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Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed that he will be travelling to Scotland as part of his tour to the United Kingdom this year.
The Pope made the announcement, which was in a gathering with the Scottish Catholic bishops in Rome, Italy, in response to an address from Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien.
The Pope has been quoted as saying: "Later this year, I shall have the joy of being present with you and the Catholics of Scotland on your native soil."
Pope Benedict, who announced that he would be taking a visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 last year, spoke against sectarianism and euthanasia. He said that "[f]aith schools are a powerful force for social cohesion."
"Together with my brother Bishops," Cardinal Keith O'Brien stated in reaction to the address, "I am filled with joy at the news that the Holy Father will visit Scotland, since he has confirmed his intention to visit us we in turn will now begin our preparations for his visit in earnest." O'Brien wished Pope Benedict XVI a "heartfelt welcome" and said that "[w]e are thrilled that your visit will include Scotland." The Cardinal also declared: "As Scots Catholics we are proud of our nation’s long relationship with the Holy See."
At present, a precise route has not been announced by the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI's visit will be the first papal visit to the United Kingdom since 1982, when Pope John Paul II came to the country.