...was today grandly announcing that it was handing in a petition at Downing Street urging the Prime Minister to ban the visit of the Holy Father.Pointless, silly, and nasty of them, and a far cry from the line they used to take, in the days when the proud claim of secularists was that they supported tolerance, let's-hear-all-points-of-view etc etc. Remember when they used that line about "I disagree entirely with what you say, but defend to the death your right to say it"? Not any more, evidently. They don't like what the Church teaches, and they don't like the chap teaching it, they don't think that he should recieve the normal courtesies when visiting Britain.
Specifically, they don't like the Christian understanding that homsexuality is wrong, they don't like the Church having a male priesthood. They have tried to claim that the H. Father has "rehabilitated" the Lefebvrist Dr Williamson (he hasn't - see the Pope's own letter here ) whose vile rants about the Holocaust are in direct denial of the facts of history and of the Pope's own statements on the subject.
In fact the Nat Sec. Soc. is struggling to find legitimate reasons for being tiresome about the Pope's visit: the last one was a success, and Catholics have an infuriating habit of enjoying large cheerful gatherings: attempts to stir up trouble in Oz over World Youth Day melted when hordes and hordes of pleasant young people arrived in Sydney, and with singing and friendliness and prayer and goodwill made the city a joyful place to everyone's enjoyment.
Now Nat. Secular Soc. members need to know this: the Church will never deny them the enjoyment of the universities, hospitals, schools, art, music, scientific and medical knowledge that she has fostered and built and formed and nourished down the centuries. Any time they want to establish some Secular Society set of homes for the poorest of the poor, or orphanages for war victims, or clinics in the most remote and grim of districts, or colleges, or schools, or care for people living on rubbish-dumps, or hospices for the dying, or medical care for the sick and blind and disabled, or opportunities for the impoverished young to be educated, or free food for the starving...Catholics will be only too glad. And if some international Secularist spokesman connected with all this were to visit Britain we wouldn't grudge the money spent on policing the crowds who wanted to cheer him or directing the traffic the traffic they created, or arranging for him to have a cup of tea with the Queen.