Pope to visit Britain – but not everyone is pleased
The news that the reactionary head of the Catholic Church, Joseph Ratzinger, is to be accorded a state visit to Britain next September was greeted with dismay by the National Secular Society this week. The Pope will meet the Queen and speak in both Houses of Parliament. The whole visit will have the full panoply of a visiting head of state, although the Vatican has only a few hundred (all-male) inhabitants.
Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: “This is dismal news indeed. Why Britain should seek to laud such a nasty extremist is beyond me. We should not forget that his ‘teachings’ have resulted in the banning of condoms in developing countries where HIV is decimating the populations. He encourages population growth in places where starvation is common. He persecutes homosexuals, treats women as second class citizens, has colluded in the large-scale cover up of child abuse. His Church interferes illegitimately in politics and undermines democracy. It siphons huge amounts of money out of poverty-stricken economies – what is there to celebrate about such a bigot? The NSS will be joining other groups in protesting against the celebration of this ghastly man’s presence here.”The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association is planning to picket the Labour Party Conference in Brighton next week in protest at Gordon Brown’s invitation to the pope. If you’d like to join them, they can be contacted through their website.