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Queen welcomes Pope Benedict to the UK

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Queen welcomes Pope Benedict to the UK

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Pope Benedict XVI has been welcomed by the Queen in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh after arriving for the first-ever state visit by a pontiff to the UK.

Benedict is then set to tour Britain, holding open-air masses in Glasgow, London and Birmingham.

His visit has caused controversy in one of Europe’s most secular countries as the Catholic Church struggles with a global child sex-abuse scandal.

Concerns have also been raised about the cost of hosting the pontiff.

The visit is expected to cost some twenty-three million euros, with British taypayers picking up more than half of the bill.

Tens of thousands lined the streets of Edinburgh to welcome the 83-year-old pontiff but some demonstrations are planned to protest against the Vatican’s stance on birth control, gay rights and abortion.

The last time a pope visited the UK was twenty-eight years ago when a six-day tour by Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II, drew massive crowds.