POPE Ratzinger has confirmed that he will be visiting the UK this year – and in the same address to British bishops he lambasted the government over equality legislation he claims limits religious freedom.
According to The Guardian, Ratzinger said the effects of some legislation designed to give equality of opportunity had been to impose “unjust limitations” on the freedom of religious communities to act “in accordance with their beliefs.”
He told the Catholic bishops of England and Wales gathered in Rome:
Your country is well-known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet, as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.
His remarks have been interpreted as an attack on the Sexual Orientation Regulations which forced Catholic adoption agencies to consider gay couples as potential adoptive parents.
The Government also suffered defeats in the House of Lords last week after the churches voiced concerns that the provisions of the flagship Equality Bill could expose them to legal challenges if they refuse to employ sexually active gay people and transsexuals.
Ratzinger’s remarks were made in an address in which he confirmed that he will make his first apostolic visit to Britain later this year.
He is widely expected to visit England and Scotland in a four-day trip between September 16 and September 19, and is expected to have many of the trappings of a state visit.
The National Secular Society (NSS) said it would mount a protest campaign against the visit made up of gay groups, victims of clerical abuse, feminists, family planning organisations and pro-abortion groups among others.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn