POPE FRANCIS is considering a visit to Scotland later this year for a climate change conference in Glasgow.
The Times has reported that the Bishops’ Conference in Scotland, which includes some of the leading figures within the Catholic Church in Britain, have been made aware of the possibility.
Should the trip take place, Pope Francis would be the first pontiff to visit Scotland since 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI made a brief visit, some three decades after Pope John Paul celebrated Mass with an estimated 300,000 worshippers in Bellahouston Park in 1982.
If Pope Francis does make the journey, he will have visited Ireland and Scotland, but not England or Wales as Pope.
The number of Catholics in Scotland has steadily increased since the 19th century, when immigration from Ireland began in substantial numbers.
In 1800 about three per cent of the population were Catholic.
By 1900 this had risen to 10 per cent, and according to the latest figures, some 16 per cent of Scotland are Catholic.
A majority are of Irish origin, although a significant number of Scottish Catholics are of Italian, Lithuanian and Polish descent.