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Pope to deliver 'Thought For Day'

The Pope is to deliver the "thought for the day" slot on Radio 4 for Christmas Eve, the BBC has said.

Former station controller Mark Damazer said earlier this year that persuading Pope Benedict XVI to make an appearance was on his wish list.

However the Papal visit to the UK three months ago passed without him recording a message for the slot.

The Pope's message will be broadcast at 7.45am during the Today programme.

It is the first time the Pope has presented material which has been specifically written for a broadcast audience. He recorded his Thought For The Day in Rome on Wednesday.

Gwyneth Williams, the new controller of Radio 4, said: "I'm delighted Pope Benedict is sharing his Christmas message with the Radio 4 audience.

"It's significant that the Pope has chosen Thought for the Day to give his first personally scripted broadcast - and what better time to do so than on the eve of one of the biggest celebrations on the Christian calendar."

Thought For The Day allows speakers from a range of faiths to give a personal reflection and has been broadcast since 1970.

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