Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI marked the announcement of his first papal visit to Britain with an unprecedented attack on the government’s equality legislation yesterday, claiming it threatened religious freedom and ran contrary to “natural law”.
Speaking at the Vatican to visiting Catholic bishops of England and Wales, he described changes to the law as unjust and urged them to invoke “missionary zeal” to resist them.
The comments came during a five-yearly trip to the Vatican by the bishops, during which they made presentations on their concerns about the place of religion in an increasingly secular society.
The pope’s broadside appeared to be aimed squarely at recent legislation that prevents Catholic adoption agencies from discriminating against gay couples, and the proposed equality bill, which would make it harder for churches to exclude job applications from homosexuals or people who have changed their gender.