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.

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:

Britain counts cost of Benedict’s visit

September 13, 2010


- Terry Sanderson is  President of the National Secular Society. The opinions expressed are his 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.

Criticism mounts of “anti-Muslim frenzy” in U.S., Koran burning plan under fire

September 8, 2010

koran burning 1U.S. religious leaders  have condemned an “anti-Muslim frenzy” in the United States, including plans by a Florida church to burn a Koran on September 11, an act a top general said could endanger American troops abroad. Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders denounced the “misinformation and outright bigotry” against U.S. Muslims resulting from plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque not far from the site of the September 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks in New York by Islamist militants. The Vatican has also condemned the Koran burning plan.

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)

No musical instruments please, Vatican asks Britons

August 23, 2010

vuvuzelaPilgrims attending the large public events during Pope Benedict’s visit to England and Scotland next month have been issued a long list of do’s and don’ts including a ban on musical instruments and steel cutlery.

Vatican toughens child sex abuse rules, says ordaining women is serious crime

July 15, 2010

The Vatican made sweeping revisions on Thursday it its laws on sexual abuse, doubling a statute of limitations for disciplinary action against priests and extending the use of fast-track procedures to defrock them.

Italy and 10 allies fight Euro rights court’s school crucifix ban

June 30, 2010

crucifix (Photo: Demonstrator outside European Court of Human Rights with leaflet saying in Italian and French: “Let’s defend the crucifix,” 30 June 2010/Vincent Kessler)

Italy and 10 other European states urged the continent’s top human rights court on Wednesday to overturn its ban on crucifixes in schools, arguing they were signs of national identity and not overtly religious symbols. The alliance of traditionally Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian countries backing Italy’s appeal against the ban which was handed down last November reflected their concern that the court had set a precedent for strict secularism across Europe.

Pope rebukes Austrian cardinal who accused peer of cover-up

June 28, 2010

schoenbornPope Benedict, still struggling to control the damage a sexual abuse scandal has done to the Catholic Church’s image, has bluntly told his top advisers that they should not trade accusations in public.