Go the Pope!

The Telegraph (via Martin Beckford) has it all!

Benedict XVI claimed that legislation introduced by Labour to end discrimination “actually violates natural law” because it stopped worshippers remaining true to their beliefs.

Rather than making society more equal, the Government’s new rules limited religious freedom, he said.

His strongly worded intervention in British politics comes after leaders of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England clashed with Labour over its Equality Bill, which they fear will make them admit homosexuals to the priesthood or face prosecution for discriminating against them.

In an address delivered yesterday to 35 Catholic bishops from England and Wales, the Pope attacked Labour’s equality proposals. He said: “Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet … 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.” Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill, currently going through Parliament, contains a new, narrow definition of religious workers. It means clergy will not be allowed to opt out of the rules and so will either have to go against their teachings by employing homosexuals, or face prosecution.

It is also believed the law, intended to outlaw discrimination against any group in the “provision of services” from health care to shopping, would restrict the right of a church school to employ a head teacher who shared their faith, and would open the job up to members of any religion or atheists.

So basically, Harman is now taking on not just the Church of England but the Roman Catholic establishment as well. Anybody else want to take a shot?

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