20 Sep 2010

Pope beatifies 19th century cardinal

2:38 pm on 20 September 2010

Thousands have witnessed the Pope's beatification of 19th Century theologian Cardinal John Henry Newman at an open-air Mass on the final day of his state visit to Britain.

The event, in Birmingham, was the first beatification by Pope Benedict XVI himself.

Pope Benedict told more than 50,000 people at a Mass in Birmingham's Cofton Park that they were celebrating the cardinal's "outstanding holiness", the BBC reports

Apology to abuse victims

Earlier in the visit, Pope Benedict used a Mass at Westminster Cathedral in London to apologise for the "unspeakable crimes" of child abuse committed within the Catholic church.

The Pope expressed expressed his "deep sorrow" for the abuse and acknowledged "the shame and humiliation" caused.

Later it was confirmed that the Pope had met five people who had suffered abuse at the hands of the clergy.

The Vatican said that during the intensely emotional 30-minute private meeting the Pope expressed his "deep sorrow and shame" to the four women and one man.

Commenting on the Pope's message during Mass, Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said: "We don't need a Pope who is sad about crimes. We need a Pope who will prevent crimes. And his words prevent nothing."

Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, who was also a victim himself, called on the Pope to make funding available to abuse survivors and provide access to Vatican files.

Thousands of people took part in a rally and march in central London on Saturday afternoon to protest at the Pope's handling of the sex abuse crisis.

In the evening, tens of thousands of people took part in an open-air prayer vigil in London's Hyde Park.

Arrested men 'posed no threat' to Pope

The police in London say six street cleaners arrested on Friday during the Pope's state visit posed no threat to the life of the Pontiff, the BBC reports.

The arrests were made after counter-terrorism officers received a tip-off about a potential threat.

The men have not been charged with any offence but remain in custody.