Papal Visit in the UK Expected to Draw Smaller Crowds Than Anticipated

September 15th, 2010 - 9:43 pm ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

benedict Sep 15 (THAINDIAN NEWS) According to the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, the visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Britain is going to draw smaller crowds than first believed, with organizers expecting only 55,000 people instead of the 80,000 which they first thought would be coming to the beatification of Cardinal Newman this Sunday in Birmingham, which is in central England.

According to the ‘Associated Press’, they are also expecting less worshippers to show up for the “open-air” mass, which is being held at Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park, than there were at the same place for a mass which was given by Pope John Paul II in 1982. They do not feel that this indicates lack of interest however.

Lord Chris Patten, who heads the government’s part of the visit stated, “I think one of the problems is that quite a lot of the trees in the park have grown since then, which is a tendency which trees have, which has altered the sight lines. Quite properly, welcoming as the citizens of Glasgow are, they don’t want to cut down all their trees.”

When John Paul II visited, it was the first time which a pope had ever came to England, and he was extremely popular at that time. The recent sex abuse scandals by the church have tainted the visit of Pope Benedict a bit.

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