Pope’s trip to Britain trip seen as challenging, not dangerous

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While some of the media coverage in the run-up to Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to Great Britain could make people think the pope was about to step into a minefield, the Vatican spokesman seemed to think the trip would be a challenge, but not a particularly dangerous one.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, reviewed plans for the pope’s Sept. 16-19 trip to Scotland and England and answered reporters’ questions, including queries about planned protests, a possible papal meeting with victims of clerical sexual abuse, the participation of Anglican women priests at a papal prayer service and the costs of the trip to British taxpayers.

“On other trips as well, there have been protests, debates and objections by some groups,” Father Lombardi told reporters Sept. 10. While there might be more groups in Great Britain being more vocal about their objections to the trip, “this is part of the normal climate of a very pluralistic society where there is wide freedom of expression,” he said.

“There is nothing to be surprised about, but at the same time, we don’t see anything to be worried about either,” he said.

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