Source: British government backs down on ‘Equality Bill’ following Pope’s comments
February 03, 2010
A British government source has told the Daily Telegraph that following Pope Benedict’s recent comments to the bishops of England and Wales, the government will withdraw the controversial provisions of the “Equality Bill” that threaten to undermine religious freedom.
“We are clear that these parts of the Equality Bill should not go forward,” said the source. “The Pope's intervention has been noted.”
Pope Benedict had told the bishops on February 1:
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. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed. I urge you as Pastors to ensure that the Church’s moral teaching be always presented in its entirety and convincingly defended. Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others – on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth. Continue to insist upon your right to participate in national debate through respectful dialogue with other elements in society. In doing so, you are not only maintaining long-standing British traditions of freedom of expression and honest exchange of opinion, but you are actually giving voice to the convictions of many people who lack the means to express them: when so many of the population claim to be Christian, how could anyone dispute the Gospel’s right to be heard?
- Victory for religious groups as Labour gives up on Equality Bill clause condemned by Pope (Daily Telegraph)
- British Catholic politician slams Pope following ‘Equality Bill’ comments (CWN, 2/2)
- Address to the Bishops of England and Wales (Holy See)