As Ruth Gledhill informs us, Pope Benedict has confirmed that he will indeed visit the UK later this year.
What may be of more import is that he is openly criticizing proposed equality legislation that restricts freedom of religion:
In a letter today to the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, the Pope says: "Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.”
I am glad to see the pope point out that there is an elephant in the room. And that elephant is a secular state seeking to sit (Yes, I am tempted to add an “h”.) on religious freedom. Or more accurately, there are two elephants, given that the EU is pressuring the UK to restrict freedom.
Of much less import is that I am thinking of visiting England around October. I wonder if the paths of His Holiness and this not-so holiness cross.
UPDATE: The Guardian twists the Pope’s statement into the headline, "Pope condemns gay equality laws ahead of first UK visit." Yes, a *slight* overstatement of what the Pope actually said.
The Pope is a homophobe meme already – that was predictable.