The Pope has confirmed he is to visit Britain in September, bringing the possible beatification of Birmingham’s Cardinal Newman a step closer.
But reports have suggested the ceremony to make Cardinal Newman England’s first non-martyred saint since the Reformation, would be held at Coventry Airport and not Birmingham.
The Pontiff had been expected to arrive in England on September 16 and travel to Scotland on September 19, before returning to Rome.
Peter Jennings, press secretary for the Archdiocese of Birmingham, said the Pope’s itinerary would be confirmed in the following weeks.
Mr Jennings said: “He’s said he’s coming to Great Britain but it’s speculation that he could come in mid September.
“It’s also speculation that when he comes he will beatificate Cardinal Newman and that if he does it will be held at a large scale venue.
“It’s most unlikely he will come to Birmingham. I expect in the next few weeks the Catholic Church will announce his itinerary.”
Pope John Paul celebrated Mass in front of an estimated crowd of 350,000 at Coventry Airport when he visited on May 30, 1982.
The present pontiff spoke of the plan for his first apostolic visit in an address to Catholic bishops of England and Wales at the end of their pilgrimage to Rome, at the weekend.
Pope Benedict said he constantly remembers Catholics of England and Wales in his prayers.
Cardinal Newman, who died in 1890, spent 40 years in the city after he converted from Anglicanism. He was buried at a small cemetery in Rednal.
For a beatification to take place one miracle has to be attributed to the person, and in 2005 an elderly man said he was cured of a crippling spinal condition after praying to Cardinal Newman.
The Pope was formally invited to visit the UK by Prime Minister Gordon Brown last February. Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy also invited him to visit Scotland.