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THE PAPAL VISIT ONE YEAR ON Julie Etchingham, Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Fr Ian Ker celebrate the first anniversary

PLUS Ryan Service on how the visit confirmed his calling to the priesthood

No. 6524

Bishop in clash with MP over gay unions

BY SIMON CALDWELL

CHRISTIAN churches must be banned from performing any marriages if they refuse to hold civil partnership ceremonies for gay couples, a Conservative MP has demanded.

Mike Weatherley has urged the Prime Minister to show no toleration to churches which turn away gay people who seek to register civil partnerships in their premises.

The Hove and Portslade MP was in turn criticised by Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton for “overstepping the mark”.

In a letter to David Cameron the south coast MP had said that the proposed Coalition amendment to the 2010 Equality Act to allow religious bodies or individual places of worship to register the controversial ceremonies would remain “unfair” as long as heterosexuals could marry in the churches of their choice.

The law must instead be changed to compel churches to register civil partnerships, said Mr Weatherley, whose constituency near Brighton has one of the highest numbers of gay people in civil partnerships in the country.

He told Mr Cameron to follow a precedent he suggested had been set by laws compelling 11 Catholic adoption agencies to assess gay couples as potential adopters and foster parents, although most of them have either since closed or left the control of the Church.

Mr Weatherley said that the alternative would be to surrender to a “messy compromise” in which gay people would remain the victims of inequality.

He added that until “we untangle” marriage from religion “we will struggle to find a fair arrangement”.

Bishop Conry, whose diocese encompasses Mr Weatherley’s constituency, said churches had a right to operate by “their own practices and behaviour”.

He said: “The Church is a voluntary organisation and if you belong to it then you abide by its rules.”

CatholicHerald.co.uk

Pope dines with unemployed on city visit

POPE BENEDICT XVI had lunch with 16 unemployed shipbuilders on Monday during a visit to the port of Ancona. The ship workers had been laid off by the Fincantieri company. They presented the Pope with two cakes.

At a Mass on the same day the Pope said: “Those who receive the Body of Christ cannot ignore the everyday hardships of others. They must know first hand how to break bread with the hungry.”

Pope Benedict greeted families after the Mass. Full report: Page 6

September 16 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)

Relativism harms Britain, Pope tells new ambassador

BY MADELEINE TEAHAN

POPE BENEDICT XVI has urged the British Government to root its policies in objective values, saying that this is “especially important in the light of events in England this summer”.

In a speech welcoming Nigel Baker, Britain’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Benedict XVI said: “When policies do not presume or promote objective values, the resulting moral relativism, instead of leading to a society that is free, fair, just and compassionate, tends instead to produce frustration, despair, selfishness and a disregard for the life and liberty of others.

“Policy makers are therefore right to look urgently for ways to uphold excellence in education, to promote social opportunity and economic mobility, to examine ways to favour long-term employment and to spread wealth much more fairly and broadly throughout society,” the Pope said.

“Moreover, the active fostering of the essential values of a healthy society, through the defence of life and of the family, the sound moral education of the young, and a fraternal regard for the poor and the weak, will surely help to rebuild a positive sense of one’s duty, in charity, towards friends and strangers alike.”

On the eve of the first anniversary of the papal visit to Britain, the Pope recalled his four-day trip and reiterated appeals he made during the visit.

Echoing his message to politicians at Westminster Hall, he said legislators were morally obliged to uphold human dignity. He said: “The sustainable devel-



I remain convinced of the relevance of Cardinal Newman’s insights regarding

”society

For the latest news about Pope

Benedict, visit CatholicHerald.co.uk opment of the world’s poorer peoples through well-targeted assistance remains a worthy goal.”

He continued: “This is why I remarked in Westminster Hall last year that integral human development, and all that it entails, is an enterprise truly worthy of the world’s attention and one that is too big to be allowed to fail.”

The Pope told the new ambassador of his gratitude to the British people for their warm welcome and said he was pleased to meet leaders of the three main parties.

He also reflected on the legacy of Cardinal Newman and recalled his beatification in Birmingham a year ago.

Benedict XVI said: “I remain convinced of the relevance of Newman’s insights regarding society, as the United Kingdom, Europe and the West in general today face challenges that he identified with remarkable prophetic clarity. It is my hope that a fresh awareness of his writings will bear new fruit among those searching for solutions to the political, economic and social questions of our age.”

Britain’s new ambassador Nigel Baker replaces Francis Campbell, who had served in the role for six years.

Mr Baker, the former ambassador to Bolivia, is not a Catholic, unlike his predecessor, but is married to a Slovakian, Alexandra Baker, who is.

In his first address to the Pope, Mr Baker identified three concerns that united Britain and the Holy See. They included tackling climate change, support for freedom of religion and fighting poverty. ................................................................... Full papal address: Page 2 Editorial Comment: Page 13

Pope to raise money for famine victims during trip to Germany BY MILO YIANNOPOULOS

THE PRESIDENT of the German bishops’ conference has announced that one of the collections made during the Pope’s trip to Germany will be donated to the people of East Africa.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg im Breisgau announced the decision at a press conference on Wednesday, ahead of the Benedict XVI’s first official state visit to his home country since becoming Pope. The Holy Father has visited Germany twice since his election, but this trip follows an invitation from German President Christian Wulff.

Archbishop Zollitsch said the visit would help to encourage and reaffirm the faith of German Catholics at a difficult time, hence the theme of the trip: “Where there is God, there is a future.”

Over the past 20 years the number of Catholics in Germany has declined by over four million, while the number of annual baptisms has dropped from 290,000 in 1991 to 170,000 today.

Benedict XVI is expected to give his view “of how the Church in Germany can find new vitality, inner strength and optimism for the future”, according to Jesuit Fr Hans Langendorfer.

The cost of the papal visit is estimated at £26m, but that figure is to be covered by the German bishops. The federal government will only pay for security measures, said Archbishop Zollitsch.

Archbishop Rainier Woelki of Berlin made a brief statement about a planned protest during the Pope’s address to the Bundestag. Some German officials claim that the arrangements violate the separation of Church and state.

The archbishop said that it would be best to hear what the Pope had to say before criticising his appearance. Vatican Notebook: Page 4

Bishop shares joy of ordination on Twitter

BY MILO YIANNOPOULOS

THE NEW Bishop of Montreal, who at 40 is the youngest bishop in north America, tweeted the news of his episcopal ordination last Saturday in what is believed to be a first for the social network.

Fr Thomas Dowd posted updates throughout the process via his Twitter account. “Off to the sacristy for the final stretch,” read one update. Another said: “The next time I check in I’ll be a successor of the Apostles.”

Fr Dowd has kept a blog since July charting the process of ordination entitled “Waiting in Joyful Hope”. After his installation Mass Fr Dowd posted: “It’s official! I’m a bishop!” ................................................. Editorial Comment: Page 13

Teacher quits Catholic school to run Somalia

BY DAVID V BARRETT

A LONDON Catholic school teacher has resigned his post to take up a new one – as deputy prime minister of Somalia.

Mohamed Ibrahim had been a learning support teacher at Newman Catholic College in Brent, helping Somali immigrant children improve their English. But he was asked to return to his own country to become deputy prime minister and foreign minister in the western-backed transitional government. “I was unexpectedly called to my country during the summer holidays at a time when the country is facing a humanitarian crisis such as drought and famine,” he said. “I will always have Newman Catholic College in my heart and won’t forget the wonderful colleagues.”

INSIDE

Boxer Tyson Fury ‘If God’s in my corner I am unbeatable’ PAGE 7

Mary Kenny A bishop arrives late to the celibacy debate PAGE 12

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