UK: Protest the Pope Downing Street Petition Launched – Gordon Brown Urged to Disassociate the Government from Pope’s Views – By Peter Tatchell
‘Protest the Pope’ Downing Street Petition launched
Gordon Brown urged to disassociate the government from Pope’s views
Already over 3,000 signatures
London – 22 February 2010
A Downing Street petition has been launched, urging Prime Minister Gordon Brown to “disassociate the British government from the Pope’s intolerant views.”
The petition has been launched ahead of the Papal visit to Britain in September this year. It has been submitted by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and has already attracted over 3,000 signatures.
View the petition here:
Note: only UK residents with a UK address are eligible to sign the petition
A petition by Mr Tatchell on the same subject last year was refused inclusion on the Downing Street website.
“The Pope opposes universal human rights. He rejects equality for women and gay people, condemns the use of life-saving condoms, colludes with Holocaust appeasers and he is implicated in the cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic priests,” said Mr Tatchell.
“A man with such objectionable views should not be honoured with an official State Visit. If he wants to come to Britain, he should pay his own way. The public should not be expected to cover the estimated £20 million cost. This money would be far better spent on schools and hospitals,” added Mr Tatchell.
The petition reads:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to disassociate the British government from the Pope’s intolerant views ahead of the Papal visit to Britain in September 2010. We urge the Prime Minister to make it clear that his government disagrees with the Pope’s opposition to women’s reproductive rights, gay equality, embryonic stem cell research and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. We ask the Prime Minister to express his disagreement with the Pope’s role in the cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy, his rehabilitation of the Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson, and his decree paving the way for the beatification and sainthood of the war-time Pope, Pius XII, who stands accused of failing to speak out against the Holocaust. We also request the Prime Minister to assure us that the Pope’s visit will not be financed by the British taxpayer.”
Peter Tatchell has criticised at length the Pope Benedict XVI’s “illiberal” and “often extreme” stance on key social issues:
“The Pope is an opponent of women’s rights. He not only opposes the right of women to choose to have an abortion but also their right to contraception, which can help reduce the abortion rate,” said Mr Tatchell.
“He opposes women’s access to IVF fertility treatment, to give childless couples the chance of parenthood.
“The Pope supports gender discrimination, including a ban on women priests and bishops, and he wants the Catholic Church to be exempt from equality and anti-discrimination laws that apply to everyone else.
“He has sought to block potentially life-saving embryonic stem cell research, and he rejects the right of suffering, terminally ill people to die with dignity at a moment of the their own free choice.
“Pope Benedict denounces the use of condoms, even to stop the spread of HIV, and he has falsely claimed that condom usage “increases” the rate of HIV infection. His teachings put millions of lives at risk.
See The Independent, 27 March 2009:
“He has acquiesced with the Vatican’s lie that condoms spread HIV and that the virus can pass through the latex (sic). This outrageous falsehood has been condemned as untrue and irresponsible by the World Health Organisation and Christian Aid.
See the BBC website, 9 October 2003:
“He rejects legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and their full protection in law against homophobic and transphobic discrimination
“The Pope has approved the Catholic Catechism, which condemns same-sex relationships as a “grave depravity,” “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law.”
See The Vatican website, Catechism 2357:
“In 1992, he authored a Vatican document that condemned homosexuality as an “objective disorder” and a “strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil.” Rejecting the concept of gay human rights, the document asserted that there is no “right” to laws protecting homosexual people against discrimination, suggesting that the civil liberties of lesbians and gay men can be “legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct.”
See in full the Vatican document – Some Considerations Concerning the Catholic Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons:
“The Pope has attacked same-sex marriages as “evil” and vilified supporters of gay equality as “gravely immoral.” He has also vilified homosexual equality as a “deviant trend” and condemned same-sex love as being “without any social value.”
“Pope Benedict colludes with anti-semitism, including with holocaust deniers and with Catholic leaders who were complicit with the Nazi regime.
“He rescinded the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson who, in 2008, denied key elements of the Holocaust with claims that a maximum of 300,000 Jews died in concentration camps and that none were gassed by the Nazis.
See the BBC website, 4 February 2009:
“He has also paved the way for the beatification and eventual sainthood of Pope Pius XII by issuing a decree in 2009 celebrating his virtues, despite the war-time pontiff’s 1933 Concordat with Adolf Hitler and his silence concerning the Nazi mass murder of six million Jews.
See The Guardian, 22 December 2009:
“While condemning loving, consenting adult same-sex relations, the Pope helped shield from prosecution Catholic clergy guilty of child sex abuse. He colluded with the cover up of their crimes and with the policy of relocating paedophile priests to other parishes, where they often went on to commit further sexual abuse, as revealed in the 2006 BBC Panorama programme, Sex crimes and the Vatican.
See the Evening Standard, 30 September 2006:
and see BBC Panorama 1 October 2006:
“Pope Benedict is complicit with human rights abuses and should not be accorded the honour of a State Visit to Britain,” said Mr Tatchell.