Belief Beat

(Updated to add vuvuzela ban.)

Pope Benedict will embark on the first official papal visit to England and Scotland in a few weeks, and organizers have released a list of what is allowed and not allowed at the large-scale gatherings in London and Birmingham.

The Guardian, the BBC, the Associated Press and Reuters report the list forbids candles,  alcohol, barbecues, pets, musical instruments — including vuvuzelas — and bulky hampers, because such items could “pose a threat to others.” Folding chairs, cushions, banners and flags are OK, however.

Other updates about the Sept. 16 to 19 visit: Catholic News Agency reports that Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle will perform for the pope during his visit.

With Christopher Hitchens ailing, presumably the atheist-proposed plan to try to arrest the pontiff during the visit, for “international crimes against humanity” related to the Catholic Church’s clergy sex abuse crisis, has been aborted. But Reuters reports that 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.”

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