Pope Benedict will make his first visit to Britain as head of the Roman Catholic Church on September 16-19. This will also be the first official papal visit to the country. Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, talks with Reuters about the trip in the context of the Church’s child-abuse scandal, tensions with the Anglican Church and planned protests. (Photo: Archbishop Vincent Nichols (L) and the prime minister’s special representative for the papal visit, Chris Patten, July 5, 2010 in London/Peter Macdiarmid)
Here’s our news story on the interview — Archbishop of Westminster says pope not fishing for Anglicans — and below are excerpts from the transcript.
Q: The pope is due to arrive in Scotland shortly. What keeps you awake at night about the visit?
A: Actually I feel at the moment quite relaxed and looking forward to this visit very much, and I think this is true of a lot of people. I think we are well prepared, I think most issues have been settled and agreed, and I get increasingly a sense within our society that this is a significant moment. A visit that is profoundly historical in its nature, and I believe that when the pope comes he will be warmly received and attentively listened to. We do have great character of hospitality towards guests and he is a guest of her Majesty the Queen and I think society will respond accordingly.
Q: There are rumours that the British tabloids are storing up a sex abuse scandal to coincide with the papal visit. How much of a concern is that for you?