British Govt wants Vatican for Pope visit expenses.

Papal visit: Catholic Church asked to pay more for Pope’s tour

The Roman Catholic Church will be asked to pay more money to cover the costs of the Pope’s official visit this year.

Pope Benedict XVI

The Papal visit of Benedict XVI has caused concern in Whitehall over the planning and financing of the high-profile visit, the first papal state visit to Britain.

David Cameron has appointed Lord Patten of Barnes, the formerConservative chairman, to manage the Government’s involvement in the events, which include a meeting between the Queen and Benedict XVI.

The Daily Telegraph revealed on Saturday that more Government money will be put into the visit.

The Prime Minister has indicated he is now prepared to see the Government’s costs for the event, previously estimated at £15 million, increase by as much as £4 million in order to make sure it runs smoothly.

Insiders have also revealed that the Church itself will also be asked to increase its spending, in addition to the £5 million it has already raised.

Sources said the Catholic hierarchy is relaxed about being able to raise extra money for the visit.

Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, is leading the Church’s planning for the visit and is said to have “taken a firm grip” of the issues involved.

The precise amount of money the Church will be contributing is yet to be settled. Catholic leaders have privately reminded the Government that the visit, though of huge importance to Catholics, is formally a state event, since the Pope was invited to visit in his capacity as a head of state.

The Pope was invited to Britain in February 2009 by Gordon Brown when he was Prime Minister.

Whitehall insiders say that preparations for the visit initially progressed slowly and were badly managed, being put in the hands of a relatively junior Foreign Office official.

The highlight of the four-day visit will be the beatification of Cardinal Newman, the Victorian convert to Rome. It will take place at Cofton Park in Birmingham in front of a crowd of 80,000.

Full details of the visit will be revealed at a press conference today.

Pope Benedict XVI unfrocks Medjugorje priest

Father Tomislav Vlasic, the priest who helped to turn the Bosnian town of Medjugorje into one of the Catholic Church’s most visited shrines, has left the priesthood after being placed under investigation by the Vatican.

By Simon Caldwell
Published: 8:00AM BST 27 Jul 2009

Father Tomislav Vlasic, the former “spiritual director” to six visionaries who claim that the Virgin Mary visited them nearly 40,000 times over 28 years, has been laicised by Pope Benedict XVI a year after he was placed under investigation over allegations that he exaggerated the apparitions and had engaged in sexual relations with a nun.

The Franciscan asked to leave the priesthood after the Vatican launched an investigation into allegations that he was guilty of sexual immorality with a nun which he then covered up.

He was also suspected of exagerating stories of the Virgin Mary’s appearance and under formal investigation for alleged “dubious doctrine, the manipulation of consciences, suspect mysticism and disobedience towards legitimately issued orders”.

Father Vlasic refused to co-operate with the investigation from the outset and he was banished to a monastery in L’Aquila, Italy, where he was forbidden to communicate with anyone, even his lawyers, without the permission of his superior. He has not commented on the allegations but told the Vatican that he felt wronged given he had turned Medjugorje into an international shrine and generated funds to build new churches.

It emerged on Sunday that he has chosen to leave the priesthood and his order, a move which has brought the investigation to an abrupt halt.

But the Pope has insisted that Father Vlasic observes a set of conditions on pain of excommunication which include a total ban on teaching Christian doctrine and giving spiritual direction.

There is also an “absolute prohibition of releasing declarations on religious matters, especially regarding the phenomenon of Medjugorje

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