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Emma B BS: Papal visit to the UK (41) RE: BS: Papal visit to the UK 19 Sep 10

The Pope is visiting as a 'Head of State' and therefore recipient of those 'privileges' afforded to such - even an 'undemocratic' one

This is not to ignore the controversy surrounding the city state status of the Vatican

As Simon Barrow of the UK-based religion and society think-tank, Ekklesia commented

"The heart of the matter is that the Christendom model of the church as a top-down alliance of throne and altar is dying - as many Christians, including Catholics, have been saying
Hierarchical institutions cemented by the temporal power sit in direct tension with social equality"

BBC correspondent Peter Hunt described the Pope's speech at Westminster Hall as "a rallying call, and a plea - for religion not to be squeezed out by secular society."

But, as Barrow also pointed out

"It is not clear what the pontiff means by 'aggressive secularism.'
This makes discussion difficult.
The equality legislation he criticizes is backed by many believers and invites the church to practice what it preaches about non-discriminating love of neighbour….

Many people are not so much hostile to religion as baffled or indifferent.

Overall, the Pope has been greeted with warmth in spite of widespread concern about sex abuse and scepticism over his negative message about family planning and the place of women. in church and society.
These issues need to be addressed through open dialogue not closed pronouncements"


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