It's not my intention with this post to upset any of my Roman Catholic readers, but I do think the hype surrounding the Pope's visit to the UK, which starts in Scotland tomorrow, hasn't done the Catholic religion any favours.
The BBC announced earlier that 65,000 will turn out to hear the head of their church speak, yet there have been several articles which contradict this number. The capacity has been reduced from 100,000 to 85,000 according to the BBC a few days ago, and now 65,000 because of the slow take-up of tickets.
Tonight Channel 4 broadcast an item stating that Catholics priests, who have served prison sentences of over 12 months for child abuse, are still within the confines of the church and entitled to use their titles. The Catholic church insists these men are no longer involved in communities but they miss the point don't they? Why do they think they, as a religion, are better equipped to deal with child abusers than our police and probation services?
Pope Benedict was part of the hierarchy of the Catholic church when these decisions were made yet there are no records that he protested. Survivors have called for the Pope to hand over all information regarding child abuse within the church, but I feel they're onto a loser. The Catholic church has no intention of coming clean where their priests are concerned. Why should they? If they did decide to do so then they would be signing a warrant for their own demise and nobody is foolish enough to do that - least of all the biggest religion business in the world.
A key Pope aid has pulled out of the visit to Britain after calling the UK a 'third world nation'. In an article for the German magazine Focus, headline 'Third World Land' Cardinal Kasper hit out at the atmosphere of 'aggressive atheism' in Britain and said 'Christians were at a disadvantage. When you land at Heathrow you think you are in a Third World land." No wonder he's opted out of the performance.
Will this state visit boost the Catholic church's coffers? In the short term yes because 65,000 people have paid to hear him speak in Glasgow and he intends to do another couple of shows in England before he returns to the comfort of his empire, but I do feel that many Roman Catholics now have doubts about their religious leaders. Who wouldn't, when they refuse to allow women anywhere near their hallowed halls? What do their fear from having women present in their hierarchy? So many questions and yet no answers.