LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Pilgrims attending the large public events during Pope Benedict’s visit to England and Scotland next month have been issued a long list of do’s and don’ts including a ban on musical instruments and steel cutlery.
The list, on the official papal visit website, encouraged worshippers to bring sunblock, flags and folding chairs for the events in Glasgow, London and Birmingham, but said alcohol, gazebos and lit candles should be left at home because they “could pose a threat.”
It did not specifically mention the vuvuzela, so popular among fans at this summer’s South African soccer World Cup, but the noisy monotone trumpet could be considered out of bounds under the category of banned instruments and whistles.
The four-day trip, from September 16 to 19, will be the first papal visit since Pope John Paul II’s pastoral visit in 1982 and is the first-ever official papal visit to Britain.
Various protests are expected, including by secularists critical of the trip’s cost, gay rights groups and those angry at the child-abuse scandal which has spread throughout the Roman Catholic church globally.
Nevertheless, tens of thousands of the Church’s estimated five million followers in Britain are expected to attend the public events.
About 85,000 are due to attend a prayer vigil in London’s Hyde Park, while 65,000-70,000 are expected at the beatification of the Victorian theologian and Anglican convert Cardinal John Henry Newman in Birmingham.
Up to 100,000 are due to attend a Mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, Scotland.
Worshippers will be able to take blankets, torches and cameras as well as picnics, but only plastic cutlery and non-breakable cups and plates will be allowed. Hampers and cool boxes should not exceed a certain size.
Last week the full itinerary was published, including details of when people would be able to catch a glimpse of the pope in his popemobile.
Writing by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison