Pope will cash in on 'paying pilgrims'
CATHOLICS in Britain are being asked to pay between £10 (€12) and £25 (€30) to attend Masses and Pope Benedict XVI's other public appearances during his four-day visit in September.
The donations, described as "pilgrim contributions" by the church, are needed to help defray costs of up to £20m (€24m) and were disclosed as the 'Protest the Pope' coalition announced its first public event to campaign against the visit, in Richmond upon Thames, southwest London, next week.
The most expensive event, at £25 a head, will be the Mass in Birmingham on September 19, which is expected to attract 70,000 people and will beatify the Anglican convert Cardinal John Henry Newman.
The September 16 Mass in Glasgow will cost £20 and includes a performance by Susan Boyle.
The cheapest event will be the prayer vigil in Hyde Park in London on September 17, with tickets selling at £5.
Each pilgrim will be given a "pilgrim pack" containing their "pilgrim passport", a commemorative CD and a "how-to-keep-in-touch postcard".
Meanwhile, a new biography of the German Pontiff has claimed that Pope Benedict's place in papal history will depend on how he deals with paedophile clerics.
The book, 'Pope Benedict XVI, The First Five Years' is written by an Irish priest, Fr Michael Collins, an expert in Vatican affairs, and is published today.
This, Fr Collins's latest book, covers the first five years of what he describes as "arguably one of the most important pontificates in recent history for the Catholic Church".
Inevitably, the rivetting part of the book is the focus on the paedophile scandals of the Ryan and Murphy Reports.
'Pope Benedict XVI, The First Five Years', by Michael Collins, and published by The Columba Press, is now on sale at €11.50.