For the first time since he became Pope, Benedict XVI is to visit the UK. This does not seem such a bad thing: those who adhere to the Roman Catholic communion will be pleased to be so honoured.
However, the pontiff is not happy about our equality law. This is because adoption agencies can no longer discriminate against same sex couples, as the Catholic church would wish, given their interpretation of the scriptures.
Well, Pope Benedict is welcome to his view, and I support unequivocally his freedom to voice it. But the UK is an increasingly secular country, and as for the law, that’s the way it is.
I can imagine that the whole business of equality for all before the law taxes the authorities in the Vatican, especially as ostensibly Catholic countries like Portugal have just legalised gay marriage. Here, the modernisation process has been swift compared to the UK: homosexuality was a crime in Portugal as late as 1982, far later than in the UK.
But this is the way the world now is: that’s for Benedict and his advisors to figure out.