Pope Benedict isn’t visiting Britain until September, but his trip is already making headlines there. Here are our latest reports:
Campaigners planning to stage demonstrations during Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain should show restraint, the prime minister’s special representative for the papal visit, Chris Patten, said on Monday. (Photo: Chris Patten in London, July 5, 2010/Peter Macdiarmid)
Various protests are expected during the first papal state visit to the country in September, including by secularists, gay rights groups and those angry at the child-abuse scandal which has spread throughout the Roman Catholic church globally.
But Patten, a former Conservative minister and governor of Hong Kong, who was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron to help coordinate the four-day visit, said demonstrators should be free to express their opinions, but should not fall into the trap of intolerance. “I hope that (the protests) will be done with restraint, and that it will be done with a show of tolerance,” he told Reuters.
British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins has said he will try to have Pope Benedict arrested to face questions over cases of sexual abuse of children by priests. Gay activists are planning protests against the church’s attitude on homosexuality, while secularists intend to complain at the cost of the visit to the British taxpayer.