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Anger grows ahead of Pope's visit to Britain

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Anger grows ahead of Pope's visit to Britain


There were few protests when John Paul II visited Britain in 1982. He attracted large crowds at masses where thousands gathered to hear the pontiff.

Today though, the Vatican is under fire for its response to the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

Many argue The Pope should not have be afforded a state visit costing taxpayers nearly 12 million euros.

Veteran human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is a member of the group Protest The Pope:

“The Pope claims that he’s dealing with child sex abuse, but even now, he is still refusing to hand to the police the Vatican files,” Tatchell said.

“That’s why we don’t believe he should be honoured with a state visit.”

Abuse victims and their relatives have travelled to Britain from as far afield as America to protest against the Pope.

Hundreds of thousands of Catholics will attend masses being held in three British cities, but the numbers are lower than expected.

Strict security and the cost of entry, up to 30 euros, are thought to have dissuaded many of the UK’s six million Catholics from attending.

Catholic leaders however remain positive about the visit.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the Leader of Catholics in England and Wales, played down the planned protests.

“There is always controversy about Papal visits. Wherever he goes, there’s always a period of criticism of the Church,” he said.

“Then when he arrives, the sun comes out. The clouds disperse, and people really take to him.”

British Catholics now hope the controversy will die down and planned demonstrations will not disrupt the 83-year-old pontiff’s visit.

The Pope will arrive in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh on Thursday.

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