Pope Visit UK 2010: Live

The Telegraph
September 18, 2010

[with video]

21.02: Eagle-eyed Pope fans spot Benedict walking up and down in front of the building, rosary beads in hand before retiring for the night.

20.26: The Pope returns to his residence at the Vatican's Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon.

19.30: The boos start to compete more closely with the cheers as the cardinals leave the Abbey.

19.25: With a smile and a wave the Pope departs in a black BMW.

19.22: The Pope leaves Westminster Abbey to much cheering, clapping and flag-waving from crowds outside. The odd boo can be heard over the mostly joyful sounds.

Police on guard outside Lambeth Palace

19.19: The Pope and Archbishop Rohan Williams sign the Westminster Abbey register after the historic prayer service.

18.37: Pope Benedict XVI attacked the "increasing marginalisation" of Christianity in his speech in Westminster Hall, arguing that religion should be recognised for its "vital" contribution to the nation. Here is his speech in full.

18.18: Scotland Yard say the suspect was held by officers at a home in north London shortly before 2pm. A spokesman said he was arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

18.12: PA snap: A sixth man, aged 29, has been arrested by counter-terrorism detectives investigating a suspected plot to attack the Pope, Scotland Yard said.

18.07: The Pope arrives at the Abbey.

18.00: Off in the Popemobile to Westminster Abbey. The dedicated crowd cheer loudly.

17.54: He is being presented at the front row of MPs before leaving the Hall to more applause.

17.50: He ends with "God bless you all." Warm applause follows.

17.45: The pope tells the crowd: "There is widespread agreement that the lack of solid ethical foundation for economic activity has contributed to the grave difficulties now being experienced by millions of people throughout the world."

17.35: The Pope starts his speech. Starts with a thank you to the "distinguished" gathering in an "historic setting".

17.31 John Bercow says faith is not a relic.

17.30: The BBC is reporting about 2000 people are waiting within Westminister Hall.

17.17: Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports: "John Bercow is the last to walk out. Such a prominent role makes his wife's tweet criticising the Pope look totally inappropriate and unprofessional. No sign yet of her on the wall with her parachute."

17.14: The pope is leaving for Parliament. The Pope mobile is chugging slowing along the roads. The crowds are cheering and thousands have turned out to catch a glimpse.

17.05: David Cameron is to miss the service due to father's funeral.

Protesters carry placards as Pope Benedict XVI arrives for a celebration of Catholic education at St Mary's University College, Twickenham

16.55: Jonathan Wynne-Jones again: "Gordon brown seems unusually relaxed talking with Cherie. Almost friendly. maybe miracles can happen."

And then this: Politicians sat on one side with the Anglican and Catholic bishops sat facing them. Very appropriate given the nature of the pope's speech talking about the balance between laws of the state and freedom of belief.

16.50: Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports from Parliament: "Sat in westminster hall with the atmosphere building up to what is being described as one of the most important speeches of Pope Benedict's pontificate. The band of the coldstream guards playing."

16.46: The pair have exchanged gifts before undertaking a photo opportunity with a couple of school boys.

16:44 The Pope is now apparently meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury's family. It's not clear exactly how they are relevent to his visit.

16:38 Much appreciation on the web for the headline in the Scottish Sun today: Our Father in tartan heaven.

16:36 The Pope spoke of a deep friendship between the Anglican and Catholic churches.

16:20 The library at Lambeth Palace contains 200,000 books, including some 30,000 items printed before 1700, according to its website. That's unlikely to impress the Pope, his library back home in the Vatican has 1.1 million.

16.15: A very warm welcome from Dr Williams. The pair kissed and hugged and held hands for several seconds.

16.13: The Pope arrives at Lambeth. Just under 25 minutes from Wimbledon. Record time I would suggest from that part of the world to central London.

16.08: The woman whose grand-daughter was blessed by the Pope has described the moment as an "absolute privilege". The woman, who gave her name as Christine, disclosed that she had been down at the Pope's residence at Wimbledon "by chance".

The woman brought her grand-daughter, Mary, who she was baby-sitting, down to the area after watching coverage of the Pope's visit on television. She said she had been standing across the street from the residence, when police escorted her to the front door. The Pontiff then kissed her grand-daughter's cheek.

"It was an absolute wonderful experience," the woman, from Suffolk, told the BBC. "I just came down her by chance. To be invited like that… it was fabulous.

A police officer checks men wearing angel wing costumes outside St Mary's University College in London before the Pope's arrival

"It is just a once of a life experience. I never thought the chance would come about. It is wonderful." She added she was not catholic and her daughter was "non-plussed".

16.02: A colleague has just noticed from the TV pictures that the convey is being followed by an ambulance.

15.58: Live pictures of the pope's convey shows him travelling through the streets of south London. Still would hazard a guess he will be late.

15:50: The Pope has left Wimbledon after blessing at least two children on the steps of the residence.

15.44: The Pope still hasn't left Wimbledon yet. He is due at Lambeth at 4pm.

1542: "Pope's plea to save Christmas", the London Evening Standard has splashed on its front page. "The Pope today condemned Britain's "politically correct" culture for reducing the significance of Christmas and other religious festivals."

1540: The police outriders have been seen arriving at the Pope's Wimbledon base.

15.28: The crowds can be seen gathering outside Lambeth Palace in anticipation for the Pope's meeting with Dr Rwoan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

15.26: A spokesman for Veolia Environmental Services said the firm would not be adding any comment to the statement made by Westminster City Council.

14.59: The five men were arrested at Veolia's depot in Chiltern Street, central London, the BBC reporting.

14.47: The council's statement in full, from Leith Penny, Westminster City Council's director for city management: "The UK's security is obviously of critical importance and can never be taken for granted and so our congratulations must go to the police authorities for their swift action today.

"While police investigations are ongoing and no charges have been brought, we can confirm that the people at the centre of the investigation work for one of our contractors, Veolia Environmental Services, who employ 650 on-street staff to keep Westminster's streets clean and free from rubbish.

"Veolia and Westminster City Council work closely with the relevant authorities to constantly ensure that all the people working on their behalf are subject to right to work checks as prescribed by the Home Office to assess their eligibility to work in the country.

"We are confident that these checks are robust and we will continue to work with the police and other authorities during this investigation."

14.44: The council has just issued a statement confirming the men worked for Veolia Environmental Services, a contractor which employs 650 on-street staff to keep Westminster's streets clean and free from rubbish.

14.40: The five arrested men were not employed by Westminster City Council but a private firm responsible for street cleaning, the BBC said.

14.34: Father Lombardi has just posted a blog about the visit and how the Pope manages "serenity in difficult situations".

"Serenity, that itself becomes a message and example for believers. The secret is, in fact, faith in Jesus Christ. Benedict XVI proposes it with intelligence, confidence and joy, knowing and respecting the questions and difficulties of his interlocutors.

"He knows that today, an encounter with God and the Christian faith is not easy and or to be taken for granted; we need a friendly hand and voice that clearly propose and lovingly accompany humanity in its rediscovery of the beauty and value of the Christian faith." Here it is in full.

14.28: The five men worked as "street cleaners", Sky News and the BBC reporting.

14.14: Andrew M Brown writes: "Again what you notice about the Pope's remarks is how lucid and to the point they are, blissfully free of jargon. At the assembly he appealed directly and simply to young people, saying: 'God wants your friendship... Once you enter into friendship with God, everything begins to change.'"

14.11: Pope Visit UK 2010: day two in pictures - Pope Benedict XVI in London

14.03: The Pope is "having lunch in wimbledon. School children ask 'Will he be having beans on toast?'", the Catholic Herald reports.

13.55: Martin Beckford, who was at the event where the Pope criticised the celebrity culture, said that the 3,000 schoolchildren were "amazingly well-behaved considering they had to spend several hours standing in the cold on a sports field listening to a lot of speeches.

"Some were playing with their mobile phones or the silver blankets they'd been given but all stood up and kept quiet during the prayers and the Pope's address. His voice is quite difficult to follow at times but they appeared to be listening when he warned about the dangers of celebrity culture." Here is YouTube footage for those who missed it.

13.53: Damian Thompson writes on his blog: "I like the way the Holy Father's natural shyness works to his advantage: the crowd feels protective towards him. His speech to the schoolchildren, asking them to be saints and explaining how they might go about it, was beautifully judged.

"It's a shame that the organisers made him wear a comedy stole to deliver it, but that's the Magic Circle for you. And while we're on the subject of neckwear, clearly Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere thought it would be terminally uncool to wear a tie, even for the Supreme Pontiff."

13.49: Archbishop Nichols has posted this twipic of Fr Lombardi briefing the press.

13.46: The protest surrounding the Pope's visit, in pictures.

13.42: Martin Beckford has filed this colour from Twickenham: "More than 100 people were still lining the streets when the Pope left Twickenham at 1pm, stopping on the way out to kiss a baby girl whose mother had been outside waiting to catch a glimpse of him since 10am.

"A Vatican security agent beckoned Becky Gorrod from her position by the gate towards the Pope's car, and as he raised his arms to bless her eight-month-old daughter, Alice, her dummy fell out and landed on his lap.

"The pontiff picked up the dummy and gave it back to Mrs Gorrod, a 39 year-old Catholic from Isleworth, then kissed her baby on the top of the head. Mrs Gorrod said she was in tears throughout the unexpected encounter, adding: "It was absolutely amazing."

13.37: Police have arrested five suspected Islamist terrorists planning to assassinate the Pope, the Telegraph's Security correspondent, Duncan Gardham discloses.

13.32: A spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales said: "We have absolute confidence in the security operation to protect both the Pope and the public. The Pope is enjoying a wonderful visit, warmly welcomed wherever he goes."

13.27: The Pope has been informed of the arrests, says Vatican spokesman Fr Lombardi but adds he has not been told of any links with the Papal visit.

He tells reporters there is "no need to change anything about the programme with the Pope and the security for this trip". "The Pope is calm and happy and we go on with this trip with courage and joy," he added.

13.23: The men are Algerian, Sky News reporting.

13.21: The Pope arrives back at his Wimbledon residence where he will have some lunch and then a nap. The Vatican is briefing that the visit will continue with "courage and joy".

13.10: Police sources say some of the five men are of Arab origin but it is not yet known if they are British citizens.

13.04: If you have any information about the plot or know where the arrests occured please either call the Telegraph's newsdesk on 0207 931 2500 or email

13.03: Officials said information of a potential plot against the pope had been received overnight. The men were arrested "on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".

12.56: Here is the Telegraph's summary so far on the plot:

12.47: The arrests come just hours after the head of MI5, Jonathan Evans warned Britain is facing a wave of terrorist attacks.

12.44: The Pope's safety has been reviewed. No changes were deemed appropriate, Scotland Yard said. Initial searches have not uncovered any hazardous items or weapons.

12.40: The arrests were made just before 6am in London. The five men are aged 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50. The men were arrested by officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command.

12.37: There is no change to the terror level in Britain. The men are currently in custody and being interviewed by detectives.

12.34: The five men were arrested after a tip-off to police, according to the BBC. After that information was assesed a decision was made to arrest the men at a busy London business. Searches are underway at several other residential homes. It is not suggested it was part of a wider terrorist plot.

12.32: Snap from the Press Association: "Five people were arrested in London today by Scotland Yard detectives investigating a potential threat to the Pope, sources said."

12.27: Breaking news: BBC reporting that five men have been arrested in connection with Pope's visit over terrorism threat. More follows.

12.26: Andrew M Brown writes: "Benedict XVI isn't the first Pope to team up with Blue Peter. In 1973 Pope Paul VI made a special broadcast for Blue Peter viewers."

12.21: Seems that due to being behind schedule he has not gone to bed yet. He is now listening to the Chief Rabbi.

12.10: There is a large gap in the Pope's schedule now: has he gone for an afternoon siesta, which he is said to enjoy most afternoons?

12.07: Damian Thompson writes: "The Pope's warm, shy, affectionate personality was really on display at the assembly this morning. Like the Glasgow Mass, it was an overwhelmingly happy occasion. Stephen Fry: this visit is not going well for you."

12.06: Archbishop Nichols notes: "Pope Benedict has just finished a fantastic address to all the children and he looked so happy after with the way they received him."

11.59: Martin's comments were in response to this statement from the Pope on "celebrity culture".

"We live in a celebrity culture and young people are often encouraged to model themselves on figures from the world of sport or entertainment. My question for you is this: What are the qualities you see in others that you would most like to have yourselves? What person would you most like to be?"

11.53: Pope says he "hopes future saints of 21st century are among audience. Warns that celebrity or money won't bring happiness," reports Martin Beckford. Martin adds: "Will famous atheists protest against Pope's criticism of celebrity culture?"

11.52: Cristina Odone writes that the atheists' hate campaign changed MP Kate Hoey's mind about the pope's visit:

"Hoey explained that she was fed up with media bias against the Pope and his Church, and couldn't bear the carping from atheists with an axe to grind and a book to plug... Despite her rejection of many Catholic rules, she is now eager to roll out the red carpet. Tomorrow, when the Pope visits the Little Sisters of the Poor in Hoey's constituency in south London, he will find the remarkable Kate among the welcome party."

11.40: Stuart Reid, Catholic Herald columnist, writes about what Boris Johnson said to the Pope in London last night. "I told the Pope," said Boris, "that what was wrong with Britain was that the Roman Emperor Honorius told the Brits in 410 AD that Rome was no longer able to protect them. "From that time," said Boris to the Pope, "the British have had a sense of desertion, of confusion, of rejection."

What did the Pope make of that? I asked Boris. "He looked hunted. His eyes flickered around the room." Did he saying anything? "Yes", said Boris. "He said: 'Very interesting'."

11.17: Andy Akinwolere, the Blue Peter star, is hosting the assembly.

11.14: Students from England, Scotland and Wales are presenting B16 books about the heritage, history of English peoples by St Bede," reports Anna Arco, from the Catholic Herald. She adds: "It's incredibly emotional. He was just five metres away."

11.13: "A very senior official assures me no victims' meeting this morning. We'll see," reports John Hooper from The Guardian.

11.12: Some within the Pope's camp have been dismayed by the opposition to his trip but Oxford academic Diane Purkiss points out that they need a bit of perspective.

"A visit from the Pope in the mid-to-late 17th Century would have been likely to result in physical attacks by large groups of ordinary people and the state on ordinary Roman Catholics or even the Pope himself," she writes, pointing out that deaths of Catholics were seen as a cause for celebration.

11.10: Andrew M Brown writes: "They're singing a South African song called "Siyahamba - We are Walking in the Light of God."

11.01: The Pope enters the field to thunderous cheers from schoolchildren, the majority whom are armed with digital cameras to record the occasion.

10.59: Archbishop Nichols has posted this picture of the some of the thousands of schoolchildren who have lined up to see the Pope.

10.55: The Popemobile is out again and the BBC reports that speedbumps were removed from the area to ensure he had a "smooth journey".

10.53: Andrew M Brown writes: "The Pope spoke generally about the nature of education and wisdom and said: 'Education is about forming the human person, equipping him or her to live life to the full.' The Catholic ethos, he said, 'needs to inform every aspect of school life'."

10.50: Damian Thompson writes: "Pope Benedict is saying that education is about imparting true wisdom – it has a 'transcendent' dimension that must help the young encounter their creator.

"The mention of transcendence is typical Ratzinger: we're far removed from the trendy jargon of educationalists, including Catholic ones. Did he just say he was taught by English ladies as a child? Difficult to say, as his accent is heavy – but there's no doubting the fluency of his English or its natural rhythms.

"This is clearly someone who is comfortable talking in English, which wasn't the case with John Paul II."

10.46: Anna Arco of the Catholic Herald writes on Twitter: "This has got to beat most boring school assemblies. Absolutely great atmosphere. And total silence."

10.45: Andrew M Brown writes: "Catholic schoolchildren from London are present at this morning's "big assembly" at St Mary's, Twickenham, and many more are watching in a special "big assembly" in their schools. (My son's one of them.) Hearing the rather low-key address at the beginning, given by a nun I think, and the fairly dreary hymn, I am wondering if the event will hold the children's attention, especially the younger ones."

10.38: Another Tweet from Martin Beckford on Twitter this morning. Here is a picture of police searching the "school bags of all 3,000 kids meeting Pope". "So far they have found scissors but no peashooters," he reports. He says the Pope's speech to "kids on education is v positive and not really about faith schools - protestors might have to take the day off".

10.30: The Pope is now leading prayer service.

10.26: The children at the centre can be seen with broad smiles as the Pope makes his way through the crowds. They clearly don't care for all the controversy - to them he is the Pope and it is an honour to meet him. Martin Beckford reports that one teacher was crying.

10.23: Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary shake hands with the Pope as he enters the centre's courtyard. The Pope stops and goes to greet some children. He is running about an hour behind.

10.21: Loud cheers again greet the Pope as he arrives at Twickenham. Young children waving flags can be seen as he gets out of the car. .

10.08: "Neocatechumenal Communities of Great Britain Welcome the Pope": Pope's supporters appear to be losing the battle of the slogans, however they are overwhelmingly winning the numbers game.

10.03: The poor BBC reporter has just disclosed she has been at the Twickenham site since 5am. She also reports that some children have been up since just after midnight to ensure they were there on time.

09.56: Concert pianist Stephen Hough writes on his Telegraph blog about his ambition to play a piano duet with this musical Pope: "Although there are areas where he and I may not see eye to eye, I've always imagined him as a man willing to listen, someone who was more interested in tending and pruning than in weeding – in fact, the perfect duet partner."

09.54: The crowds cheer as his dark blue BMW leaves followed by his lengthy motorcade. Security was tight with officers crawling about in bushes looking for any suspicious packages, the BBC reports.

09.53: The Pope is pictured leaving the residence in Wimbledon.

09.46: Officials are standing out front of the Pope's place of residence in Wimbledon. He is expected to leave shortly.

09.40. Martin Beckford, busy following the Pope and filing great stories for the paper and website, still manages a little bit of time for sightseeing. Here he is pictured with the Popemobile.

09.35: Another Blair intervention in the Pope's visit - this time from Cherie. She told ITV's Daybreak programme that Catholics don't need to apologise for "where we've come from". I wonder whether that includes those who come from a country where multi-culturalism equates to the third world.

09.28: Martin Beckford has filed this colour from Twickenham: "A stream of guests arriving at St Mary's University College to see the Pope were surprised to find three half-naked homsexual men donning gold wings before launching their protest.

The trio, who called themselves Gaydar's Warrior Angels, said they wanted the Church to be more accepting of homosexuality. On the narrow road outside the college stood about 20 protestors, most individuals rather than representing groups.

Bryan Junor had come all the way from mid-Wales to make a point about the Vatican's alleged cover-up of clergy sex abuse, although his large embroidered banner mis-spelled abstinence with an 'a' rather than an 'e'.

It read: "Abstinance makes the church grow fondlers." Standing next to him, Steve Smith held aloft a small banner declaring: "There's no God, get over it."

Police were operating airport-style security at the entrance to the Catholic higher education institution, with even the 3,000 children attending the morning's "big assembly" forced to have their school bags searched. An officer said they had found a pair of round-ended scissors on one guest, but no peashooters or catapults."

Here is a picture of the protesters.

09.20: Some of Pope Benedict XVI's clearest criticism yet of the Catholic Church's approach to paedophile priests will fall short of the demands of abuse victims, Vatican analysts said.

Marco Politi, an Italian commentator and Vatican observer, said: "The pope is sincere in his regrets, but that will not be enough in the eyes of victims' groups."

Andrea Tornielli, an author of several books on Pope's past and present, added: "The pope made some important statements, but these words will not suffice."

09.15: Seems not even Nuns can avoid getting frisked by police as tight security greets visitors to Twickenham.

08.50: Martin Beckford ponders whether the Pope "bumped into his neighbour in Wimbledon, Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson". He also reports it is a "beautiful morning" for the Pope's visit. (

08.45: Fanta officials will be cheering this morning after some newspapers reported the Pope had the orange fizzy drink during his meeting with the Queen.

08.30: The Pope warned Britain not to lose sight of its Christian heritage in its "multicultural" and "aggressively secular" modern culture. Martin Beckford's front page piece.

08.24: Catholics have starting posting their thoughts on the Papal Visit's official Facebook page: Here is a selection so far:

Louise McGarrell: "A truly blissful, blessed day, words just can't put into words how special it was. Simply devine :)."

Karen Fallon: "It was a fantastic spiritual many young people there which is a great sign ........We will remember it forever.........:-)."

Louise Fitzpatrick: "Thank you for such an amazing day... Mass was beautiful & very emotional. A day that I will remember for the rest of my life. God Bless Our Pope ♥ xxx."

08.22: Lord Patten, the Pope's State Visit organiser told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme it iss "not provocative" for him to make the case for faith in public life. He also says the Dr Williams gets "unfair" treatment in the press.

08.17: The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has just posted this on Twitter: "Arrived at strawberry hill train station for the st marys college big assembly loads of schoolchildren and teachers en route to see the Pope."

08.16: For those who want a recap on the yesterday's highlights, here is a look back.

08.13: The ultimate apps for Catholics, as chosen by Claudine Beaumont, The Telegraph's Technology Editor.

08.10: The Pope is currently at a private mass in Wimbledon.

08.04: Seems the Pope's visit has brought glorious weather with him. According to the BBC, London will experience sunny conditions with a maximum temperature of 17 degrees. Looks like it will be the same again tomorrow.

08.02: Pictures of the Pope show him waving to onlookers from a window of the Vatican's Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon.

07.55: While at the Abbey, The Pope will shake hands with woman priest tipped to be bishop, Canon Jane Hedges, Ruth Gledhill, from The Times, reports on Twitter.

07.40: The Pope must make time to meet those who were abuse by priests, victims tell the BBC.

07.25: Pictured: Pope protestors show sense of (Father Ted) humour.

07.15: Martin Beckford thinks the Papal team will be more than happy with the first day of his visit. "although perhaps Pope cd have worded bit about 'extremist atheism' better. I don't really think he meant all non-believers are Nazis", he adds on his Twitter feed.

06.56: Ryanair has taken out a full page advertisement today for a new cheap flight campaign. Under the heading "save taxpayers money" the advertisement has a picture of the Pope waving to a crowd, with a speech bubble that says "shudda flown Ryanair". It is thought the State visit will cost taxpayers between £15 and £20 million.

06.50: A spokesman for the Catholic Church in England and Wales hailed the first day of the visit as a "success".

06.46: 65,000 Catholics enjoy a day in the sun. All the colour from Neil Tweedie and Auslan Cramb.

06.36: Seems most of the papers this morning have run on their front pages the fantastic pictures of toddler Maria Tyszczak being kissed on the forehead by the pope. Her mother Marzena Tyszczak, 23, who moved to Glasgow from Poland a few years ago, was in tears after the unexpected blessing. She described it as "amazing".

Friday September 17th 06.30: Good morning. The Pope has stayed overnight in London. He is more than likely awake and preparing for mass at 8am in Wimbledon.

He will then visit St Mary's University College, Twickenham where more than 4000 school children will congregate. He will have an official meeting with Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury later in the day before his speech at Palace of Westminster and prayer service at Westminster Abbey.


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