Ratzinger’s four-day UK visit expected to cost taxpayers £20 million

And so far, the Vatican hasn’t even been able to foot its own part of the bill. Via the Independent:

Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain in September is expected to leave taxpayers with a bill of more than £20m, as the amount set aside by the Government appears to fall far short of the true costs.

 Officials have complained that the “open-ended” budget for the four-day visit is spiralling out of control, as experts reassess critical requirements, mainly security at the large-scale public events to be attended by the Pontiff. The emerging problems with a commitment that the coalition inherited leaves ministers facing the prospect of having to plough millions more into a one-off event while being forced to make savage cuts across public services.

The Catholic Church in the UK was forced to rethink key elements of the visit, such as policing costs and security considerations last month. It is believed that the church, which originally expected to pay some £7m towards the visit, has so far managed to raise less than £6m.

How does the UK government go about justifying the expense to non-Catholic citizens? For that matter, how do they justify it to Catholic citizens? Is there any reason the relevant parties for the “pastoral and state business” couldn’t have gone to ROme?

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