Pope Benedict has warned Britain must protect its Christian roots and stave off the threat of what he called “aggressive forms of secularism.”
The pontiff pointed to the involvement of religious leaders in brokering the Northern Ireland peace process and the role of the Church in helping the poor as to why religion should not be excluded from society.
He made his remarks in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh at the start of a four day state visit where he was greeted by the Queen and Prince Philip.
Benedict’s trip has drawn a mixed response from the British public. While thousands of Catholics are expected to turn out to see their spiritual leader, concerns have been raised about the cost of hosting the pontiff.
The bill is expected to be nearly 23 million euros, with more than half of that being picked up the taxpayer.
Demonstrators were been held to protest against the Vatican’s handling of numerous child-sex abuse cases.
The protesters say the Church needs to do more to turf out paedophile priests from amongst its ranks.