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Pope Benedict XVI concludes visit to UK

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Pope Benedict XVI has concluded his official visit to the UK after travelling to Birmingham for the beatification of Cardinal Newman

The Prime Minister bade farewell to the delegation at Birmingham Airport and paid tribute to the Pope for challenging Britain to “sit up and think”.

The PM said that the Pope has shown that faith was still “a vital part of our national conversation”.

Mr Cameron said:

I believe we can all share in your message of working for the common good and that we all have a social obligation each other, to our families and our communities.

And, of course, our obligations to each other - and our care for each other - must extend beyond these shores too.

The official visit, which ended on Sunday, took Pope Benedict XVI first to Edinburgh where he was welcomed by Queen Elizabeth II, before heading to Glasgow for an open-air mass. The Pope then travelled to London for two packed days of engagements before heading to Birmingham for his final day.

Speaking just before leaving the country the Pope said:

Thank you for the warmth of your welcome and for the hospitality that I have enjoyed.

During my time with you, I have been able to meet representatives of the many communities, cultures, languages and religions that make up British society.

The very diversity of modern Britain is a challenge to its Government and people, but it also represents a great opportunity to further intercultural and inter-religious dialogue for the enrichment of the entire community.