Roundup: Protesting the Pope in the UK

Pope Benedict is in the United Kingdom for a four-day visit, and will be met with a “Protest the Pope” campaign by activists opposed to the Vatican’s stance on the child sex abuse scandal, contraception, women, and homosexuality.

An organizer of the protest, Peter Tatchell, writes:

The Protest the Pope campaign is calling on the British government to disassociate itself from the pope’s opposition to women’s rights, gay equality and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. On these and many other issues, Benedict is out of step with the majority of British people, including most Catholics.

We do not believe that the pope should be honored with a state visit, given his role in the cover up of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy. Even today, he is refusing to hand the Vatican’s secret sex abuse files to the police in countries worldwide. He is protecting the abusers. This makes him complicit with sex crimes against children. Such a person does not deserve the honor of a state visit.

The National Secular Society, which also is involved in the campaign, writes (and refers to Pope Benedict by his birth name, Joseph Ratzinger),

You can show your disapproval of Ratzinger by protesting against the legal bans that the Vatican has fought for on abortion and stem cell research. And also for his obdurate, and breathtakingly irresponsible, opposition to contraception. It fuels a population growth that is unsustainable. Women in poverty-stricken circumstances in countries with dwindling resources are doomed to have large families that they cannot support and who frequently starve. And his using all means, even dishonest ones, to prevent condom use causing untold numbers to die unnecessarily of AIDS because the only known barrier against the disease, condoms, is denied to them.

Today in Edinburgh, Scotland, however, only about 60 people showed up to protest the Holy See’s visit.

They waved banners with the slogans “Good hat, bad man”, “God’s favourite Nazi: Pope Benedict XVI” and “Pope protects paedophile priests” – and booed as the Popemobile passed their assigned spot on Lothian Road.


Mini-Roundup: Will it be better than Cats? If you’re in the Kansas City area, you can find out the answer to that question by catching the theater version of the Proposition 8 trial, which will be performed several times over the next week. The playwright hopes to take the show on the road.

Sep 16

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