Catholics 'will be loyal to Pope'
The leader of Catholics in England and Wales has insisted that he is confident the faithful will show "profound loyalty" towards Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to Britain.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols said Catholics were looking forward "very much indeed" to the visit in spite of a lower than expected turnout among Catholics for major events featuring the Pope.
"The Catholic tradition in this country is one of actually very profound loyalty to the person of the Holy Father," he told a news conference in London.
"While many would want to suggest differences of trends and opinion, this way or not, I am quite sure, and it is my experience in parish after parish, standing at the back of Westminster Cathedral day after day, that Catholics are looking forward to this visit very much indeed.
"The Catholic people of this country know what it is to show their affection and support for Pope Benedict."
Archbishop Nichols said 1,000 coaches with pilgrims would attend the beatification ceremony for Cardinal John Henry Newman to be carried out by the Pope in Cofton Park, Birmingham, on Sunday.
The event will bring the 19th century clergyman one step closer to becoming England's first non-martyred saint since before the Reformation.
He said the Church expected around 54,000 to 55,000 people to be present at the site for the Mass, billed as the highlight of the Pope's four day trip to Scotland and England.
The Catholic Church said earlier this year that around 65,000 people classed as "pilgrims" - who have been asked to pay £25 towards travel costs and security - were expected at the ceremony.