The exact cost is not yet known but estimates suggest the Church in Britain is still several million short

The papal visit has left the Church in Britain facing a shortfall of up to £3.5 million, it emerged this week.

The Church has raised £6.5 million for the papal visit so far, mostly from private donors, but the cost is estimated to be £10 million.

A spokeswoman for the Church said the exact cost would not be known for some months. She said the collection before the visit raised £1.4 million.

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The last papal visit in 1982 left the Church deeply in debt. The Church funded it entirely, as it was a pastoral visit. This year the costs were shared with the state.

The spokeswoman said: “We are delighted at the success of the papal visit and have raised about £6.5 million towards the cost of the visit so far.

“We don’t know the final figure for income from other sources or expenditure on the main events. We are not likely to know all the exact figures for some months.

“Discussions will be taking place about how best to fund any shortfall and of course any contribution towards the cost of the visit would be very welcome.”

The Diocese of Westminster held a collection for the papal visit last Sunday, the feast day of Blessed John Henry Newman. The spokeswoman said it is up to each diocese to decide whether to hold extra collections.

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