Oxford University Chancellor Chris Patten is set to co-ordinate the Pope’s visit to Britain in September.
The government is due to confirm his appointment this week. Lord Patten will organise the three day papal trip, which is expected to cost around £14 million.
The appointment of Lord Patten should prove a popular choice, as he is both a well-known practising Catholic and an experienced diplomat.
The papal trip was originally planned to cost in the region of £7 million but costs are believed to have doubled since then.
It has suffered a series of setbacks after an offensive Foreign Office memo was leaked and costs spiralled.
Civil servants formerly involved in the trip had to be replaced after 23 year-old Oxford graduate Steven Mulvian wrote a memo suggesting the Pope take a trip to an abortion clinic, bless a homosexual marriage and bring out his own range of condoms.
Diplomat Anjoum Noorani approved the memo and has been suspended and banned from overseas postings for five years due to the severity of the case.
The University has made it clear that Lord Patten is working in a personal capacity in relation to the visit.
A spokesperson for the University said: “He will only be coordinating the Government side of things, not the religious side. He is very pleased to be able to help, particularly because of the Oxford connection with Cardinal Newman.”
Third year St. Hilda’s student Ellen Hughes said: “In light of everything going on at the moment politically and economically it might be best that someone who is perceived to be an independent is indeed involved.
“Ultimately, I think it’s great that the Chancellor is involved.”