Protests planned for Pope’s visit

Protests are already being planned for the visit of the Pope to Britain next September. The National Secular Society says it will organise a campaign to make clear to the Pope that whatever celebrations the Government lays on for him, he is not welcomed here by everyone.

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: “We intend to bring together all those groups that the Pope has insulted or threatened over the years – gays, women’s groups, those affected by HIV, those damaged by the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child abuse. We want to let the pontiff know in no uncertain terms that his intransigence and fundamentalism are damaging real people.”

Mr Sanderson said that the rapidly falling attendances at Catholic masses in Britain indicate that even those born into Catholicism are fed up with the reactionary teachings of the Vatican. “Every progressive step that society takes has been opposed by the Vatican – abortion reform, birth control, homosexuality, easier divorce, embryonic stem cell research – you name it, and the Vatican is against it. Why Britain should laud a man who illegitimately interferes in the politics of democratic countries and whose Church siphons off huge amounts of money from wretchedly poor countries, I don’t know.

Mr Sanderson continued: “The horrific Vatican cover up of large-scale child abuse by priests is enough to invalidate any state reception for this man. Instead, Britain celebrates and fetes him. But we will ensure that the other side of the story is put as the wrong-doing of the Catholic Church is once more, inexplicably, swept under the red carpet and conveniently forgotten for the duration”