More than 50 British notables have signed a letter in the Guardian newspaper criticizing the visit to the U.K. by Pope Benedict XVI. Responding is Catholic League president Bill Donohue:

The pope is accused of (a) opposing condoms and thereby increasing the spread of AIDS (b) promoting segregated education (c) opposing abortion (d) opposing equal rights for homosexuals, and (e) failing to address the abuse of young people in the Catholic Church. These accusations deserve a response.

No one who ever followed the teachings of the Catholic Church on sexuality ever got AIDS voluntarily, but many who rejected these teachings have. Having separate Catholic schools for girls and boys has been one of the great educational achievements in the past century, providing unparalleled upward mobility for the poor and non-whites. The Catholic Church has always stood for the equal dignity of all persons, independent of sexual preference, but it will never lower its standards by putting every conceivable sexual relationship on par with marriage. No institution today is doing more to check the sexual abuse of youngsters than the Catholic Church, having learned its lesson when many seminaries lowered their standards during the sexual revolution.

Philip Pullman, of “The Golden Compass” fame (our boycott of his atheism-for-kids film worked beautifully), signed the letter. A few months ago, he said, “I hope the wretched Catholic Church will vanish entirely.” Atheist fanatic Richard Dawkins, known for charging that the Catholic Church is “the greatest force for evil in the world,” signed it as well. Gay activist Peter Tatchell, an organizer of “Protest the Pope,” has said, “Several of my friends—gay and straight, male and female—had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.”

There you have it. The pope’s leading critics are imbued with hate and even associate with advocates of child rape. And they have the nerve to point fingers at the pontiff.

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