Why “Protest the Pope”?
The diverse groups who support this campaign have many different reasons for not approving of the State Visit to the UK by the Pope in September 2010. They all however share the following view:
- That the Pope, as a citizen of Europe and the leader of a religion with many adherents in the UK, is of course free to enter and tour our country.
- However, as well as a religious leader, the Pope is a head of state and the state and organisation of which he is head has been responsible for:
- opposing the distribution of condoms and so increasing large families in poor countries and the spread of AIDS
- promoting segregated education
- denying abortion to even the most vulnerable women
- opposing equal rights for lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people
- failing to address the many cases of abuse of children within its own organisation.
- rehabilitating the holocaust denier bishop Richard Williamson and the appeaser of Hitler, the war-time Pope, Pius XII.
- The state of which the Pope is the head has also resisted signing many major human rights treaties and has formed its own treaties (‘concordats’) with many states which negatively affect the human rights of citizens of those states.
- As a head of state, the Pope is an unsuitable guest of the UK government and should not be accorded the honour and recognition of a state visit to our country.
- (Or, because of; my note: They just can’t get it right, can they? Having failed to attract enough grown-ups to the Pope’s Hyde Park vigil on September 18, the bungling organisers of the papal visit are trying to drag schoolchildren there.
Last Friday the Westminster diocese pinged an email to all Catholic school administrators: “URGENT” read the subject line, “PLEASE POASS (sic) TO THE HEADTEACHER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE”. The text was a letter from Archbishop Vincent Nichols, pleading with all heads to organise a school party to attend the Saturday event from 12 noon until 9 pm. And, I’m/You are paying, "The government cost of the trip is expected to be 10 million pounds (15 million dollars, 12 million euros) to 12 million pounds. Ref, Austerity)
If you believe, as we do, that the Pope should not come to the UK without hearing from the millions of people who reject his harsh, intolerant views and the practices and policies of the Vatican State please get involved http://www.protest-the-pope.org.uk/
The following organisations are supporters of the Protest the Pope campaign:
- Atheism UK
- British Humanist Association
- Central London Humanist Group
- Council of ex-Muslims of Britain
- Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association
- Humanist Association of Northern Ireland
- Humanist Society of Scotland
- International Humanist and Ethical Union
- Liverpool Humanist Group
- The Marches Secularists
- National Secular Society
- North London Humanists
- One Law for All
- Plymouth Humanist Group
- The Richmond upon Thames LGBT Forum
- Southall Black Sisters
- South West London Humanists
- Women Against Fundamentalism
- Young Freethought
If your organisation wishes to join or support the campaign please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Government response: Pope Benedict XVI will visit the UK from 16 to 19 September at the invitation of Her Majesty The Queen. The visit is described as a Papal Visit with the status of a State Visit. The programme will include a number of pastoral events, which are the responsibility of the Catholic Church, as well as some significant official events, which will provide opportunities for issues of common interest to the UK Government and the Holy See to be discussed at the highest level.
The Holy See has a global reach and so is a valuable international partner for the UK Government. Our relationship with the Holy See enables us to address jointly a range of foreign policy and development issues. These include working towards delivery of the Millennium Development Goals, addressing the impacts of climate change, preventing and resolving conflict, and finding ways to encourage disarmament.
As with any bilateral diplomatic relationship, there are issues on which we disagree. The Holy See is clear on our positions on these issues. However, we believe that Pope Benedict’s visit will provide an opportunity to strengthen and build on our relationship with the Holy See in areas where we share interests and goals, and to discuss those issues on which our positions differ.
Since the visit has the status of a State Visit, and some parts of the programme are being organised by the British Government, a proportion of the costs of the Visit will fall to the Government. The costs can be divided into two categories: policing costs, which will be met by the State from existing policing budgets, and non-policing costs, which will be split between the Catholic Church and the Government. The total size of the costs at this stage is not confirmed but discussions are currently under way to decide the appropriate levels of contribution from the Government and the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England and Wales, and of Scotland. Other parts of the programme, such as the Masses and other pastoral events, are the responsibility of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences. The direct costs of these events will therefore be borne by the Catholic Church http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ProtestthePope/