Missing Girl's Parents to Visit Pope

The parents of Madeleine McCann, the four-year-old British girl who was abducted from a Portuguese holiday resort three weeks ago, are set to visit the pope to discuss the disappearance of their daughter.

Kate and Gerry McCann, both Catholics, are expected to attend a general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is helping to arrange their visit.

"The cardinal is conscious of the prayers of the entire Catholic community in this country for the McCann family at this distressing time," a spokesperson for Murphy-O'Connor said. "Having spoken to Dr Gerry McCann, the cardinal is facilitating the presence of the McCanns at an audience with the Holy Father as soon as is feasible.

"The cardinal also assured Dr McCann of his prayers for the safe release of Madeleine and for the rest of the family," the spokesperson added.

Although the McCanns have gone through a devastating three weeks since the disappearance of their daughter on May 3, they have testified that their faith in God has kept them going.

They paid a visit last week to the famous Portuguese Marian shrine of Fatima with the hope that an answer to their prayers would soon be coming.

Kate McCann, who has reportedly been a devout Christian for a long time, said she has found great strength in her faith over the past three weeks. Gerry McCann is said to have renewed his faith during the tragedy.

Earlier this month, around 300,000 of Portugal's Catholics united at the holy shrine, many praying for Madeleine on what was her fourth birthday weekend.

Madeleine disappeared May 3 after her parents left her and her brother and sister, both aged 2, alone in their room while they went to a restaurant inside their hotel complex in Praia da Luz, about 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of Lisbon and the police believe she was abducted.