Day two of the Pope’s visit to the UK took him to the heart of parliament.
He told British leaders in Westminster Hall that religion must be a ‘vital contributor’ to national debate on a anumber of issues.
The Pope warned that religion in general and Christianity in particular was being marginalised. And, returning to the previous day’s warning about ‘aggressive secularism’, he said there were people who wanted the voice of religion to be silenced.
Also on the day’s agenda was a meeting with the spiritual head of the world’s 80-million Anglicans, Dr Rowan Williams, at Lambeth Palace.
The two said they were committed to continued dialogue, but that statement was issued against a backdrop of major divisions over the denominations’ divergent attitude to homosexuality and the ordination of women. Those issues and that of child-abuse by Catholic priests have sparked ongoing protests in front of the Pope.
Security worries were heightened when anti-terrorist police arrested six men on suspicion of plotting an attack on the pontiff. Five of them were employed as street cleaners in an area of London near to where he spoke.