I am very much looking forward to my visit to the United Kingdom in a week’s time
and I send heartfelt greetings to all the people of Great Britain. I am aware that
a vast amount of work has gone into the preparations for the visit, not only by the
Catholic community but by the Government, the local authorities in Scotland, London
and Birmingham, the communications media and the security services, and I want to
say how much I appreciate the efforts that have been made to ensure that the various
events planned will be truly joyful celebrations. Above all I thank the countless
people who have been praying for the success of the visit and for a great outpouring
of God’s grace upon the Church and the people of your nation. It will be a particular
joy for me to beatify the Venerable John Henry Newman in Birmingham on Sunday 19 September.
This truly great Englishman lived an exemplary priestly life and through his extensive
writings made a lasting contribution to Church and society both in his native land
and in many other parts of the world. It is my hope and prayer that more and more
people will benefit from his gentle wisdom and be inspired by his example of integrity
and holiness of life. I look forward to meeting representatives of the many different
religious and cultural traditions that make up the British population, as well as
civil and political leaders. I am most grateful to Her Majesty the Queen and to His
Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury for receiving me, and I look forward to meeting
them. While I regret that there are many places and people I shall not have the opportunity
to visit, I want you to know that you are all remembered in my prayers. God bless
the people of the United Kingdom!
Dear Brothers and Sisters, In our catechesis
on medieval Christian culture, we turn again to Saint Hildegard of Bingen, the great
nun and mystic of the twelfth century. Hildegard’s celebrated visions vividly interpreted
the word of God for her contemporaries, calling them to a committed Christian life.
She brought a woman’s insight to the mysteries of the faith. In her many works she
contemplated the mystic marriage between God and humanity accomplished in the Incarnation,
as well as the spousal union of Christ and the Church. She also explored the vital
relationship between God and creation, and our human calling to give glory to God
by a life of holiness and virtue. Hildegard’s musical compositions reflect her conviction
that all creation is a symphony of the Holy Spirit, who is himself joy and jubilation.
Her vast learning and spiritual authority also led her to work for the renewal of
the Church in her day. Through Saint Hildegard’s intercession, let us ask the Spirit
to raise up wise, holy and courageous women whose God-given gifts will enrich the
life of the Church in our own time! * * *I am pleased to greet the participants in
the Communications Seminar sponsored by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross,
and I offer prayerful good wishes for their work. Upon all the English-speaking visitors
present at today’s Audience, especially the pilgrim groups from England, Wales, Scotland,
Ireland, Sweden, Nigeria, Indonesia, Canada and the United States of America, I invoke
God’s abundant blessings.