David Cameron promises “ever closer co-operation between the UK and the Holy See”

Prime Minster David Cameron has issued a statement on the first anniversary of the Pope’s visit to the UK promising “ever closer co-operation” between the UK and the Holy See. The message, on Downing Street notepaper, reads:

“One year ago, the landmark visit of Pope Benedict, gave millions of British Catholics an opportunity to celebrate their faith, while sharing a powerful message with everyone in our country about the importance of compassion, tolerance and justice.

“The Pope’s message is just as relevant today. The shocking riots in the UK underline that we need more than ever to build a new culture of social responsibility and develop strong and powerful communities as we deal with tough economic challenges.

“We should be proud that Britain’s generosity is saving the lives of millions in East Africa and countless others affected by disasters across the globe.

“I am deeply proud of the enormous contribution people of faith have made to our society and look forward to our ever closer co-operation between the UK and the Holy See as we work for the common good.”

One wonders what definition Mr Cameron gives to “compassion, tolerance and justice” when these words are used by the Vatican.

Compassion? What compassion has the Pope, the Holy See, the Vatican and all the other faces the Catholic Church hides behind, shown to the hundreds of thousands of children who have been violated by its priests? We have recorded often enough the endless parade of clerics who have sexually abused children and the institutions — especially the Vatican — that have shielded (and shamelessly continues to shield) those criminals from justice.

Tolerance? I wonder what gay people who wish to live dignified lives that include them fully in society would think about that?

Justice? What kind of justice is it that puts church law above the secular — even criminal — law, in order to ensure that only the pope can control the punishment of miscreants? The administration of “Justice” under RC Canon law is a Gilbert and Sullivan parody. However heinous the offence, under canon law an apology and promise not to reoffend can render a trial unnecessary. Being friends with the pope can help delay “justice” pretty well indefinitely. And the penalties are derisory.

When he talks of “cooperation”, we assume that Mr Cameron means in the sense of helping poorer countries to develop. But we think that maybe the Vatican has bigger ideas.

Mr Cameron keeps assuring us of his commitment to evidenced based policy yet this poll suggests that his bald assertion that “The Pope’s message is just as relevant today” is not only not evidence based, but that the evidence is the exact opposite. So, Mr Cameron joins his Prime Ministerial predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in playing up some aspect of religion in a way that is the opposite of reality. What is it about religion that makes politicians so fawning?

When receiving the new British Ambassador to the “Holy See” earlier this month, the Pope said that he supported “the spread of authentic human rights, especially through the rule of law and fair participative government, with a special care for the needy and those whose natural rights are denied.”

He did not elaborate what he considered to be “authentic” human rights or whether those who he considers are being denied “natural rights” include the unborn.

The statement goes on: “The active fostering of the essential values of a healthy society, through the defence of life and of the family, the sound moral education of the young, and a fraternal regard for the poor and the weak, will surely help to rebuild a positive sense of one’s duty, in charity, towards friends and strangers alike in the local community. Be assured that the Catholic Church in your country is eager to continue offering her substantial contribution to the common good through her offices and agencies, in accordance with her own principles and in the light of the Christian vision of the rights and dignity of the human person.”

The inflated Vatican-speak hides a myriad sinister ambitions. So let’s translate and see what it really means.

“Defence of life and the family” = no abortion and no gay rights.

“Sound moral education of the young” = unfettered indoctrination of children in religious schools

“Offering her substantial contribution to the common good through her offices and agencies, in accordance with her own principles and in the light of the Christian vision of the rights and dignity of the human person.” = no abortion, no gay rights, no contraception, no stem cell research, more public money for the church and special powers for bishops to interfere in politics and control the lives of their flock (and everyone else, if possible).

Mr Cameron should be very careful when he talks of “ever closer co-operation” with such a poisonous institution. He may find that he is unleashing something that he won’t like – and his electors certainly won’t. And, taking into account the results of the poll reported here, he does not have public support for involving the “Holy See” in anything.