led to their extremist and hateful views or that somehow fuels intolerance in Britain today is a terrible libel against those who do not believe in god."

1424 Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson failed to make it to see the Pope at Holyroodhouse. Political sources tell the BBC he wasn't there due to logistical difficulties. The first ministers of Scotland and Wales were among the line-up.

1420Protest Watch: Neuro tweets: "I saw the Lothian Road protest from my office window, seriously doubt there were 150 there." Read Neuro's tweets

1413Spoiler alert. Look away now if you don't want to know what Susan Boyle will be singing at the open-air Mass at Bellahouston Park. The Scottish singer, who soared to international fame on Britain's Got Talent, will sing I Dreamed A Dream, and traditional hymns How Great Thou Art and Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace. Wonder whether the pontiff was one of the millions who saw her original audition on YouTube?

1409Lothian and Borders Police report an estimated 125,000 people lined the streets of Edinburgh to see the Pope.

1355More from Andrew Black about Benedict XVI's speech, particularly his remarks about Nazis and "atheist extremism" and controversial comments by Cardinal Walter Kasper: "Mr Lombardi says it was not Cardinal Kasper´s intention to be offensive, and adds that the cardinal is a 'man of dialogue' and 'a man of profound respect for all orders'. In relation to the Pope's speech, Mr Lombardi says: 'I think the Pope knows rather well what the Nazi ideology is'."

Andrew Black
1353 Andrew Black, BBC Scotland reporter, says the Pope´s spokesman Federico Lombardi has told journalists it has been the "best beginning of the trip that we could desire".

1325 Missed the morning's speeches? Read in full what the Queen and the Pope said at Holyroodhouse.

1314 In today's , Ian Dunt says the Pope's speech had strong overtones of comments which came from his adviser, Cardinal Walter Kasper, who pulled out of the trip after comments about atheism in the UK. Mr Dunt says the speech was "highly political" and might be seen as a warning about the direction of British society. Blogger Ian Dunt writing for

1309 In today's National Catholic Register, a Catholic news source from America , Edward Pentin says there were two interesting references to atheism and the media in the Pope's speech at the palace. Blogger Edward Pentin writing for the National Catholic Register

1259 It's lunchtime. The table will be laid for 14, and decorated with coats of arms. Cardinal O'Brien's housekeeper is doing the cooking and lunch is expected to take an hour.

1253 Children from a local primary school experience a moment they are unlikely to forget as the Pope greets them on the roadside. Commentators say these images will be appreciated by the Vatican.

1247 The sun's out as the Popemobile pulls up outside his lunch spot.

Nina Macleod
1245 Protest Watch: Spoke too soon. The BBC's Nina Macleod is reporting that about 150 demonstrators from the group Protest the Pope are in Edinburgh's Lothian Road holding a "fairly measured" protest. And 30 members of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland are holding a silent protest.

1234 Edinburgh Lady tweets: "I'm really shocked at the lack of crowds either supporting or protesting the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in Edinburgh!" Read Edinburgh Lady's tweets

Andrew Black
1233 Next stop - the home of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Scotland´s most senior Catholic, for lunch. On the menu is the traditional dish of haggis, neeps and tatties, followed by roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and apple pie, says the BBC's Andrew Black.

1230 James Child, from Romsey, tweets: "The Pope is definitely on a charm offensive, but will he win over the cynics?" Read James Child's tweets

1228 Protest Watch: There has been notice of possible protests over Vatican policy on birth control, gay rights and abortion, and the handling of the sex abuse scandal in the Church. So far, no sign of any protesters.

1227 If you're not particularly up on Hans Holbein's British links, BBC royal producer Caroline Alton tells us he rose to prominence as court artist to Henry VIII and produced iconic portraits of the royal court's most influential figures. His works include portraits of Queen Jane Seymour, the future King Edward VI and Thomas More

1224Some details of the gifts exchanged. The Pope was given an edition of 85 sketches from 16th Century German artist Hans Holbein the Younger - all tastefully encased in a white papal binding. In return, the Pope handed over a copy of the Lorsch Gospels dating from 778 to 820.

1219 On the streets, pipes and drums peel out as crowds cheer and wave Scottish flags at the passing Pope.

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

1205 BBC's Edinburgh reporters say a sigh of disappointment went up from the crowd in Princes Street when they realised the cavalcade of vehicles that brought the Pope from the airport all had blacked-out windows and there would be no glimpse of the Pope.

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1159 Micky, from County Tyrone, writes: "I am not able to go see the Pope in person, but I think it is great that I can watch it live online. I am honoured to be able to see everything that's happening. It's a special day, even with all the controversy."

1158 Now under a marquee, the Pope is shaking hands with dozens of politicians, religious leaders and organisers.

1153 Fiona Watson, from Glasgow, tweets: "The Queen certainly shows how to put people at ease." Read Fiona Watson's tweets

1152 The Pope adds: "The UK remains a key figure politically and economically on the international stage. Your government and people are the shapers of ideas that still have an impact far beyond the British Isles."

1150 The Pope, reading from his notes, goes on to describe Britain as a "force for good" throughout time hailing its fight against Nazis.

1145 The Pope follows the Queen up to to the lectern. He says he wants to "hold out the hand of friendship" during his visit.

1141 The Queen welcomes His Holiness to Britain, and recalls her four past visits to the Vatican. She says much has changed in the world since Pope John Paul II came on a pastoral visit to Britain nearly 30 years ago.

1132 TV cameras leave the Pope, Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen to their private meeting. Before that though, they caught some of the Queen's first words to the Pope, as she pointed out he had arrived in rather a small car.

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1124 Alan, from Northern Ireland, writes: "I feel that the Pope coming to Britain is a complete and utter waste of time and money. Britain is not a Catholic country and many people are wisely turning away from their faiths in search of believable scientific theories."

Andrew Black
1119 Andrew Black, of BBC Scotland at Holyrood, says: "Pope Benedict has arrived at the Palace of Holyrood House, entering through the north gate to the sounds of the band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland."

1112 The Pope shakes hands with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, who is wrapped up in a tartan scarf.

1110 The pair stand side by side on a red carpeted raised platform as the UK national anthem is played.

1107 The Pope arrives at Holyrood Palace and warmly shakes hands with the Queen. This is their first meeting.

1103 The Pope's procession moves along Edinburgh's Princes Street, lined by excited crowds. Normal traffic is diverted.

1055 Duncan Hothersall, from Edinburgh, tweets: "Wish the guests on the BBC would stop speaking on behalf of the 'people of Scotland'. Many of us don't want this man here." Read Duncan Hothersall's tweets

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1050 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.

1046 A convoy, flanked by police officers on motorbikes, is on its way along cleared roads to the Palace of Holyrood.

1043 The Duke of Edinburgh has of course previously met the Pope, when he attended his inauguration Mass in 2005. It will be the first time for the Queen.

1039 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.

1036 The Pope is on the runway. No kissing of the Tarmac. He shakes hands with the Duke of Edinburgh, Lord Patten and religious leaders.

1033 Soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland, all dressed in black, march towards the plane, their kilts catching in the breeze.

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1025 Maria, from Edinburgh, writes: "I am in Glasgow at the moment under a wonderful blue sky. I will go to the Pope's mass and I will be praying with more than 300 young people for this to be an occasion not only for us, but also for other people who have lost their faith.

1020 The union jack and the Papal standard are flying from the plane.

1016 The Pope lands. And so begins the first ever state visit by a Pope.

1015 The Pope's Alitalia plane, nicknamed Shepherd 1, is in Edinburgh skies.

1012 The Duke of Edinburgh arrives at the airport. In a rather unusual move, the royal alongside Lord Patten, representing the government, will welcome the Pope off the plane.

1008 We're getting word that the red carpet will not be laid out at the airport because it's too windy.

1008 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?

1002 Hundreds are gathering at Holyrood House where the Pope will be greeted by the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

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1000 Jose Luis Rodriguez-Olveira, from Hastings, writes: "I attended the celebrations for John Paul II, but I grew disillusioned with the church he helped to build, too conservative and intolerant. I will not move a finger to attend any of Benedict's acts.

0950 A special police unit will help protect the Pope during his visit to the UK, says the BBC's Chris Summers.

0953 Andrew Copson, of the British Humanist Association, says there are no plans to disrupt the visit, just to raise awareness of the objections to the Holy See and the Pope coming on a state visit.

0949 Louise Gault tweets: "Visit has closed part of the M77 (now a bus park) and pilgrims have been allocated trains! Hectic is the word I would use! Read Louise Gault's tweets

0947 The welcoming committee is gathering at Edinburgh airport. Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, retired Archbishop of Westminster, are already there, says the BBC's Annita McVeigh at the airport.

0940 Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, says: "Sometimes we make awkward, difficult remarks ourselves. I'm sure Cardinal Kasper will apologise for any intemperate remarks which he made some time ago," he says.

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0939 Spencer, from Dorking, Surrey, writes: "We're paying £12m for this visit. There's job cuts all over the country so instead of putting 500 people back in work we're paying for this? Ridiculous.

0935 Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond says: "I think some of the sceptics in the press may well be confounded today. It's not just excitement for the Catholic community in Scotland, it's also the whole nation. Pope Benedict is coming here first. It's an acknowledgement of Scotland as a nation."

0932 Some 2,000 police officers are on duty for the visit, with officers from London's Metropolitan Police providing close protection.

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0929 Peter, from Birmingham, writes: "I am Muslim and proud that Pope Benedict is coming to Birmingham. If we can welcome other religious heads of state, why can't we all welcome Pope Benedict.

0922 Airport arrival organisers say they tried to put the red carpet down on the runway yesterday but it was too windy, so they will try again today.

0905 Brian Smith, from Edinburgh, tweets: "I live in Edinburgh and I'm working today which makes his visit a nightmare, regardless of what I think of him as a person!" Read Brian Smith's tweets

Robert Pigott
0855 Pope Benedict will be on something of a charm offensive during his visit to Britain, but his aims go far beyond symbolic stage-managed appearances, says the BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott.

0853 Actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry, from London, tweets: "Mm - this is the 'atheist hate campaign' that I'm fuelling, apparently. xx" Read Stephen Fry's tweets

0849 On arrival in Edinburgh, the Pope and his entourage will be met by an honour guard of 30 soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

0845 Mike Hunter, from Nottingham, tweets: "It's a waste of public money, especially for a third world country!" Read Mike Hunter's tweets

0844 The Pope can expect a busy few days. Today's timetable includes a reception with the Queen (1140), a private lunch with the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinbugh (1300), a mass rally in Glasgow (1715) and a flight to London (2000).

0840 BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James, from London, tweets: "Whatever you may think of the Pope's visit, I think I speak for everyone when I say that we'd all like a go in his little car." Read gregjames' tweets

0835 The Pope's visit isn't without controversy. Mike Williamson, from the No to the Pope pressure group, objects to his comments on condoms spreading Aids, his opposition to gay rights, his interference in women's reproductive rights and the recent abuse scandal. "We don't think it's appropriate that he should be given a state visit."

0825 Organisers of Glasgow's big afternoon event in Bellahouston Park, also responsible for T in the Park, have been busy for months. Peter Kearney, of the Catholic Church in Scotland, tells the BBC's Brian Ponsonby: "Although all the infrastructure is very similar to what you would see at any big music festival or concert, ultimately the purpose of it is quite different."

0815 Today's weather looks fairly promising for the Pope. BBC Weather's forecast for Glasgow and Edinburgh is sunshine and scattered showers, warming up to 16C by mid afternoon.

Andrew Black
0810 Andrew Black, BBC Scotland reporter, says: "The pope is due to arrive at the Palace of Holyrood House, the Queen´s official Scottish residence, in about three hours. There's a large media centre behind the palace which is slowly filling up with journalists, expected from all over the world, and the area is lined with broadcasters' satellite trucks."

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0805 Jennifer from Glasgow writes: "It is my hope that all Britons will come together to welcome the Pope to our country, showing the best of British society by being polite, respectful and gracious hosts to our guest, just like we are to all who are invited to our home."

0759 As the Pope settles down in his plane seat, a bit of background. Most agree, by any standards, this is a major event. It's the first state visit by any Pope and the first papal visit since the "Rock Star Pope" John Paul II came to the UK in 1982. The four-day tour to Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Birmingham will see the Pope meet the Queen, the prime minister and religious leaders.

0750 A quick look at the papers. The story of Cardinal Walter Kasper, one of the Pope's closest advisers, partly overshadows coverage. He said arriving at Heathrow airport was like landing in a "Third World" country and has pulled out of the tour. And the papers seem divided on whether the Pope can expect a heartfelt (Telegraph) or an unholy (Daily Mail) welcome.

David Willey
0740 BBC Vatican correspondent David Willey, who is travelling with the Pope, says there are more than 30 senior officials on the plane.

0726 Take-off. Pope Benedict XVI leaves Rome's Ciampino airport for a historic visit to Britain, the first state visit by any Pope.

0725 Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Pope's visit.

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