BBC website collects reflections on the Pope’s state visit
Participants include Father Christopher Jamison for the Catholic Church, Canon Paul Avis for the Church of England, Andrew Copson from the British Humanist Association, Terry Sanderson for the National Secular Society, and abuse survivor Sue Cox.
Andrew Copson’s contribution:
For non-religious people, the state visit of the Pope was immediately inflammatory. His first comments in our country linked not believing in God with Nazism and accused secularists of being intolerant.
Combined with the failure of our politicians to defend the values of secularism, equality and democracy in response to his comments, but instead to reassure him that faith was at the heart of Britain, I think that at least one of the legacies of the state visit will be a disaffection and frustration among non-religious people not just with the Pope but with our own politicians.
When it came to the march and rally – our main protest event – we were amazed at the turnout.
By the time we reached Westminster for the speeches we were just under 20,000 strong and we think that means we were the largest protest in modern times against the international policies of the Holy See.
Certainly there has never been anything like it at any Papal state visit in living memory.
The protesters had diverse motives, as the various placards testified: opposition to the undermining of the human rights of women, of gay and lesbian people, of children; the refusal of the Pope to ordain women; the concealment of child abuse and frustration of justice.
All contributions: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11372428