Why is the Pope coming on a state visit?
It is a rare courtesy, which has not been extended to the heads of many of the states with whom we have close ties, members of the EU, of Nato, of the Commonwealth, and others with whom we might wish to strengthen our relations, for political, commercial and other reasons.
Whether justified or not, the doubts raised about the Pope's visit were foreseeable. Surely we should be told what considerations, what raisons d'état, have determined that the Vatican state should be accorded this exceptional preference.
Nick Elam, London SE5