Feisty debates between Catholics and secularists before pope visit to Britain

September 15, 2010

arrest the pope002If you like debates about religion but were turned off by the uproar in the United States over Koran-burning and the New York Islamic centre, take a look at the rhetorical duelling that’s been going on in Britain ahead of Pope Benedict’s visit there starting on Thursday. For the past few weeks, the leading lights of secularist and atheist thought have been hammering away at the Catholic Church, playing up its sins like the sexual abuse crisis and arguing that the pope doesn’t deserve the honour of a state visit. A quick Google search digs out plenty of them.

Pope must make amends, say British abuse victims

September 15, 2010

abuse (Photo: Mark Fabbro, Chris Daly, Sue Cox, Margaret Kennedy and Peter Saunders (L-R), who said they were survivors of abuse by Catholic priests, pose after a news conference in London September 15, 2010/Toby Melville)

Victims of abuse by Catholic priests urged the Vatican on the eve of Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain to hand over lists of suspected offenders to the police to prevent further cases of clerical sex crimes.

Confusion reigns as Belgium struggles with Catholic sex abuse scandal

September 14, 2010

shipFollowing the crisis of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Belgium is like watching a rudderless ship in a storm. The Church hierarchy seems overwhelmed by the scandal that has engulfed it. The state seems unable to intervene after its spectacular raid on Church offices last June backfired on it. Left hanging are at least 475 victims who have no idea what to expect next.

from The Great Debate UK:

Pope’s visit both punctual and provident

By Madeleine Teahan
September 14, 2010

POPE/ - Madeleine Teahan is a speaker for the Catholic Voices project. The opinions expressed are her own -

Rare pope trip to Britain faces welcome ranging from polite to hostile

September 13, 2010

tartan (Photo: Cardinal Keith O’Brien displays the papal visit plaid in Edinburgh, Scotland September 9, 2010/David Moir)

Pope Benedict this week makes a challenging trip to Britain — only the second by a pope in history — and his welcome in one of Europe’s most secular nations will range from polite to indifferent and even hostile.

Child abuse was widespread in Belgian Catholic Church – Church report

September 10, 2010

AdriaenssensChild sexual abuse was widespread in the Belgian Catholic Church and drove at least 13 victims to suicide, according to a report published on Friday.  “Almost every institution, every school, particularly boarding schools, at one time harboured abuse,” Peter Adriaenssens, the head of a Church commission monitoring complaints, told a news conference.

Belgian Cardinal Danneels admits making mistakes in sex abuse case

September 8, 2010

danneels newsconfThe former head of Belgium’s Roman Catholic Church,  Cardinal Godfried Danneels, has admitted he made mistakes in dealing with a case of sexual abuse and should have demanded the resignation of the bishop involved.

Expect papal meeting with UK sexual abuse victims — Patten

September 7, 2010

pattenOne regular but regularly unannounced feature of papal trips in recent years has been the private meeting with local Catholics who were sexually abused as youths by priests. Journalists only find out about them after they’ve taken place. Just such a meeting seems to be on the cards during Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain next week, but of course it does not appear in his official schedule. Chris Patten, the prime minister’s special representative for the papal visit,  said as much on Monday in an interview with BBC television (quote at the end of the clip):

Leaked Danneels tapes with Catholic sex abuse victim make for sad reading

August 29, 2010

danneels (Photo: Cardinal Danneels arrives at federal police headquarters in Brussels July 6, 2010 for questions about  allegations of sexual abuse by priests/Stringer)

“Ordain women,” London bus ads will urge Pope Benedict during September visit

August 26, 2010

CWO BUS

Pope Benedict will be confronted by posters on London’s famous red buses during his trip to the British capital next month which will call for the ordination of women priests.