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Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Thursday, 16 September 2010 10:56 UK
BBC WM public debate on Pope Benedict's visit
Clare Short, Gerald Nembhard. Cllr Alan Rudge and Fr Richard Duffield
Clare Short, Gerald Nembhard, Cllr Alan Rudge and Fr Richard Duffield

Former Labour MP and cabinet minister Clare Short was among a panel of guests at BBC WM's public debate on the Pope's visit to the UK.

Ms Short was MP for Birmingham Ladywood for 27 years until stepping down at the 2010 General Election and served in Tony Blair's government for 6 years.

Members of the public were also invited to pose questions to the panel.

The debate focussed on the spiritual, cultural and educational impact of the Pope's visit to Birmingham.

BBC WM 2010 Papal Visit Debate: Part 1

Members of the audience

Clare Short was joined on the panel by Father Richard Duffield, Head of the Birmingham Oratory, Councillor Allan Rudge, who is Birmingham City Council's lead for the Pope's visit and Gerald Nembhard, executive of West Midlands Faith Forum and secretary of the Council of Black-led Churches.

It was hosted by BBC WM Breakfast presenter Phil Upton and the audience included members of Birmingham's different faith communities.

Pope Benedict XVI's four-day tour to the UK is the first visit by a pontiff since Pope John Paul II's trip in 1982 and will culminate in an open-air Mass in front on 65,000 pilgrims at Cofton Park in Birmingham on Sunday, 19 September.

BBC WM 2010 Papal Visit Debate: Part 2

Clare Short

As part of the Mass, the Pope will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman.

After the Mass the Pope will go to the Birmingham Oratory before going to Oscott College on the final day of his four day State visit.

The visit of Pope Benedict XVI has triggered much debate and the subject of funding the trip was one of issues that was discussed in the second part of the debate.

Many faith leaders who attended the debate gave their thoughts on the significance of the Pope's visit to the city's diverse communities.

BBC WM 95.6FM will have full coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Birmingham beginning at midnight on Saturday, 18 September.


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