September 23, 2009 / 4:33 PM / 8 years ago

Pope Benedict set to visit Britain next year

LONDON (Reuters) - Pope Benedict will visit Britain next year following an invitation from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a government source said on Wednesday.

The visit is expected to coincide with a beatification ceremony for Cardinal John Henry Newman, one of the most prominent English converts from Anglicanism to Catholicism.

Church sources in Rome confirmed a visit was likely in the spring but there were no firm details for the moment.

It would be the first visit to Britain by a pontiff since Pope John Paul came in 1982. About 5 million Catholics live in England.

Newman, who converted to Catholicism in 1845, was a key figure in the Oxford Movement, which tried to move the Church of England closer to its Catholic origins.

Additional reporting by Phil Pullella in Rome

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