Pope departs Britain at the end of historic state visit

19th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Pope Benedict XVI flew out of Britain Sunday after an historic four-day state visit, as Prime Minister David Cameron said he had made people "sit up and think."

The pope departed from Birmingham, central England, at 6:45 pm (1745 GMT) on board an Alitalia plane and was due to arrive in Rome at 2030 GMT.

As Benedict prepared to leave, Cameron thanked him for making people in the mainly Anglican country think about what they could do to help others.

"You have really challenged the whole country to sit up and think, and that can only be a good thing," said Cameron at Birmingham airport where he bid farewell to the pope.

"For you have offered a message not just to the Catholic Church but to each and every one of us, of every faith and none," said Cameron.

"A challenge to us all to follow our conscience to ask not what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities?

"To ask not what we can do for ourselves, but what we can do for others?"

On Sunday Benedict beatified a 19th century Catholic convert, Cardinal John Henry Newman, in Birmingham in the crowning moment of his visit.

The pope also travelled to Edinburgh, Glasgow and London during the first ever state visit by a pope to Britain. Benedict was the first pontiff to tour the country since Pope John Paul II in 1982, although his was only a pastoral visit.

© 2010 AFP

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