Protestors accuse Pope of ‘encouraging hatred’

By Peter Wozniak

Protestors have gathered outside St Mary’s College to demonstrate against the Pope’s visit, saying his speech yesterday “encouraged hatred”.

Activists gathered to speak out against the Pope’s attack on secularism, with many branding him a “divisive” figure.

Leading human rights activist Peter Tatchell told politics.co.uk: “Most British people don’t share the Pope’s intolerant views. Even many Catholics reject his teaching.”

Asked whether the visit would improve the image of the Catholic Church in the UK, Mr Tatchell replied: “On the contrary, the visit highlights the Pope’s failings over the child abuse scandal.”

The Pope’s attitude made him “an accomplice to sex crime against children,” he added.

“Such a person does not deserve the honour of a state visit… [because he] has never, ever apologised for his own failings”.

Josh Kutchisky, of the central London Humanist Association, branded the Pope’s speech yesterday, which warned of a lack of faith in British society, “not untypically divisive”.

He added: “If this country is to be defined as Christian, where does that leave people who are not?”

Protestors appeared to be overwhelmed by the crowds gathered to see the Pope lead the ‘mass assembly’ but Derek Lennard, of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, said he was “very happy” with turnout.

He joined the attack on the Pope’s speech yesterday, which drew a comparison between atheism and Nazism.

“As well as being a humanist, I’m of Jewish descent and I don’t need a lecture on Nazi Germany from someone who was photographed wearing a Nazi uniform,” Mr Lennard said.

“I think that speech encouraged hatred. We’ve been talking to people who have come here to honour the Pope. We don’t receive those kind of attacks from them and he should follow their example.”