I was curious to know how he really felt his tour of England and Scotland had gone; not just the official communiques, but his personal reaction. I asked him what had been the highlight of his trip. Meeting the Queen, perhaps? The service at Westminster Abbey? The turnout of crowds, despite the protests over birth control and child abuse?
Benedict shook his head. "Everything," he said in Italian. "Everything."
Then he added in English: "It was all wonderful."
He looked out of the aircraft window at the coast of England sliding beneath us as we headed across the Channel. "It was all just wonderful," he repeated.
Monday, 27 September 2010
Richard Owen, The Times's shortly-to-retire Rome correspondent, was granted a brief audience with Pope Benedict on the flight back from his UK visit.