Pope Benedict XVI will visit Britain next year, according to senior Vatican sources.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:18PM GMT 14 Mar 2009
The German pontiff will make the first Papal visit to this country in nearly three decades.
It is understood that the historic event is being timed to coincide with the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, who is on the path to becoming the first British saint for 40 years.
Details of the visit, which will attract crowds of hundreds of thousands of people, are still under discussion, but cities being considered include London, Birmingham, Oxford, Edinburgh, Armagh and Dublin.
A senior cardinal is due to make a private trip to Britain in the summer to make preparations for the Pope's visit, which could be announced by the end of this year.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales will hope that such an event will capture the imagination of the country's four million Catholics, of whom only a quarter now regularly attend Mass...