Vatican Does The World No Favour with Reactionary Pope

19th April 2005

The election of Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope was described as “a tragedy for an Aids-ravaged world” by the National Secular Society.

The Vice President of the NSS, Terry Sanderson, said: “We are dismayed that a man who seems even harder and more reactionary than his predecessor should now be heading such a vast and influential organisation. There is now no hope that the Catholic Church will change or even reconsider any of the inhumane policies that have caused so much suffering in the world. The continued ban on celibacy in the priesthood will ensure that the vast problem of child abuse by priests will not be properly tackled. The rejection of women as full participants in the church will ensure that the contempt in which they are held by the Vatican will continue. Homosexuals will now continue to see their rights being challenged and – where the Church can achieve it – retarded. Gays can expect the defamatory language that the Vatican has been employing recently to become even more insulting.”

Mr Sanderson said that in many ways the Vatican had scored an own goal. “The election of Ratzinger will ensure that the decline of the Catholic Church in Europe continues. The widely disregarded policies on birth control and abortion are resented by many Catholics who have abandoned the Church, and the unyielding stance on so many other issues also drives people away. This is a disaster not only for the Aids-ravaged developing world, but for the Catholic Church itself.”