Pope Benedict XVI began a visit to Britain today (September 16, 2010) by acknowledging the Catholic Church had not acted decisively or quickly enough against priests who molested children. He said the church's top priority now was to help abuse victims heal, according to the Associated Press website.
Benedict's four-day state visit has been overshadowed by disgust over the abuse scandal and indifference in highly secular Britain, where Catholics are a minority at 10 percent, and endured centuries of bloody persecution until the early 1800s.
The pope's first meeting was with Queen Elizabeth II -- both head of state and head of Church of England -- at The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The queen told Benedict that his visit reminded all Britons of their common Christian heritage, and said she hopes relations between the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church would be deepened as a result.