Factbox – Planned protests during pope’s visit to Britain

September 16, 2010

pope visit image

(Photo: Official papal visit memorabilia at Catholic bookshop in London September 15, 2010/Toby Melville)

Demonstrations are planned for Pope Benedict’s four-day state visit to England and Scotland, with the main focus likely to be on a Protest the Pope campaign march in central London Saturday, Sept 18.

Other separate protests are planned, including a bus poster campaign by a group supporting women’s ordination and a silent witness by the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland.

Here is an outline of some of the main protests likely to take to the streets:

* VICTIMS OF CHILD ABUSE:

– The American group SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say they will demonstrate with posters. A handful will fly over to join victims in England and Scotland.

– They want the pope to agree to a list being put up on diocesan websites that names all clerics who have been credibly accused, admitted or have been proven to have molested children.

– Few other victims groups say they will protest, but individual members, unhappy with what they say is a lack of support from the Roman Catholic Church, may join the march.

* HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGNERS/SECULARISTS:

– Atheism UK, the British Humanist Association, the National Secular Society, the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain, and the Richmond-upon-Thames LGBT Forum, are among 21 groups that make up the coalition Protest the Pope campaign.

– Many object to the state paying for the visit, saying it is largely a religious trip.

– Many also oppose the Vatican’s stance on abortion, gay rights and resistance to the use of condoms in the fight against HIV-AIDS. There is also unhappiness at what is seen as the rehabilitation of a Holocaust denying bishop and moves to make wartime Pope Pius XII a saint.

– Organisers were called to a meeting with the Metropolitan Police and the Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, a week before the march, during which the Protest the Pope campaign said it had no plans to be disruptive.

– High profile atheists have argued the pope should be arrested to face questions over the Catholic Church’s handling of the child-sex abuse scandal, as well as his own role in an alleged cover-up of abuse by priests.

* WOMEN’S ORDINATION:

– A fleet of buses will be plastered with the message “Pope Benedict — Ordain Women Now!” during the pope’s visit. The Catholic Women’s Ordination (CWO) group, which works within the Church to encourage debate and reform, has paid 15,000 pounds for the buses to pass London landmarks, including Westminster Hall where the pope is due to deliver a speech to civic leaders.

* OTHER FAITHS:

– Deep-seated suspicion of Catholicism and the papacy is still prevalent among some Protestants, including the former Northern Ireland first minister, preacher and firebrand Ian Paisley, who dubbed the papal invite a mistake.

– The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, the oldest and biggest Protestant fraternity in Scotland, with up to 50,000 members, will stage a silent protest during the pope’s visit to Edinburgh.

See also Pope starts UK trip amid new diplomatic hiccup.

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3 comments

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We are a country who have thousands of homeless people, with policing being cut, education suffering and a shambolic benefits system. The NHS staff are stretched to the limit and war heroes who have to fund rehab clinics by doing charity fundraising.

Fact: the papal visit has cost £12 million that we know of (and the rest!!)
Fact: The catholic church states that no contraception should be used resulting in huge families that yes you guessed it, the taxpayer ends up paying for.
What about sexual transmitted diseases and Aids, surely by simply using a condom, this would be a condom, but no the catholic church opposes the condom.
What about the cover-up of the sex abuse committed by the priests. Surely the pope should be taken into custody to face trial. He is the Holy Father, not God almighty, he is not above the law. He is no saint and denies there was a Holocaust. What about the victims – open your eyes and stop the denial.
Fact: the pope is anti-abortion in any shape or form. What about the victims of rape – are they to bring up a child conceived through hatred and brutality. Waken up.
Fact: The pope denies there ever having been a holocaust – what was the mass grave then – a flu epidemic. Come on waken up and smell the coffee.
Think how many homeless people could be fed and helped with the money it has cost us for this so called state visit which is in fact a religious circus. How better this money could have been spent. What about helping the war heroes, the hospitals, fire staff who’s pay has been frozen for 2 years, policing the streets, education, anything other than this farce.
Whats next, perhaps we as a nation could pay for a visit from Bin Laden. WAKE UP BRITAIN.

Posted by taxpayer65 | Report as abusive

Regarding today’s news (Sept. 16, 2010) that German Jesuits offer $6500 to abuse victims:

Jesuits agreed to pay $7.5 million to 2 disabled men abused by clergy
September 06, 2002|By Harriet Chiang, Chronicle Legal Affairs Writer

The California Province of the Society of Jesus has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by two mentally disabled men who were sexually abused by members of the clergy while living at the Jesuit retirement center in Los Gatos.

The two victims — dishwashers who lived at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center for 30 years until they moved out recently — said they were subjected to repeated acts of sodomy and molestation for at least five years.

Fr. Thomas Smolich, now the top Jesuit official in the United States, was involved with the $7.5 million settlement.

Posted by LoyolaAlumm | Report as abusive

CLERICALISM

The sexual abuse COVER-UP is the real crisis, the real scandal. It is shown in a lack of accountability and transparency that is not a recent phenomenon but one with roots going back centuries. It is called clericalism.

Clericalism has often been described as the pursuit of ecclesiastical power at the expense of the laity. It is viewed as an elite caste unaccountable to the People of God.

It is this mindset peculiar to bishops and priests that renders otherwise ordinary good men so insensitive to the moral depravity present in some of their fellows that they will go to any lengths to enable, protect and cover up for them even years after the fact and in the case of ordinary priests renders them incapable of challenging Church leadership in the face of such evil.

Failing to protect the innocent from childhood sexual abuse all those decades ago and enabling further abuse by becoming complicit in covering up for perpetrators makes one wonder whether or not church leaders believe the words of Jesus in the Gospel.

Or is it rather that some do not consider Jesus’ words binding if following the words of the Lord embarrass one, causing him to lose statute and authority in the church? Is it a choice between arresting one’s advancement in this highly clericalized system and speaking truth to power?

Is it for all of these reasons and more?

This latest example of the abuse of power and authority in the Roman Catholic Church by Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the former leader of the Belgian Church, puts the lie to statements made not so many years ago by members of the hierarchy that the sexual abuse of children by clergymen was uniquely an American phenomenon.

Probably not the half of what has been going on in the Belgian Church is really known at this time. Keep in mind Belgium is a country approximately the size of the state of Maryland in square miles.

Here in the United States previously sealed depositions that church authorities never expected to be made public support the fact that attempts at containment know no national boundaries.

Crimes against humanity? No question.

As such they should be brought before the world court. After all, the Holy See is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child even though it has submitted none of the periodic compliance reports beyond the initial one.

Will the institutional Church take ownership for the complicity of its leadership in covering up for the actions of those who have preyed on the young and their own actions in putting so many more children in harm’s way?

Doubtful.

To date, have any complicit bishops in the U.S. been sanctioned for their actions?

Rewarded? Yes. Sanctioned? No.

The crisis continues worldwide while in the U.S. bishops and state Catholic Conferences continue to viciously oppose legislative reform in any state where bills addressing it have been introduced. New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Colorado are a few examples.

Certainly not what one expected when the bishops promised Accountability & Transparency in 2002.

Can the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church be blind to the fact that its actions in continuing on its present course are speeding up an already unprecedented erosion of credibility among the ordinary faithful who want to cling to the belief that church leadership is capable of telling the truth and being accountable for its failures in protecting children?

Is it not this hubris of leadership, this horrific abuse of power that has created the rough seas, that perfect storm in which the Barque of Peter now finds itself floundering?

Or did Jesus’ words mandating the protection of children, the most vulnerable among us, include the caveat that his words were binding only if in protecting the children the cost was not too high?

Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
Victims’ Advocate
New Castle, Delaware
maureenpaulturlish@yahoo.com
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HOLDING CLERGY AND CHURCH LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE BEFORE THE LAW

Professor Marci Hamilton and Sister Maureen Paul Turlish on NPR’s Radio Times on WHYY in Philadelphia, April 12, 2010

http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/2010/04/1 2/holding-clergy-and-church-leaders-lega lly-accountable-for-child-abuse/
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SUPPORT THE REMOVAL OF ALL STATES’ SOLs IN REGARD TO THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN AND INCLUDE WINDOW LEGISLATION FOR PAST OFFENSES.

Posted by SMPTURLISH | Report as abusive