LONDON - The first-ever papal state visit to the United Kingdom is running into yet more problems. And this time, it's the Jews who are offended.
Pope Benedict XVI's meticulously planned four-day visit to the U.K. this coming September will include such activities as a meeting with the Queen, a massive open-air prayer event, a beatification ceremony for Cardinal John Henry Newman in Birmingham, and a historic address before the British parliament set to take place - here it comes - on the eve of Yom Kippur. Not the best of timing perhaps.
The speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness Helene Hayman, who is Jewish, appealed yesterday to the Foreign Office to move the speech from the late afternoon slot so that Jewish dignitaries, including the chief rabbi, could attend and still have time to get home and adequately prepare for the holy day. The cabinet office replied that it was unable to alter the schedule, but stressed that the speech would most definitely end before Yom Kippur actually began.
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