BIRMINGHAM, England, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI beatified 19th Century Cardinal John Henry Newman and noted the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in a mass Sunday in England.
The rainy open-air mass in Birmingham's Crofton Park drew more than 50,000 people and came near the end of the pope's four-day state visit to Britain.
The pope's visit has been marked with highs and lows, the BBC noted. It is the first time a pope has visited Britain in nearly three decades and he apologized for child abuse by Catholic priests on several occasions.
In his homily Sunday, Benedict paid tribute to those who died fighting the "evil ideology" of the Nazi regime. His beatification of Newman was a step toward his sainthood.
Paying tribute to Newman, the pope said: "His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilized society, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance to Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world."
During his visit, the pope also spoke about what he called the "marginalization" of Christianity and the effects of "aggressive secularism."
Benedict was scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron later Sunday.