Coming 2010: B16 to UK?
The Holy See will announce soon the first papal visit to Britain since Pope John Paul II made a pastoral visit in 1982.While Benedict has not presided at a beatification ceremony since returning the penultimate step to sainthood to the local churches shortly after his 2005 election, the pontiff's devotion to the 19th century cardinal-convert is well known.
The historic event will overshadow even the triumphant visit of Pope John Paul II, which almost did not take place at all because of the Falklands War.
During his time in the country, expected to take place in September next year, Pope Benedict will have a meeting with the Queen, Supreme Governor of the Church of England and will be accorded the full panoply of a state visit. It is possible the Pope will also stay with the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
[Prime Minister] Gordon Brown extended a formal invitation during a private audience in February and preparations have been under way for some time.
A draft itinerary is understood to include London, Birmingham, Oxford and Edinburgh.
As part of the visit next year Pope Benedict XVI is not expected to visit Northern Ireland, according to British officials.
It is thought he will visit Ireland on a separate occasion.
One issue likely to be central to the celebrations will be the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, a ceremony that could take place with Benedict in Birmingham, where Newman founded his Oratory.
Intriguingly enough, while an early July leak reported that Newman's beatification had been scheduled for next 2 May in Birmingham, a formal announcement to that end remains conspicuous by its absence.
In the meantime, the Papa Ratzi Road Show picks up again at the weekend with a three-day trip to the Czech Republic beginning early Saturday.
SVILUPPO: The "Beeb" is off and running with the same....
Pope Benedict XVI is to visit Britain in 2010, the BBC has learned....PHOTO: AP
Downing Street refused to comment on Pope Benedict's visit, saying it was a matter for the Vatican.