Pope Condemns Harman Equality Drive as 'Violation of Natural Law'

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Caldwell

THE Pope yesterday made an unprecedented attack on Britain's equality legislation, claiming Harriet Harman's attempts to bring in new laws enforced sinful behaviour.

Benedict XVl condemned Labour's Equality Bill in extraordinary terms as an assault on the 'natural law' of Christianity - in other words a sin.

His remarks came in a speech at the Vatican moments after he confirmed he will visit the UK in September.

Despite praising Britain's 'firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society', the world's most powerful religious leader turned his guns on Miss Harman's equality agenda, which many in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church say could force them to hire homosexuals or transsexuals.

The Pope declared that some recent equality legislation has acted 'to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs'.

He added: '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.' By natural law, the Pope meant the Christian and Biblical teaching on which Roman Catholic beliefs are based, including the Ten Commandments. Rejection of the natural law is sinful in Catholic theology. While there was no personal attack on Miss Harman, his view on legislation she has championed was very clear.

The speech was made to 35 bishops from England and Wales visiting Rome. The Pope told them: 'I urge you as pastors to ensure 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. …