Pope pays tribute to British over World War Two


More than 50,000 people have attended a Mass in Birmingham on the last day of the Pope’s visit to Britain.

They heard him beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, a 19th century Catholic convert revered for building bridges between the Church of England and Rome.

He also paid tribute to the British over their wartime struggle against his German homeland.

“It is a day chosen to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the battle of Britain,” said Pope Benedict in his sermon. “For me, as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here with you on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrified their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology.”

Earlier, six men held in connection with an alleged threat to the Pope’s visit were released without charge. Newspaper reports said the cleaning company employees were arrested after a witness reported a conversation overheard in the canteen.

Following the Pope’s apology over what he called the “unspeakable crimes” of child abuse, the Church has pledged to do more to help victims.

“Our aim is to try and prevent abuse in the future and also to make sure if it does occur it is thoroughly, properly and independently investigated,” said Bill Kilgallon, chairman of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission.

The Pope’s appearance again brought protesters but far fewer turned out compared to the thousands who demonstrated in London on Saturday.