Pope Visit to UK Set to Spark Protests

The Metro
September 11, 2010

Benedict XVI - who was named the Pope in 2005 - will arrive in Edinburgh on Thursday and is expected to face a series of protests during his four-day stay in the UK, particularly in London.

It is the first time a pope will come to the UK on an official trip since 1982. He will also travel to Birmingham as part of the visit.

The Protest The Pope group, which is against the pontiff's state visit, will hold a march in London on September 18th from Hyde Park Corner.

It is also organising a series of events as part of the Protest The Pope campaign - including film screenings and debates - in the run-up to the march.

One of the main issues that protesters are trying to confront the Pope about is the history of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society and one of the leaders of the Protest The Pope campaign, told the Guardian that the Pope should "personally" answer for the numerous child abuse allegations that have come up over the decades.

"[The pontiff] said that penance is a better approach to child abuse than altering the structures of the church," Mr Sanderson explained.

"We are being told constantly that the church has changed its ways, but he's saying that they're not changing their ways."

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi recently said during a press briefing on the trip that the Pope knows to expect large-scale protests when he arrives in the UK, as the country is home to numerous atheist and anti-pope groups, the AFP reported.

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