Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, “The Kingdom of God is very near to you!” (Lk 10:9). With these words of the Gospel we have just heard, I greet all of you with great affection in the Lord. Truly the Lord’s Kingdom is already in our midst!
Welcome to Glasgow, entitled by one of your predecessors Specialis Filia Romanae Ecclesiae - the Special Daughter of the Roman Church. Welcome to Scotland, to the whole of which another of your predecessors extended that coveted title.
Thank you for your gracious invitation to make an official visit to the United Kingdom and for your warm words of greeting on behalf of the British people. In thanking Your Majesty, allow me to extend my own greetings to all the people of the United Kingdom and to hold out a hand of friendship to each one.
Your Holiness, I am delighted to welcome you to the United Kingdom, and particularly to Scotland, on your first visit as Pope. I recall with great pleasure the memorable pastoral visit of the late Pope John Paul II to this country in 1982. I also have vivid memories of my four visits to the Vatican, and of meeting some of your predecessors on other occasions. I am most grateful to them for receiving, over the years, a number of members of my family with such warm hospitality.
As is traditional at the start of Apostolic Journeys, Pope Benedict XVI held a mid-flight press conference with journalists accompanying him on his four-day visit to the United Kingdom. Here is a Vatican Radio translation of the question and answer session.